UWE Bristol Global Water Security Programme

Take part in the UWE Bristol Global Water Security Programme and support global organisations working on improving water security worldwide. It's an exciting opportunity to do a short or long-term placement in another country. Applications are open until 30 April 2020 and details about how to apply are below.

We're looking for UWE Bristol students from all subject areas to support host organisations by using your academic knowledge in a variety of ways.

Details of the programme

What's the benefit of doing a placement?

The UWE Bristol Global Water Security Programme is a chance for you to use your academic skills to make a difference – and experience life in a different country. Taking part could also improve both your employability and your chances of undertaking postgraduate studies once you've graduated.

Opportunities will run over summer 2020 and/or as a sandwich placement for the 2020/21 academic year. Students on undergraduate courses could choose to link their research/experience to their academic studies as part of their third year modules, including sandwich placements and dissertation projects. Postgraduate students could use the experience to inform their MSc project work and/or satisfy any placement or work-based learning requirements. Whatever you do, you'll be able to make a positive difference by working directly with the host organisation.

Successful applicants will receive support prior to, during and after their work experience.

What can I do?

You will support organisations in a number of ways. This could include:

  • water quality testing and management
  • water-food linkages
  • water governance
  • consequences of hydropower development
  • groundwater well rehabilitation
  • mitigating the impact of water insecurity on women
  • environmental journalism.

Take a look at the 'Where can I go?' section below for ideas of how you can get involved in a project.

Previous students have won prizes for their work – including the National Union of Journalists (Bristol branch) Student Journalism Prize, the Institute for Environmental Sciences President’s Prize and the IWSN-UWE Bristol Student Prize.

Where can I go?

The following opportunities are available for summer 2020:

Diocese of Kisoro, Uganda

Field sessions 22 June 2020-17 July 2020 and 20 July 2020-14 August 2020.

Water Services Internships available for Social Sciences, Engineering, Water Science, and Journalism students. Work on any of the following projects in Kisoro District:

  • assessment of the extent and type of rainwater harvesting tanks (RWH) 
  • assessment of water quality in water stored in RWH tanks
  • root cause analysis of failure in RWH kit
  • help develop, design and build new RWH and gravity-fed systems
  • journalism – document the programme’s work using contemporary journalistic and documentary methods/techniques
  • focus on equity in distribution of water services, including service provision to the marginalised Batwa community

Watch our YouTube video.

CRA Urban Research Camp, Lilongwe, Malawi

03 August 2020-28 August 2020

Working with the long-established UWE presence through Conservation Research Africa we will focus on:

  • application of the HWISE survey tool and analysis of results
  • commissioning a water quality testing lab at the Field Centre in Lilongwe
  • water quality testing at agreed sites along the pre-urban, urban and post-urban stretches of the Lilongwe and Lingadzi Rivers.

See the Conservation Research Africa website and African Bat Conservation for details about the study location and activities.

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Delhi and Nimli, India

Due to monsoons, best four-week field sessions are over Christmas or Easter. A six-month placement could be arranged between October and May. 

More about the Centre for Science and Environment.

Water Services Internships available for Social Sciences, Engineering, Water Science, Journalism students. Work on the following in New Delhi:

  • green infrastructure and “nature-based solutions” - supporting CSE staff in applied research documenting the functioning of green infrastructure (eg integrated constructed wetlands) in both urban and rural settings
  • contribute to strengthening of performance and policy guidance documentation and capacity building.

WaterHarvest, Udaipur, India

Due to monsoons, best four-week field sessions are over Christmas or Easter. A six-month placement could be arranged to take place between October and May.

Founded in 1987, WaterHarvest promotes low-cost, sustainable solutions combining modern technical expertise with traditional wisdom, to capture and store precious monsoon rain (ie water harvesting). The work we are doing with them includes:

  • assessment of the functionality of rainwater harvesting structures, including “tankas”
  • cataloguing of traditional rainwater harvesting technologies
  • application of the HWISE survey for assessing household scale water insecurity.

See blogs about our work with WaterHarvest.

Centro de Competencias del Agua (CCA), Lima and Ayacucho and Cusco Regions, Peru

Field Assistants to support CCAscientists in continuing examination of climate change impacts on highland communities including:

  • continued baseline assessment of household water security through the global Household Water Insecurity Experiences (HWISE) initiative
  • assistance with development of integrated basin-scale water management plans which demonstrate clear advantages to upper, middle and lower catchment populations
  • assistance with organisation and delivery of “Agua Andes” programme, planned for the Machu Picchu region in August 2020.

This host requires a basic standard of Spanish language proficiency, which can be satisfied by taking a short intensive language course beforehand in nearby Cusco.

Institute for Natural Resources, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

This can be arranged as per negotiation with Institute for Natural Resources.

Partnering with government, civil society, the private sector and other leading research organisations, INR develops cutting edge solutions to support the resolution of natural resource challenges.


The UWE Global Water Security Programme is generously supported by funders including the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, the Global Challenges Research Fund and the University itself. As a result, ‘on the ground’ costs are covered, but participants need to pay for their own visas, vaccines and return air flights (usually between £500 and £800, based on a four-week field session).

Depending on individual circumstances, participants may qualify for additional support. External organisations such as the Royal Geographical Society also offer support for field research, as do the Lions, Rotary and other clubs and community organisations.

How to apply

Please apply by sending your covering letter and CV by email to Wayne2.powell@uwe.ac.uk.

Your cover letter (maximum 500 words) should outline what field location you are interested in, what length of experience (four weeks to six months) and your motivations for applying to the programme. Applications are open until 30 April 2020.