Thursday, January 9, 2014

2013 OU International WaTER Conference

The University of Oklahoma WaTER Center hosted the 3rd Biennial OU International WaTER Conference on Sept. 23-25, 2013.  The conference theme, “Synergy at the Interface:  Integrating Technology, Social Entrepreneurship and Behavior Change,” attracted nearly 200 participants from multiple disciplines, all with the common goal of bringing water and sanitation to developing countries. 

The conference, held in Norman, Oklahoma, included representatives from 17 countries and hosted water and sanitation experts from academia, industry, NGOs, governments and foundations.  Two full days of presentations and networking opportunities included oral and poster sessions that addressed an array of water related topics, such as assessment of WASH interventions, behavior change, climate change, fluoride effects and mitigation, gender and social equity, hydro-philanthropy, social entrepreneurship and water technologies for emerging regions. The conference offered six keynote speeches from leading WASH professionals, an educational outreach Clean Water Poster Contest for local school-aged children, and a panel discussion on climate change.

Serving on the discussion panel was Dr. Christine Moe, Dr. Braimah Apambire, Dr. Richard Taylor, Dr. Pawan Labhasetwar, and Dr. Peter Lamb.

The conference also hosted two post-conference work-shops. One was a hands-on workshop in Field Methods, featuring sustainable pump technology, water well drilling methods, ecolatrine design, household water treatment systems, and biosand filters. 

The second workshop was on Social Entrepreneurship, where participants created a social business plan for a hypothetical urban sanitation case study involving problem and solution identification, customer analysis, fashioning a business model, and outlining its implementation. 
The highlight of the conference occurred at the banquet where the 2013 OU International Water
Prize was awarded to Ms. Ada Oko-Williams, assistant director of the Sustainable and Thriving Environments for West Africa Regional Development program, currently exploring a business approach to accelerate access to WASH in Africa.

2013 Water Prize winner Ada Oko-Williams gives the plenary lecture at the WaTER Conference Banquet
The 4th Biennial OU International WaTER Conference is scheduled to be held on Sept. 21-23, 2015.

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