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In spite of all the challenges the Covid-19 pandemic triggered over the last several months, two of the welcome gifts it also afforded me has been 1) time to reflect and 2) the ability to continue with my studies in an atypical way. My experience as a graduate student in the School of Planning had already unceasingly tested my motivation and self-direction but working as a Research Assistant (RA) and powering through electives over the Spring term helped me recognize how important it is to foster supportive relationships and prioritize your own wellbeing during uncertain times.

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Waterlupus Hack Experience

“What’s a hackathon?”

As we shared our research plans with colleagues and potential participants, we were asked this question many times over the last 6 months! Even after spending so much time learning what to expect through the planning process, the hackathon experience and its outcomes exceeded my expectations.

The first time I heard about the Water Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) Conference was in 2016 when I was an Intern in WaterAid, a Water Sanitation Hygiene (WaSH) International Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Ghana. At the time, the conference was held in Ghana. The focus of this international conference is to provide Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) professionals a platform to continually build their capacity in the sector. Because of my interest in WaSH and health, I wanted to be a part of WEDC, although this did not happen for two years.

The newly implemented Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cover an impressive, yet controversial, 17 goals and 169 targets. With such breadth and diversity one could assume the majority of the world’s priorities would be recognized. Touted as goals that will “leave no one behind,” they ironically do just that. Who are they leaving behind? The world’s ageing population...

What determines health?

Well, it depends upon how we define health.  Back in the day, the World Health Organization defined health as simply the absence of disease.  When defined in this way, we worked under the assumption that access to health care was the primary determinant of health or at least the prevention of disease.  And then in the early 1980s, along came the Black Report.