New Online Course on Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries

Posted: 2014-01-17

This spring the University of Manchester will offer a new Massive Online Open-Access Course (MOOC) on water and sanitation policy in developing countries. The course starts May 26th and is free and open to everyone. The GWP Technical Committee has endorsed this MOOC.

The course will be taught by Prof. Dale Whittington, a member of the GWP Technical Committee and a professor at the Manchester Business School (UK) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA), and Dr. Duncan Thomas, Manchester Business School.

This course will have 2 modules. Each module has 6 sessions. In the first module students will examine current conditions and trends in water and sanitation services in low and middle-income countries, and the underlying political, economic, and technical reasons why almost a billion people still lack access to improved water supplies, and about 2 billion do not have improved sanitation services. The course will address the water supply and sanitation problems of megacities, peri-urban slums, and rural communities.

The second module will focus on what can be done to solve global water and sanitation problems. Students will examine the main strategies that national governments and donors have tried to improve water and sanitation conditions, and the lessons that can be learned from these experiences.

Students in this course will develop an in-depth understanding of the current water and sanitation situation in low and middle-income countries, and the challenges that professionals in this field must tackle. Students will listen to lectures and read some of the influential, thought-provoking papers in the field. They will discuss both the lectures and the readings online with other interested individuals from all around the world. Videos will be used to supplement the lectures and readings. In addition, students who successfully complete the courses will receive a Coursera Statement of Accomplishment. We expect a lively online discussion with water and sanitation professionals around the world, and hope you will join us!

How to enroll

The first module of the course is open for enrolment now! To enrol simply go to the Water and Sanitation Policy in Developing Countries Coursera course page and then:

Click on the Join for Free button

  • Enter your name, email address, choose a password and agree to the Terms of Service and the Coursera Honor Code
  • You will receive an email confirming your enrolment and welcoming you to the course
  • The course will start on May 26th 2014 and we will notify you just before then to remind you when class will begin.

About the Instructors

Dr. Dale WhittingtonProf. Whittington has spent over 30 years of his career thinking and writing about water and sanitation policy and planning in low and middle-income countries. He has worked on these issues in over 25 countries for the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, OECD, and United States Agency for International Development.

Duncan ThomasDr. Thomas has researched the UK and European water sectors for 15 years, exploring technological, organisational, regulatory, and policy innovations to improve sustainability and climate change resilience. He has advised Ofwat, the UK Government and the European Commission, and blogs at

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