Although only a member of the AMREF family for three months, Austin has already set about coordinating and adapting AMREF’s Water and Sanitation programmes, focussing on integrating AMREF’s water and sanitation work with our other initiatives.
Austin explained that currently AMREF’s water and sanitation programmes provide safe water supplies to thousands of African communities. But, in order to improve, AMREF will be concentrating on analysing the results of our work in order to better measure the direct health outcomes the WATSAN programmes. When asked if there were any projects in particular which could provide a working example of how Austin envisages the future of AMREF’s WATSAN work, he mentioned the Tanzania, Mwananyamala project. A youth-friendly HIV/AIDS project, Mwananyamala has combined HIV education and awareness with sanitation and hygiene education, a key priority for Austin’s approach to WATSAN.
We must ensure that handwashing practices are promoted properly, and that we integrate this health information into national school curriculums,' explained Austin, 'Education is a crucial starting point for all our water and sanitation work.
With his wealth of experience in the Water, Hygiene and Sanitation field, AMREF is very excited to have Austin on board. Austin graduated from the University of Zambia in 1992 - a year of severe drought across Southern Africa. This led him to take up a post as a water point mapper in Zambia on a UNICEF sponsored project, and launched his career in the water and sanitation sector. He went on to work on water development programmes with a number of NGOs across Africa, including WaterAid, Oxfam and Plan International.
The AMREF UK team were very pleased to receive Austin in London and look forward to working with him in the future. Welcome Austin!