A-WASH with Pacific research opportunities


The final death toll of the Bali bombings was 202 individuals, comprising mainly Western tourists including 88 Australians.

A team of Monash Marketing academics, through a joint partnership with the International Water Centre, have obtained an Australian Development Research Award funded by AusAID for almost A$1 million over three years to investigate market-based approaches to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues in the Pacific region.

Associate Professor Srinivas Sridharan, Dr Stephen Saunders and research fellow Dr Dani Barrington from the Department of Marketing will lead a multi-disciplinary research team, which will work closely with local non-government organisations (NGOs) such as Live&Learn to develop an understanding of WASH markets in impoverished areas of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands.

The project aims to bring together scholars from different backgrounds such as engineering, marketing, psychology and economics to study the local market dynamics of water and sanitation in the Pacific region.

“Marketing scholars are interested in understanding markets, and not just marketing activities. As marketers, we know that around the world, the poor are not simply passive recipients of development aid, but are active consumer-merchants and entrepreneurs who ultimately shape and transform markets.  What we don’t know is how and why,” Dr Stephen Saunders explained.

The research will involve a community-led participatory action method.

“The participative methodological philosophy provides opportunity for community-led consultation, learning, feedback, advice, adjustments and adaptations. It is a great fit to the overall research objectives. Essentially the project will aim to produce research that is rigorous as well as vivid, human, and of benefit to the communities,” Associate Professor Sridharan said.

“Gaining a deeper understanding of how and why consumers shape or transform WASH markets in the Pacific will allow current and future WASH practitioners operating in this region to better meet the need of consumers and entrepreneurs, build capacity and provide effective and sustainable WASH interventions,” Associate Professor Sridharan said.