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2013 Conference

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The 2013 University of Oklahoma International WaTER Conference

The WaTER Technologies for Emerging Regions (WaTER) Center at the University of Oklahoma hosted the Third OU International WaTER Conference and International Water Prize Award Ceremony on Sept. 23-25, 2013 in Norman, Okla., USA.

Conference hall shot

Conference Theme

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.


Keynote Speakers

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

Post Conference Workshops

The Conference also held two post-conference workshops. 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.

The 4th Biennial OU International WaTER Conference is scheduled to be held on Sept. 21-23, 2015.



2013 WaTER Conference Travel Scholarship Recipients

Scholarship recipients at conference banquet (with Water Prize winner)

The 2013 Conference featured a record number of international scholarship recipients. Twenty-one (21) recipients from eleven developing nations were awarded paid travel expenses to the U.S. to share knowledge and experience in WASH projects. For many of these travelers, this was their first trip abroad and/or their first trip to the United States. The diverse mix of recipients included 10 females and 11 males who represented universities, NGOs, and governmental posts. 

The following persons received scholarships to attend this year's Conference:

  • Bekele Abaire; Catholic Relief Services (Ethiopia)
  • G.M Bandaranayake; University of Sri Jayewardenepura (Sri Lanka)
  • Lauren Butler; Engineers in Action (Bolivia)
  • Mariel Cabero Ugalde; Engineers in Action (Bolivia)
  • Maria Campos; University of the Philippines Open University (Philippines)
  • Derek Chitwood; Partners in Hope (China)
  • Poonam Gwala; CSIR-NEERI (India)
  • Asmita Jadhav; North Maharashtra University / NEERI (India)
  • Srimanth Kagne; NEERI (India)
  • Hector Kpangon; Water and Sanitation for Africa (Benin)
  • Pawan Labhasetwar; CSIR-NEERI (India)
  • Esayas Samuel Mengesha; Oromo Self-Help Organization (Ethiopia)
  • Abu Naser; International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (Bangladesh)
  • Viet-Anh Nguyen; Institute of Environmental Science and Engineering, Hanoi (Vietnam) 
  • Anisha Nijhawan; NEERI (India)
  • David Olukanni; Covenant University (Nigeria)
  • Beyene Paulos; Ministry of Science and Technology (Ethiopia)
  • A.K Susheela; Fluorosis Foundation of India (India)
  • Viji John; NEERI (India)
  • Esther Wanja Mwengi; Nakuru Defluoridation Company (Kenya)

2013 Conference Details