GCRF Global Health and Clean Water Network

Lead Research Organisation: British Institute in Eastern Africa
Department Name: Social and Ecological Research


The GCRF Health, Polluted Water and Soils Network of excellence is focused on reducing health problems relating to water and soil pollution in climate-stressed, rural and deprived urban communities in Kenya, Jamaica and Grenada. We aim to achieve this by focusing on affordable and innovative technological and sociological solutions to improve access to clean water, healthy and productive soils and safe, nutritious foods. The network is based on a One Health interdisciplinary, approach, with a growing membership drawn from academic researchers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, health and environmental professionals, government officials, science policy diplomats, community leaders, and civil society and a commitment to grow. Our goal is to build a network of committed individuals, who will work together to solve problems together and will get better at getting things done.

Network members will engage in a two-year programme of innovative, interconnected activities, designed to facilitate and enrich the exchange of knowledge, ideas and praxis, build capacity, and help early and mid-career academic participants to connect with the wider community and forge long-lasting, interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships. The activities include a series "big-tent" settings including:
country-based Knowledge Networks in which entrepreneurs and business will be encouraged to bring new ideas and thinking about social enterprise and for-profit schemes into the network on how to deliver change;
Round-tables for diverse groups to "think out of my box" and develop pathways for realising solutions;
on-line Communities of Practice to enable everyone to gain a strong understanding of the issues, evidence and potential solutions through moderated conversations;
Workshops and co-laboratories, that will give members and stakeholders the opportunity to co-design innovative ways to improve health through affordable and innovative technological and sociological solutions and improved access to clean water and soils;
Demonstration activities and Outreach in local communities to heighten awareness of impacts on health from polluted water and soils and solutions;
two Global Digital Conferences which will include on-line presentations, chat groups, interactive sessions, and hackathons, to give network members the opportunity to demonstrate how different issues are being tackled;
open access e-learning courses and training webinars on key issues leading to University certification; and
an International conference to be held at the Eden Centre, UK to present the outcomes and ideas from the network, consolidate new collaborations and future actions.

Some of the measurable outcomes will include improved health in selected communities Grenada, Jamaica and Kenya through greater access to clean water, soils and safe, nutritious foods; lasting partnerships and interdisciplinary collaborations able to exploit opportunities for joint research proposals, business propositions and social enterprise; and increased skills and capacities to solve challenges linked to health, climate change and pollution through collaborative and participatory methods. The results of the network's activities will be disseminated widely through the network's website, social media and academic publications, and shared in detail with the UKRI and the Global Challenge Leaders.

The hallmarks of success will be a network that has developed its own compass for working with complexity, enjoys "big-tent settings for joined-up action", and whose membership gets better at getting things done by finding power and using it.

Planned Impact

Who might benefit from this network?
People living in low-and middle-income countries carry a heavy burden of pollution-related illnesses and disease. At the core is a lack of access to clean water and soils. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 42 percent of the population still has no access to safe or basic services for managed drinking water, whilst in Latin America and the Caribbean, 31 percent have only basic services and 14 per cent no services at all. Most of the health problems have multi-factorial causes that go beyond simple exposure to pollutants and diseases-agents; these include malnutrition, poverty, inequality, lack of land rights, gender and a range of social stigma. To address these issues, a network of excellence will be established to bring together academic researchers from multiple disciplines and a wide diversity of stakeholders from civil society, business, government, third sector organisations, youth and under-represented, vulnerable groups from Kenya, Jamaica and Grenada, three middle income countries situated in regions where the pollution-related health problems are being exacerbated by climate change. Through the programme of activities network members will be encouraged to exchange ideas and praxis on affordable, innovative technologies and approaches for water and wastewater treatment processes, land and water management practices, basic services and access rights to help improve the health of rural and deprived urban communities.
Beneficiaries include network members and stakeholders in the three countries and UK, specifically:
Academic researchers especially women and those who are early and mid-career, coming from the fields of medicine and veterinary science, environmental science, engineering and technology and social sciences and interested in interdisciplinary research on the topic of environment and health.
Government officials and policy-makers at local and national levels
Business leaders and Entrepreneurs in the three countries and their counterparts in the UK
Third sector organisations in the three countries involved in sustainable development
Civil society, including youth, community leaders and under-represented groups where they play an important role in championing ways to improve health and environment and to input community views and those of under-represented groups into government policies and social initiatives.
Local communities in the selected locations in three countries playing an important role in articulating to officials and local leaders the issues and devising practical solutions.

