Environmental Engineering Final Year Projects


Congratulations to MEng students Emma Bewley and Ottilie Shiyong Liu for completing their final year projects at Imperial College, as part of WISER. Their projects were titled “Influencing water contact behaviours to prevent schistosomiasis infection in Africa” and “Water treatment processes to prevent schistosomiasis infection”, respectively.

WISER Community Theatre and Field Activities


In February and March 2019, the Imperial College London team together with colleagues from AAU Ethiopia and NIMR Tanzania took part in three WISER theatre-based workshops and snail collection activities in the field. Two final year undergraduate students from Imperial College London, Emma Bewley and Shiyong Liu (Ottilie) joined in the fieldwork in Tanzania.

The theatre-based workshop aimed to explore ideas around schistosomiasis, risky behaviour, water contact and alternative water supply using acting as a tool to reduce behaviours that cause schistosomiasis. It was led by Acting for Health. One 4-day theatre workshop was held in Kemise, Ethiopia (11-14 February 2019) and two 5-day workshops took place in two villages, Mwakalima (18-22 February 2019) and Kigongo (25 February-1 March 2019) in Tanzania. Participants included community representatives, occupationally exposed people (e.g. fishermen, paddy farmers and horse cart men), health workers, local authority workers, regional and national government representatives, and children (11-17 years old). The Acting for Health methodology involves creating awareness, developing complexes and solutions relating to the schistosomiasis life cycle, health, avoidance of water contact, use of alternative water supplies and improved sanitation. The findings from the complexes and solutions were developed into sketches which were turned into scenes, and the characters were created from among the cohort of participants. Each scene carried relevant messages and was rehearsed. It was then performed for a broad audience from the local community at the end of the last day of the workshop and filmed. The film from Mwakalima was shown in two other communities, Chole and Nyangholongo on the 24th of February 2019. Fifty-six participants were involved in the three workshops and over 750 people including children, watched the final performance of the play. Over 200 people watched the film.   Questionnaires were conducted before and immediately after the performances, to measure the changes in perceptions and understanding of both the theatre participants and audience members, and this data is now being analysed.

Also, the snail collection team took samples from sites with shedding snails in Mwakalima, and further analysis was carried out in the NIMR laboratory.   

From left to right: Workshop session in Kemise, Ethiopia; Imperial College London staff and students, NIMR staff and AfH staff in Kigongo, Tanzania; Team collecting snail samples from a site in Mwakalima

From left to right: Workshop session in Kemise, Ethiopia; Imperial College London staff and students, NIMR staff and AfH staff in Kigongo, Tanzania; Team collecting snail samples from a site in Mwakalima

Clockwise from top left is crowd watching drama performance in Kemise, Ethiopia; Mwakalima, Tanzania; and Kigongo, Tanzania

Clockwise from top left is crowd watching drama performance in Kemise, Ethiopia; Mwakalima, Tanzania; and Kigongo, Tanzania

WISER outreach activities for Science Museum’s Year of Engineering


On 24 October 2018, May and Lucinda led WISER-themed science and engineering activities at the Science Museum in London as part of the Museum’s Year of Engineering programme. This was part of WISER’s outreach activities to engage the wider public in our research. Our WISER theme featured in the programme for the day was:

Something in the Water

Would you like to swim in a lake full of worms? What if they were so small you didn’t know they were there, but they could still make you really ill? Meet the water engineers trying to keep us safe from these tiny terrors!

Well over 300 children participated in the activities which included making cercariae models using pompom and pipe cleaners as well as having a go at making sand filters using plastic bottles, sand and gravel. The children used glitter to make-up their own contaminated water and then filtered it, which was super cool as the filters completely trapped the pieces of glitter.

As it was a family week, the adults accompanying the children were not left out – there was a screen showing a video of the Schistosome cercariae, how they penetrate the skin and how they appear under a miscroscope. Another video which highlighted the dangers of swimming in surface waters in endemic areas was also shown. Samples of worms in formaldehyde and samples of empty snail shells in Petri dishes were on display.

A fun day was had by all!

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Capacity building at AAU


Dr Michael Templeton travelled to Addis Ababa University last week with Laura Braun and Lucinda Hazell to lead workshops on Urban Wastewater and Storm Water Management and Transferable Skills for Masters and PhD Researchers. The workshops included a wastewater treatment design shortcourse and group design project, a site visit to a recently built wastewater treatment plant, and a day of group activities focused on team-working, creative thinking, and communication. The workshops were part of WISER’s Pathways to Impact.

Imperial College MSc students 2017-2018


Congratulations to environmental engineering students Eric Ho, Xiuming Wei, Angela Mei and Rosie Luo for completing their MSc theses, and many thanks to everyone who supported their projects!
Eric: Schostosome cercaria viability studies at the Natural History Museum
Xiuming: Slow sand filtration for the removal of schistosome cercariae
Angela: Storage tank designs for inactivating schistosome cercariae in water
Techniques for changing water contact, sanitation and hygiene behaviours for schistosomiasis endemic regions

WISER Stakeholder Workshops in Addis Ababa and Mwanza

24.4.2018 and 27.4.2018

Workshops were held in April at the Getfam Hotel in Addis Ababa and at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mwanza, at which the WISER research activities were presented to stakeholders, who then shared their knowledge and information about their relevant current activities and priorities. Attendees and speakers included representatives from the Ethiopian, Tanzanian and Ugandan Ministries of Health and from a wide range of NGOs, charities, foundations and local university researchers. An afternoon session, facilitated by colleagues from Acting for Health, engaged invited members of the WISER case study communities, to explore their understanding of schistosomiasis and the challenges faced in solving it. While in Tanzania, the team also visited one of the communities and had a chance to do some snail hunting.


Global Health Day at Francis Crick Institute


Michael Templeton presented at the Global Health Day 2017 - The UK Contribution to Innovation in Global Health, held at the Francis Crick Institute. The conference was a joint event by University College London, King’s College, Imperial College London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council, and the Francis Crick Institute.

ISNTD Water Conference 2017


Members of the WISER team from Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum attended the ISNTD Water conference, held at the Natural History Museum. Michael Templeton spoke about the WISER project during the second session which was focused on Technology and Innovation in WASH for NTDs (see video below). He also helped lead a workshop with Fiona Allan on the gaps between WASH and schistosomiasis.  

ASTMH conference 2017

5.11. - 9.11.2017

Dr. Michael Templeton and Laura Braun traveled to Baltimore, USA to attend the ASTMH conference and GSA Schistosomiasis Control and Elimination meeting. The findings of the recently conducted systematic review of water treatment for the removal of schistosome cercariae were presented at the poster sessions.

Trip to Tanzania and Ethiopia

16.10. -  26.10.2017

In October, Fiona Allan and Laura Braun travelled to NIMR and AAU to visit the labs and potential sampling sites. In Tanzania, samples were collected from three villages along Lake Victoria – Kigongo, Sweya and Chole. Over two days, a total of 550 snails (including a few infected snails) were collected with scoops and dredges. In Ethiopia, numerous locations around Wonji (1 hour south of Addis Ababa) were sampled. This included lake shores, and canals on a sugar plantation. Despite the use of endod as a molluscicide in this area, schistosome-infected snails were collected.
Over the next months, the chlorination and filtration trials will be set up to determine the effectiveness of chlorine and sand filters in inactivating and removing viable cercariae from water.