The Jeroen Ensink Memorial Prize: Winning article announced for 2022!

The Jeroen Ensink Memorial Prize commemorates the life and work of former Waterlines’ Editorial Board member Dr Jeroen H.J. Ensink who was tragically killed in 2015. Throughout his career, Dr Ensink sought to apply science and research to improve the lives of those who in the twenty-first century still live without access to safe drinking water and sanitation. He pursued this goal via different paths – as a practising public health engineer, as a young field researcher, as a doctoral student, as a senior investigator, and as a teacher and mentor – but always with the same clear and practical focus on solving the problem. Jeroen left behind him an impressive legacy of work and he also left a very personal mark on his many colleagues and friends in the water and sanitation sector.

Launched in 2016, the annual prize is awarded for an original paper submitted to and published in Waterlines in the previous calendar year. A Panel consisting of four members of Waterlines’ Editorial Advisory Board (Clarissa Brocklehurst, Oliver Cumming, Patrick Moriarty and Michael Templeton), together with Jeroen’s brother, Robbert Ensink and his colleague Willem van Schaik, has deliberated over a short-list of eligible papers drawn from all those published in 2020.

The Editorial Advisory Board agreed that the award should go to the authors of the paper which (i) reflects Jeroen’s values, (ii) is of high relevance to practice or policy in the water, sanitation, waste and hygiene sectors in low- and middle-income countries, and (iii) is of high quality.

We are pleased to announce that the winners of this year’s prize are Jordan Brands, Leandra Rhodes-Dicker, Wali Mwalugongo, Ruthie Rosenberg, Lindsay Stradley, David Auerbach for their paper ‘Improving management of manually emptied pit latrine waste in Nairobi’s urban informal settlements’ published in the Vol. 40 No. 1 issue and in the special issue Vol. 41 no. 1. The paper is fully Open Access and free to read and download here.

Author Wali Mwalugongo wrote:

“The global sanitation crisis poses unique challenges in urban areas, especially in densely populated informal settlements. These unique challenges require-and have endangered- creative solutions, including manual emptying of pit latrines. While their services often do not meet standards for safe management of sanitation waste, manual pit emptiers (MPEs) provide an essential service by removing sanitation waste from the communities where no other viable option exists.

We began working with MPEs because we wanted ro redirect waste that was unsafely emptied back to the safe sanitation value chain. We were successful in this work because we treated MPEs as customers, used a human-centred approach to understand their process and their challenges, and focused on designing a service they would value because it solved their problems, rather than expecting them to change their behavior simply because we thought they should. We chose to write about this work to share our learning on how to collaborate and design solutions for sanitation workers as key contributors to achievement of the SDGs.”

The award will be presented at the 2022 Water & Heath Conference at the UNC Water Institute in October 2022.

With warm congratulations to the authors, grateful thanks to the award panel, and good reading to you!

Richard Carter (Waterlines Editor)

Jutta Mackwell and Rosanna Denning (Practical Action Publishing)

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