How might they benefit from the network's activities?
All network members and stakeholders engaged in the programme of activities will benefit from the network by i) extending each other's knowledge of health problems relating to pollution, ii) increasing the ability to create solutions and act, and iii) building new collaborations and partnerships to work jointly on these issues in the future.
Academic researchers will especially benefit from: the Workshops and co-laboratories, Round-Tables, Communities of Practice as these will help broaden their research networks; the e-learning courses and joint training seminars; publishing joint findings and reports; participating in meetings of linked networks of academics, national academies and professional bodies; and having the opportunity to create new collaborations and partnerships for future funding openings.
Government and policy-makers, by having access to the latest policy evidence an thinking
Business, Entrepreneurs and Third Sector through the Knowledge Networks which will enhance their catalytic roles in development and social enterprise
Civil society, by gaining a "voice" in the development of solutions
Local communities through Demonstration activities and becoming showcases for solutions


10 25 50
Description The GCRF One Health Clean Water and Soil Kenya team has undertaken an Energy Audit for the Mau Forest, following on from discussions with communities on the source and impact of wood extraction from the forest on the quality and quantity of water used by several million people downstream. As a consequence, alternative non-forest bio-based briquette production and biogas units were designed and established for household use and livelihoods in >100,000 households. This is leading to a greater awareness of the connectivity between the forest ecosystem health, water and soil quality. As a consequence, local finance institutions, County governments and the Kenya Forestry Service are helping to support the transformation.
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Energy,Environment
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

Description Building Partnerships with the One Health Community: One Health Research, Education and Outreach Centre (ILRI) 
Organisation International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
Country Kenya 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The PI of GCRF One Health Clean Water and Soils has been invited to serve as an Advisory Board of OHRECA, and to provide insights and guidelines drawn from the GCRF One Health project on technologies and community education in managing waste water from abattoirs and livestock farming near drinking water sources.
Collaborator Contribution OHRECA is contributing to the GCRF One Health international conference planned for July 2021.
Impact The collaboration includes research and training in veterinary sciences and public health, environmental pollution, wastewater management and social sciences, especially gender.
Start Year 2020
Description Creating synergies with the Global Environment Facility - UNEP Caribbean Regional Fund for Waste Water 
Organisation United Nations (UN)
Department United Nations Environment Programme
Country Kenya 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution the GEF CReW programme works directly with governments to improve waste water management. In the case of Grenada, the GCRF project team will be working with the UNEP team to implement the GCRF scheme as a pilot for the GEF activities.
Collaborator Contribution The GEF CReW(+) activities involve investment in waste water management facilities; funds will be used to enhance and replicate the community project under the GCRF One Health Engagement Network.
Impact Preliminary planning documents have been shared; however, the appointment of the GEF Grenada team lead has been delayed due to Covid.
Start Year 2021
Description GCRF One Health Clean Water Caithness Hospital 
Organisation Caithness General Hospital
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution The Co-I and team participated in a major multi-agency project designed to reduce the pollution caused by medicines emanating from the Caithness General Hospital, sharing knowledge and experiences from the GCRF Engagement Network. In 2020, the hospital became the first hospital in the world to gain the prestigious Alliance of Water Stewardship standard for its work undertaken to reduce the impact of pharmaceuticals on the environment and in recognition of an ongoing initiative designed to make the healthcare provided at the hospital "greener" by reducing its environmental impact. https://www.nhshighland.scot.nhs.uk/News/Pages/CaithnessGeneralHospitalsecuresaworldfirstforpioneeringenvironmentalwork.aspx
Collaborator Contribution The Caithness General Hospital will provide invaluable experience for other medical centres and governments in the GCRF One Health project and ore broadly across the One Health global network on how to tackle pollution caused by pharmaceutical.
Impact The collaboration is highly multi-disciplinary involving environmental science, engineering, public health, pharmaceuticals and social sciences.
Start Year 2020
Description Grenada Wastewater Treatment and Recycling Project Outline 
Organisation Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)
Country Barbados 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The GCRF One Health Country Teams and Engagement Network will work with CDB in partnership with national and international experts, national authorities and rural communities in Grenada and then throughout the Caribbean to obtain an understanding of the importance, reliability, and safety of utilizing wastewater, following its treatment. Current technologies will be applied to transform wastewater to a usable, safe, and high standard of purity in a community. The treated water will be distributed for community-based agriculture production and possibly other non-potable activities. The project aims to have a positive impact on environmental protection and food security through reducing soil, air and ground water pollution. The lessons from the pilot project in Grenada, followed by Jamaica, regarding the efficiency and safety of this initiative will be important to inform possible future climate change adaptation action in Grenada and Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.
Collaborator Contribution The CDB will provide funds for the pilot project in Grenada, due to start in Q2/Q3 2021. A second project using the GCRF technologies and community approach is planned for Jamaica.
Impact Collaboration around the use of the CAFE Technology in rural areas likely to be impacted by climate change have begun in other parts of the Caribbean.
Start Year 2020
Description GCRF One Health Clean Water and Soil - Country Stakeholder Engagement Meetings and Activities 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact To encourage interdisciplinary exchange, a series of round tables, community meetings and knowledge networks led by a diverse team, drawn from relevant sectors identified in our strategic domains, were held to identify key concerns, gather data and possible solutions. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, events were held either virtually or with social distancing in compliance with public gathering regulations in network member's countries.
Regular meetings (weekly and monthly) are held with the following stakeholders:
? Ministry of Interior and Coordination (Ward Chiefs and Regional Co-ordinators)
? Community based organizations and Community Leaders
? Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Forestry
? Ministry of Agriculture
? Water Resources Authority
? Ministry of Water Resources
? National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA)
? County Government Departments of Environment, Water, Agriculture and Water
? National Museums of Kenya
? East Africa Breweries Limited
? Diageo
? Dryden Aqua/Clean Water Wave
? Financial Cooperatives
? Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA)
? Small scale Coffee Growers
? Astra Zeneca
? Maasai Mara Association of Conservancies
? Aga Khan University
? Strathmore University
? University of Eldoret
? University of Nairobi
? National Water and Sewage Authority (NAWASA)
? Ministry of Implementation and Infrastructure Development
? Ministry of Health
? Ministry of Agriculture
? Ministry of Climate Change Resilience
? Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF)
? German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ)
? Community residents/organizations
? Caribbean Development Bank
? Dryden Aqua & Clean Water Wave

