RISE (Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments)
Human health issues in slums are significant. UNICEF and WHO have reported that more than 663 million people lack access to safe drinking water, and 159 million rely on surface water for their water consumption. 2.4 billion people lack access to sanitation facilities. Inadequate water supply, sanitation and drainage in crowded environments lead to faecal contamination of soil and water, which predisposes residents to diseases, intestinal inflammation, stunted growth, and poor cognition. Though subsistence agriculture and animal keeping can benefit low-income families, sources of bacteria and contamination within the environment - such as soil in chicken coops, and greywater used for irrigation - can cause ill-health. Meanwhile, settlements close to waterways and water-logged or poorly drained areas are subject to mosquitoes, rats and other vectors, increasing risk of vector-borne diseases.
A growing body of evidence shows linkages between human health and the health of the environment. RISE is a mission driven, place-based and integrated approach to revitalising the informal settlements and their environments. Working in the cities of Makassar, Indonesia and Suva, Fiji since August 2017, the project is designing, delivering and monitoring a socio-technical intervention delivered in two stages, across 24 communities. Working with communities, governments, local leaders and partner institutions, RISE is co-designing location-specific solutions that integrate green infrastructure, such as constructed wetlands, to strengthen the whole-of-life water and sanitation cycle. We aim to develop evidence through a rigorous program of research in ecological health, and human health and well-being.
Such a wicked, multidimensional challenge can only be addressed through research and development activities span spatial, social and economic dimensions. We do so through engaging with a coalition of partners working across sectors and disciplines. We pursue a research model - Transdisciplinary Impact Research - which sets an arc from discovery research (new knowledge and innovation) that can go on to be tested on the ground through implementation working closely with governments, communities and the development sector.