Our group has completed various projects throughout the past years. Below are examples of previous team projects completed in collaboration with our partners.


Wins For Girls: Advocacy and Capacity Building for Menstrual Hygiene Management through Water Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools Programs

  • Location: Afghanistan, Bolivia, Burkina-Faso, Eritrea, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan

  • Partners: UNICEF, UNGEI

Emory partnered with UNICEF and UNGEI in a initiative to strengthen evidence-based advocacy and action on menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in developing countries. This project aimed to increase understanding of current MHM practice and the barriers that menstruating girls face in schools; increased incorporation of gender sensitive MHM support into existing national WinS programs; increase leadership of ministries of education in MHM; and increase capacity of global WinS network members. Emory developed an E-course that will be delivered to at least 14 UNICEF country offices to build capacity for formative qualitative MHM research. The 12-module E-course cut across these objectives, bringing together multiple stakeholders in each country to learn about developing a research plan and protocol; the ethics of research; the benefits of qualitative research in exploring and understanding MHM; qualitative research tools; qualitative data collection; data analysis; and information dissemination. The course mirrors research activities in each participating country, and Emory provided feedback and assistance throughout the research process. The findings from research activities informed a country specific pilot intervention in 100 schools per country. See the WASH in schools for girls e-course here.


Impact of WASH in Schools on Pupil Absence and Diarrhea

  • Location: Mali

  • Partners: Dubai Cares, UNICEF, Save the Children, CARE, OxFam WaterAid

The Dubai Cares WASH in Schools Initiative in Mali was a three-year project implemented by a partnership of five international organizations (UNICEF, CARE, Save the Children, WaterAid, Oxfam) and funded by Dubai Cares. The program seeked to improve educational and health outcomes in school children through improvements in school WASH infrastructure and management. This initiative was originally operational in 961 schools within six regions of Mali, reaching 12% of the public and community schools in Mali and 18% of the school-aged population. However, the political instability that began in March 2012 resulted in temporary cessation of activities in the northern regions of Timbuktu and Gao and limited the scope of the project to the more southern regions. Emory University collaborated with Dubai Cares and the implementing partners promote a research and learning agenda alongside the program. We worked with program staff to develop a program-wide impact evaluation, that began data collection in the Fall of 2012. We executed several targeted applied learning projects at a smaller scale during the course of the project. The goal of our collaboration was to provide evidence for the link between school WASH and educational attainment as well as health, and also to build local partner capacity in monitoring, evaluation, and learning.  See publication here.


SPLASH (Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene) Support for Research

  • Location: Zambia

  • Partners: FHI 360, USAID

SPLASH (Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene) was a WASH PLUS program funded through USAID to support the Ministry of Education to bring clean drinking water, child and gender-friendly latrines, hand washing stations and hygiene education to schools in Eastern Province. The goal of SPLASH was to improve health, learning and performance of basic level students and teachers by providing a cleaner and safer learning environment. The Freeman Research Groupcollaborated with SPLASH to conduct small scale applied research projects in order to better inform SPLASH's targeted WASH interventions.

These applied research projects included:

  1. Qualitative investigation of WASH behavior change and message diffusion through schoolchildren

  2. The impact of hydration status on pupil cognition

  3. Drivers of sanitation and hygiene behavior change

  4. Operational sustainability

  5. Equity and inclusion

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Orissa sanitation trial

  • Location: Orissa, India

  • Partners: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, WaterAid

This three year cluster-randomized trial was led by Tom Clasen at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The objective of this study was to assess the health and educational impacts of a government-facilitated community sanitation project in rural Orissa. We are assessed child weight-for-age, diarrhea, helminth infection, school and absence. Our group was specifically involved in measuring helminth infection and pupil absence, as well as behavioral outcomes of interest including drivers and determinants of use and maintenance of latrines and disposal of child feces. See Lancet article here.


Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools 

  • Location: Bolivia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and the Philippines

  • Partners: UNICEF

The onset of menstruation poses multiple challenges for school-girls: many are uneducated about menstruation and how to manage it; many girls do not have the support or resources in schools to provide strategies for coping; and a lack of facilities, water, and soap for cleaning and management may convince girls to miss or reduce participation in school. There is a need to better understand education impacts of girls who are menstruating. Few studies have focused on education impacts, like concentration, class participation, and catching-up after missed classes. This project aimed to understand the scope of education impacts and challenges across settings in order to foster a broad movement towards mitigating challenges posed by menstruation among adolescent girls. Moreover, this research program aimed to inform a ‘basic package of interventions’ for girls who are menstruating in school. Using an in-depth qualitative approach, recommended intervention strategies will be informed by girls themselves and will be tailored to specific cultural and environmental contexts. See the WASH in schools for girls reports here.

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Dehydration and Concentration among Malian School Children

  • Location: Mali

  • Partners: Dubai Cares, UNICEF, Save the Children, CARE, OxFam, WaterAid

Recent studies have quantified the impact of improve water, sanitation, and hygiene access on pupil absence, parasitic infection, and diarrhea, yet the link between sufficient drinking water and educational attainment is yet to be established. There has been considerable research linking dehydration to reduction in cognitive ability and mood in adults in the context of exercise science; however, no studies have been conducted using the lens of health and education among school children, especially in poor, arid, and underserved contexts. This research contributed to an understanding of the causal mechanism whereby increased water quantity at school leads to improved cognition and educational attainment. Findings have broad significance for advocacy for international development and health sectors for increased attention to insufficient access to water supply for school children. See publication here.

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WASH/Neglected tropical diseases Collaboration

  • Location: USA

  • Partners: Center for Global Safe WASH, Children Without Worms, International Trachoma Initiative

Though mass drug administration is the primary strategy for elimination and control of the neglected tropical diseases, evidence increasingly suggests that treatment, in the absence of preventative efforts such as increased water and sanitation access, may not sustainably decrease the burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Though the need for collaboration between the sectors is increasingly clear, mechanisms for collaboration have not yet been reliably established. Challenges to collaborative efforts between the sectors include: knowledge gaps regarding the impact of specific WASH interventions on NTD control, paucity of mechanisms for information exchange between the two sectors, and practical differences in project implementation. Our work focused on overcoming these challenges, and included a number of activities.  We spearheaded a comprehensive literature review, supported by Center for Global Safe WASH, Children Without Worms, and International Trachoma Initiative, on the impact of WASH interventions and programs on related NTDs.  Results of the literature review will be reduced to key recommendations for the WASH and NTD sector. See the recommendations here.

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Millennium Water Program: Support for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning  

  • Location: Ethiopia and Kenya

  • Partners: Millennium Water Alliance, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision

Our research group has partnered with consortia of WASH implementing organizations in Kenya and Ethiopia through the Millennium Water Programs (MWP) to provide strategic support for monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL). Through this collaboration we have designed frameworks for unified, robust, and data-responsive MEL systems that engage partners in active learning and reflection, particularly with regard to issues of sustainability, equity, and the effectiveness of programmatic approaches. This collaboration has not only resulted in informative evaluation results for partner organizations, but results of applied research projects done in collaboration with MWP partners have been and will continue to be shared with the greater WASH sector to inform better practices.

These applied research projects included:

  1. Qualitative investigation of the role of women in water management and conflict resolution in Marsabit, Kenya

  2. Barriers to adoption of household sanitation in rural eastern Kenya

  3. Equity of improved water access in rural Ethiopia

  4. Factors associated with long-term sustainability of water points in Ethiopia

  5. Development of a metric for water insecurity and its relation to psychosocial distress among women


The creation of a Tool-Kit to enhance WASH sector participation in NTD control

  • Location: USA

  • Partners: Center for Global Safe WASH, Children Without Worms, International Trachoma Initiative, Sightsavers

Sightsavers awarded the Center for Global Safe WASH, Children Without Worms and International Trachoma Initiative a $125,000 grant to create on-line manuals and an on-line course that will increase WASH sector access to information, and advocacy and monitoring and evaluation tools regarding WASH impact on the NTDs.  Manuals are customizable to country-specific disease endemicity and regional frameworks, and provide focused tools for fostering collaborative WASH and NTD control efforts. See the online manuals here.