? Ministry of Health
? Sugar company holdings of Jamaica
? National Environmental Planning Association
? PWC (Price Waterhouse Coopers)
? Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate change
? The Planning Institute of Jamaica
? Ministry of Agriculture
? Charcoal Burners Association (liaison)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
Description GCRF One Health Clean Water and Soil - Global Business Roundtable 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Business Roundtable participants came from a wide diversity of sectors including waste, water, agriculture and health. The major topic was on how could businesses, especially SMEs, build resilience in light of COVID-19 while maintaining the agency of women and youth within their sectors and a responsibility to environmentally sustainable practices?
Main Findings:
? Developing tracking systems which log metrics and sustainability reports. These help businesses monitor performance and gauge the effectiveness of various initiatives. They reveal imbalances and inequalities, for example a bias against youth in value chains or women disadvantaged in funding streams. Resilience can be nurtured through impact monitoring techniques.
? Businesses need to emphasize new innovations and be deliberate about breaking dependencies on inputs that put a strain on communities and the environment. They need to embrace clean energy and fair trade while exploring sustainable strategies that scale naturally in response to multiple scenarios. The Covid-19 pandemic provides businesses both large and small the chance to establish a new culture.
? The idea of building back better is not going to be successful unless businesses look into how they can take care of the natural environment.
? The pandemic also highlighted barriers which stand in the way of improving the business environment. Governments need to be held accountable in addressing policies that left businesses,especially small businesses, exposed and ill prepared to handle shocks and come out resilient.
Agreed to develop and run e-learning University certified courses on tracking local indicators aligned to the SDGs, with a focus on public health, wastewater and municipal waste management targeting different supply chains.
Development of designs and funding for local entrepreneurial centres for adding value to waste, shifting to regenerative agriculture, improving drinking water facilities and tackling pollution in food chains.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
Description GCRF One Health Clean Water and Soil - Global Community Leaders Roundtable 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The key issue for the Roundtable debate was to find out what are the health, social and economic impacts on communities resulting from water and soil pollution and what can be done to ameliorate conditions?

? The project premise of building solutions from the ground up, drawing insights and formulating solutions starting at the community level is highly appreciated;
? Knowledge exists within communities that is contributing significantly to the projects;
? It is important to frame interventions within the priorities of the communities;
? Communities/Leaders have a good appreciation of the local political context and needs;
? The success of the project relies on full participation of community members, including marginalised groups;
? Exposing people to new knowledge, building on that which already exists, is widely appreciated.
Agreed outcomes:
1. All the projects have policy implications as well as community impacts. It was thus agreed that local/national/regional policy makers would be engaged as implementers of the different enabling environment once ideas about how to tackle the challenges had been clearly defined.
2. It was agreed that the design and implementation method adopted throughout would be based on the co-production of solutions between communities, government authorities and experts from academia and business.
3. It was agreed that project planning should include identification of the different roles to be played by members in each community to avoid the creation of inequalities, and to empower the dis-empowered.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
Description One Health Clean Water and Soil - Global Gender Roundtable 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The focus for the GCRF One Health Clean Water and Soils Community Roundtable was to examine how to embed gender into health, clean water and soil management, sustainable business and agriculture and how gender issues can be prioritized and safeguarded. The discussions were led by professional practitioners on gender who outlined methods and surveys to discover and evaluate how men and women in their different roles impact environmental sustainability through their interface with soils and water, and how environmental management practices affect both women and men in their roles through health and other social impacts.
Key Findings:
a. Exposure to poor sanitation, agricultural practices and environmental degradation and resulting health impacts are highly gendered;
b. Gender varies in terms of roles and responsibilities depending on socio-cultural settings. Biases vary across these settings;
c. Intervention strategies in support of gender equality need to consider, especially the disadvantages that women and girls have faced historically and the specific socio-cultural context, to minimize risks of backlash against women and girls, when defining measures to address them;
d. Balanced and active participation and representation of men and women in developing interventions is a precondition for the success of the process of reconstruction and rehabilitation;
e. Ensuring equal access and opportunities for women and men to economic resources is essential to achieving sustainable livelihoods and development.
Agreed outcome:
GCRF One Health Engagement Network Project Team requested to develop and publish One Health Gender Guidelines for other international and One Health programmes, including OHRECA (One Health Research, Education and Outreach Centre), and GEF (Global Environment Facility) Caribbean Regional Fund for Waste Water Management.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020