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Each time you flush the toilet, a gallon and a half of crystal clear water goes straight down the drain. Yet in many of the world’s most deprived communities, filthy water is all there is to drink.

Rapid urbanisation, industrialisation and unprecedented population movements have forced people into cities where the infrastructure cannot cope, heaping pressure onto water systems already woefully inadequate. At the same time, climate change is shifting long-established patterns of rainfall, flood and drought.

The issues of global sanitation and health are both massive and complex – and yet Leeds is already making a difference. And with your help, we will do so much more.

While most people who study civil engineering elsewhere learn about first world problems, Leeds is home to Europe’s only MSc specifically focused on the delivery of effective water supply, sanitation and hygiene services in Africa, Asia, Central and South America.

A key feature of the Water, Sanitation and Health project is to educate professionals from low-income countries, giving them the tools to evaluate the engineering challenges of their own communities and address them.

Through working together, these outstanding and highly-motivated professionals develop their skills in integrated water resource planning to gain a greater oversight of water needs, treatment processes, usage and infrastructure – as well as the different economic and policy drivers for the provision of clean water.

Your support would provide:

  • Scholarships: Funding for PhD and Masters students would enable the University to seek outstanding international postgraduate candidates to come to Leeds, immerse themselves in one of the key issues of water supply and sanitation, and contribute new studies relevant to their own home country. Rather than being given ready-made answers to generic issues, these students would be equipped with the skills to develop tailor-made solutions, ideally suited to a community’s specific needs.
  • Travel bursaries: These allow allowing scholars to undertake extended fieldwork research to see at first-hand the habits, concerns and challenges of the communities they are studying, and enrich their work through real-world practice.
  • Equipment: Gifts from just a few hundred pounds upwards will give students and researchers easy access to chemicals, bottles, ice boxes and other small items to support their research.
  • Remote learning: Support for staff and technology will help make our Masters programmes available for remote study and will see the creation of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) – giving the opportunity of learning to students who would be unable to travel to Leeds.

This project offers a remarkable opportunity for these individuals to develop into the leaders of the future, providing a valuable learning experience and the opportunity to embed that learning into real-world practice in their home countries.

In this article in The Independent Dr Dani Barrington (Civil Engineering) explains how toilet marketing campaigns in developing countries may erode people’s dignity.

Worldwide impact


Research in Bangladesh

Masters Student Masters Student

Masters Students

Water Drop Water Drop

Track record

Tackling Global Issues

Barbara Evans

The University of Leeds's Professor of Public Health Engineering outlines some of the major sanitation issues faced by communities in the poorest regions of the world - and explains how the Master's Course in Water, Sanitation and Health empowers water professionals from these countries to embed positive change.

Working together

Professor Barbara Evans and Dr Helen Elsey of the Centre for Global Development at the discuss the benefits of cross-disciplinary working when tackling some of the major issues of sanitation and public health.

Junguo Liu

Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources at Beijing Forestry University in China

was drawn to Leeds by the international reputation of water@leeds. Here he talks about the Cheney Fellowship which he received to be a visiting fellow with the renowned research group – and the long-term collaboration he is establishing between the two institutions

Barbara Evans

Professor of Public Health Engineering at the University of Leeds

discusses her work and the benefits of the University's Masters programme which attracts water professionals from around the world

Adrian Unc

Adrian Unc joined the University of Leeds' renowned water@leeds group to further his research in algae and biofuels. In this video he talks about the opportunity which the fellowship afforded and expresses his gratitude to Peter and Susan Cheney for their support

Campaign board member Peter Cheney

(Bacteriology and Biochemistry 1969)

has established a series of fellowships which enable visiting academics to develop their research links and set up long-lasting partnerships with Leeds. A number of these have supported water research – and here Peter talks about why he supports the University of Leeds Campaign

How you can help

Through research and education – and by providing tailored solutions to communities’ particular issues – we can bring the benefit of improved sanitation and clean safe drinking water to some of the most deprived communities of the world.

And because the University is a charity, UK taxpayers can make their gifts go further. Gift Aid enables the University to reclaim the basic rate of tax on the value of the donation, while higher rate (40%) and additional rate (45%) taxpayers can reclaim the difference between their rate of tax and the basic rate.

Gift will supportHome Masters ScholarshipInternational Masters ScholarshipHome PhD ScholarshipInternational PhD Scholarship
You give£8,000£28,000£64,000£100,000
The University claims Gift Aid (1) £2,000£7,000£16,000£25,000
Full value of gift£10,000£35,000£80,000£125,000

If you are a Higher Rate (40%) taxpayer:

You claim tax relief (2)£2,000£7,000£16,000£25,000
Net cost to you£6,000£21,000£48,000£75,000

If you are an Additional Rate (45%) taxpayer:

You claim tax relief (3)£2,500£8,750£20,000£31,250
Net cost to you£5,500£19,250£44,000£68,750

Donors may choose to make their gift in instalments

  1. Added at the basic rate of tax.
  1. Higher rate relief is the difference between basic rate and higher rate tax.
  1. Additional rate relief is the difference between basic rate and additional rate tax.

Further information on tax-effective giving and eligibility click here

You may also choose to make your gift in instalments.

Browse the project brochure

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