One Approach to Organizational Learning and Community-based Inquiry: A Case Study. A collaborative and empowering journey to water & sanitation
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University of Washington Abstract One Approach to Organizational Learning and Community-based Inquiry: A Case Study A collaborative and empowering journey to water & sanitation Sara DeRuyck Maragaret L. Plecki Associate Professor Education Considering the severity of the global water crisis and the enormous backlog of rural communities who lack acces to a clean water source and basic sanitation infrastructure, it is apparent that this incredibly complex problem is one that warrants thoughtful research and implementation strategies. Economist Jeffrey Sachs notes that it is important not to underestimate the water burden, and "that at the most basic level, the key to ending extreme poverty is to enable the poorest of the poor to get a foothold on the ladder of development" (244). Water1st International is one organization that has developed a community-driven and humanistic approach to permanent solutions that respects both the vulnerability and the innovative capacity of the beneficiary communities. Water1st supports the gathering of knowledge, through research, that examines the insufficient progress toward the Millennium Development Goals by looking at the water industries current trends in an effort to tease out reasons for failure rates--a unique approach and one that supports a transformation of the water industry as a whole. This paper will address, a) one particular organization's understanding of and approach to the overwhelming need for access to basic water and sanitation infrastructure, and, b) the importance of leveraging insight, through informative research, to more effectively impact the water crisis. It will include my personal experience working with a research team to implement a pilot research study in Bishikiltu, Ethiopia, and will address the idea and challenges of a participatory approach in the quest for subject sensitivity and valid data.
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