Bridging the WASH-Nutrition sectors and addressing environmental enteric dysfunction in Ethiopia PhD

Cranfield University

Cranfield, , GB

This PhD project aims to develop a better understanding of how Behaviour Change Communication or material inputs can effectively reduce the risk of Environmental Enteric Dysfunction in Ethiopia. Read more

Globally, reducing the prevalence of stunting has been challenging to address. Efforts by different actors have often focussed on improving the quantity and quality of the nutritional intake of infants and pregnant women. Some actors have also included WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) interventions, typically promoting clean water, latrine use and handwashing, with the intention that the reduced diarrheal disease risk improves the absorption of nutrients and thus reduces stunting. However, this has ignored a critical issue:

In many rural areas infants under 2 years (within their first 1000 days) are left to play on the ground around the home where there is often livestock or even human faeces present. Rural households often have mud floors that can’t be properly cleaned. Recent research demonstrates the devastating impact environmental enteric dysfunction has on the development of the child.

  • Review current evidence on intervention techniques have been effective in reducing the risk of infection and EED e.g. infant play mats provided to households with children under 2, behavioural change communication to keep livestock out of the house
  • Participatory research to develop intervention techniques to minimise the risk of infection with the target groups.
  • Conduct a control trial to measure the impact of the intervention techniques on infections risks, EED and anthropometric measurements. 

The student will be based in London or Cranfield, based on discussions with the candidate, and will spend extended periods of time (several months) conducting fieldwork in Ethiopia.

At a glance

  • Application deadline: 13 Oct 2017
  • Award type(s): PhD
  • Start date: 13 Nov 2017
  • Duration of award: 3 years
  • Eligibility: EU, UK
  • Reference number: SWEE0027


Alison Parker, Lecturer in International Water and Sanitation

Paul Hutchings, Lecturer in WASH Impact Evaluation

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or upper-second class UK honours degree (or equivalent) in nutrition, epidemiology, public health or a related discipline, and have a strong interest in developing their research expertise in environmental health-nutrition and behaviour change communication. A background in developing and using social research methods (especially qualitative techniques and/or mixed methods) is desirable. The ideal candidate should be highly self-motivated, and should preferably have some familiarity with the context of rural communities in Africa. The ability to work for long periods with limited supervision will be essential.


Sponsored by People In Need, this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £17,000 p.a. (tax free) plus fees* for three years

*The studentship is funded jointly by People In Need and Cranfield University Joint PhD programme. A more detailed plan of the studentship is available to suitable candidates upon application. Funding to cover tuition fees and a monthly stipend is available for UK and European applications, but Worldwide applicants who possess suitable self-funding are also invited to apply.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This Network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas, identify opportunities for collaboration and create smaller communities of practice.  It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for this project please contact Alison Parker ([email protected]) to discuss your suitability for the post. Candidates should then complete the online application form.

When applying or enquiring about this research position please quote the research title.

For further information contact us today:

T: +44 (0)1234 758082
E: [email protected]