The overarching aim of this project was to identify whether slum residents experienced changes in water-related health risks over short timescales and to consequently assess the usefulness of current annual global UNICEF & WHO water monitoring initiatives in slums. The geographical focus for this project was Bangwe slum in Blantyre, Malawi. Through two fieldwork campaigns (dry and wet seasons) we: 1) Collected over 500 questionnaires from residents of Bangwe to understand people’s access to drinking water, potential contamination risks and water-related health; 2) quantified microbial water contamination at thirty households in Bangwe for seven consecutive days in both seasons to determine whether there were day to day differences in water-related health risks; 3) Provided tailored practical advice to the thirty participating households on how to improve the quality of their drinking water, and 4) Built on our existing network of collaborators in Blantyre which will be important for future funding bids. In addition to the planned work, we also conducted twenty-five geo-located filmed walking interviews with water collectors. In completing this work, we were able to trial a research methodology which can, in future work, be applied in different contexts in sub-Saharan Africa.
Adams EA, Byrns S, Kumwenda S, Quilliam R, Mkandawire T & Price H (2022) Water journeys: Household water insecurity, health risks, and embodiment in slums and informal settlements. Social Science & Medicine, 313, p. 115394. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2022.115394