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Returning knowledge to the community: an innovative approach to sharing knowledge about drinking water practices in a peri-urban community

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Claire Furlong


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During previous research into drinking water quality in Peru, it was found that water was becoming contaminated in households, and there was a lack of understanding surrounding this contamination. It was felt that returning these findings to the community could build capacity, enabling people to make more informed choices about drinking water practices. Several participatory methods were explored. Ketso(R), a hands-on kit for engagement, was thought to provide the most appropriate approach, and was used to deliver several workshops in the community. Thirty-five participants explored their understanding of drinking water and factors that caused contamination. The method allowed them to explore these factors in depth and to develop several practical and simple solutions. One solution capitalized on a novel finding; participants associated the taste of chlorine with clean water, but were unaware that household bleach could be used as a cost-effective water treatment. Feedback was excellent, with Ketso seen as giving participants space to better understand and question their practices, whilst building capacity for change. This co-production of knowledge also allowed the researcher to gain a better understanding of local knowledge and perceptions. Such innovative knowledge exchange has important implications for future implementation of new water technologies and engineering projects.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Furlong C, Tippett J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development

Year: 2013

Volume: 3

Issue: 4

Pages: 629-637

Print publication date: 01/01/2013

ISSN (print): 2043-9083

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: IWA Publishing


DOI: 10.2166/washdev.2013.071


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