Adjunct Senior Lecturer

Contact Details

P +61 (0)7 3365 4374
benfawcett@linknet.com.au

 

Short Biography

Ben Fawcett is an environmental health engineer, development manager, lecturer and researcher with more than three decades of extensive international experience. He has worked with several non-governmental organisations in the participatory planning, implementation and evaluation of both development and humanitarian, emergency relief programmes in numerous countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  In recent years he has concentrated on sharing his experience with those who will continue this work, by teaching, research and writing.
Since 1982 he has spent two years as a consulting engineer in Mauritania and nine years with the British NGO Oxfam, firstly as a Technical Adviser, working throughout the developing world, starting during the famine in Ethiopia in 1984, then as Country Representative in Vietnam and finally as Manager of Oxfam's global Technical Unit.
 
He then worked as an independent consultant appraising, reviewing and evaluating both environmental health and other development programmes for a range of agencies in locations as diverse as Tibet, South Africa, Cambodia, Rwanda, Chad and North Korea.
 
For a decade from 1996 he was employed as Director of Engineering for Development at the Institute of Irrigation and Development Studies at the University of Southampton, UK. He ran a Masters programme and so helped about 150 mature students from all over the world to become as passionate as he is about sustainable, people-centred development, and, at the same time, as committed to improved sanitation. He also managed a portfolio of research projects, carried out by local researchers, studying social and institutional issues in sanitation, and gender issues in water projects. 
 
In 2008 he co-authored a book, ‘The Last Taboo’, based on his research over the previous decade, on the global sanitation crisis, aiming to publicise the scandalous situation in which 40% of the world’s people have nowhere to ‘go’. Since mid-2007 he has been based in Australia where he is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland, teaching on sanitation, hygiene and water supply for developing countries at the International WaterCentre. He advises Engineers Without Borders (Australia) on their policies and projects in the sanitation, hygiene and water sector and continues to campaign for access to toilets for those suffering the indignity of life without such basic facilities.

Research Skills

For ten years while at the University of Southampton Ben managed a portfolio of research, funded by the UK governments's Department for International Development, costing a total of £0.8m (cUS$1.3m), into social and institutional issues in water supplies and sanitation in South Asia and southern Africa, with local researchers. He supervised four PhD students to successful completion. In recent years he has supervised Masters research projects in countries as diverse as Mozambique, Nepal, Laos and Cambodia.

Current Projects  

Ben continues to work with his former research colleagues to publicise the need for much more attention to the development of sustainable sanitation services in developing countries.
He advises Engineers Without Borders on their policies and strategies in sanitation, hygiene and water supplies.

Achievement Highlights 

  • Numerous former students active and committed in people-centred international development throughout the world.
  • Author of ‘The Last Taboo’ – described in a BMJ editorial (September 2010) as ‘influential’ in the campaign for improved sanitation in the developing world.
  • In 2011 Ben was awarded the biennial Oklahoma University International Water Prize for his contribution to water supplies and sanitation for poorer people around the world.

Associations

  • Former trustee with two UK-based NGOs: RedR (Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief) and Tools for Self Reliance.
  • Former member of the Steering Committee of Ethics for USS, the campaign for socially responsible investment of British university staff pensions.

Key Publications

  • Regmi SC and B Fawcett, 1999. Integrating Gender Needs into Drinking-Water Projects in Nepal. Gender and Development 7.3. Oxfam, Oxford.
  • Joshi D and B Fawcett, 2001. Water, Hindu Mythology and an Unequal Social Order in India. Paper presented at the Conference of the International Water History Association, Bergen, Norway, 10-12 August.
  • Joshi D, M Lloyd and B Fawcett, 2003. Voices from the Village – an alternative paper for the Alternative Water Forum. Paper presented at the Alternative Water Forum, Bradford Centre for International Development, University of Bradford, UK, 1-2 May.
  • Mulenga M, G Manase and B Fawcett, 2004. Building Links for Improved Sanitation in Poor Urban Settlements – recommendations from research in Southern Africa. Institute of Irrigation and Development Studies, University of Southampton.
  • Joshi D and B Fawcett, 2005. ‘The role of water in an unequal social order in India’. Chapter 3 inColes A and Wallace T (Eds) Gender, Water and Development. Berg, Oxford.
  • Colon M and B Fawcett, 2007. Community-based household waste management: lessons learnt from EXNORA's 'zero waste management' scheme in two south Indian cities. Habitat International, Vol 30.4, pp916-931.
  • Black M and B Fawcett, 2008. The Last Taboo: Opening the door on the global sanitation crisis. Earthscan, London.
  • Fawcett B, 2008. The right to a decent toilet: a right denied to 2.6 billion. Paper presented at the Activating Human Rights and Peace Conference, Southern Cross University, Byron Bay, Australia, 1-4 July.
  • Joshi D and B Fawcett, 2011. Health, hygiene and appropriate sanitation: experiences and perceptions of the urban poor. Environment and Urbanization, Vol 23.1.
  • Joshi D, B Fawcett and F Mannan, 2012. 'Sanitation for the urban poor, gender matters', chapter in M Zwarteveen, S Gautam and S Ahmed (eds), Diverting the Flow: Gender Equity and Water in South Asia, Zubaan Books for SaciWATERs, Hyderabad, India.

 

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