Sustainable Waterpans Project: PhD Research Fellowships 2022-2025

The University of Eldoret (Kenya) is offering three doctoral research fellowships. The fellowships are attached to an international project which aims to improve the design and management of rural water pans, to increase the sustainability, climate resilience and quality of water supplied to rural communities in Tanzania and Kenya. In keeping with the project's focus, the doctoral candidates are expected to conduct research and engage in knowledge sharing and joint learning with communities and decision-makers at the national and regional levels in Africa.


Water pans play hidden and underestimated functions in achieving universal access to safe and affordable water. Since 2015, the number of people without safely managed drinking water in sub-Saharan Africa has increased from 703 to 766 million, and 8 out of 10 live in rural areas. In water-scarce areas, constructed or natural water pans store seasonal rains and frequently act as the only water source for households, livestock and wildlife. Moreover, as populations grow and settlements expand around rivers and lakes, water pans can shorten long, physically onerous walks, of mostly women and children, to fetch water. However, current approaches to constructing and operating water pans in the region face a number of interconnected challenges.

First, authorities typically approach water pans as either human, livestock or agricultural water supply, with different regulatory structures and water quality standards. It implicitly assumes that water pans designed for humans can restrict access to livestock and wildlife and vice versa. In reality, water pans designed for livestock are frequently used as a water source for domestic use, with impacts on human health and wellbeing. Furthermore, current guidelines for water pan construction and use are frequently dominated by a hydrological and engineering view, overlooking the position of water pans in ecosystems, as well as the social patterns and public health outcomes created or (re-) enforced by the way water is supplied. Socially inclusive decision-making during the construction and operation of water pans needs to consider how diverse stakeholders are impacted by policies, and operational and design decisions. This becomes more critical in an era of climate change, extreme weather events, and increasing environmental degradation.

For more information on how to apply, kindly downloas the document below