I am an interdisciplinary freelance consultant and researcher. I started my education in geography, completing a BA (Hons) Human Geography and an MRes Geography at the University of Leicester, UK. I then joined the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector where I became the first Indian woman with Cerebral Palsy to complete my PhD (2013-2019) at the Water Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) in the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering at Loughborough University, UK. My thesis was on the WASH needs of women making the transition to menopause (perimenopause) in urban Ghana. I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
WASH Practitioner and Consultant
Since starting my PhD in 2013, I have had a keen interest in how WASH services can be delivered to include those who are often left behind. My expertise, stemming from my PhD, predominantly covers the diverse WASH needs of women going through the perimenopause. I champion the need for the WASH sector to pay greater attention to issues of menstrual health and hygiene for women reaching the end of menstruation at the perimenopausal stage.
In exploring how the incontinence needs of people in low and middle-income countries have been met, I was part of a multidisciplinary team which produced guidance on this, and have conducted research into addressing the needs of older people with incontinence in humanitarian settings. Other work has focused on providing accessible WASH facilities for people with disabilities and exploring how existing guidance for practitioners on accessible WASH can be provided. Also how modern energy cooking services in low and middle-income countries can meet the needs of people with disabilities. I have also explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on NGOs supporting people with disabilities and on the rights of girls around the world.
I am an interdisciplinary feminist researcher. I have explored hidden aspects of WASH from new perspectives, looking at areas of WASH which are often neglected. My research skills focus on understanding the user’s perspective of various services relating to WASH and broader health and wellbeing. Intersectionality is a particular interest, where multiple aspects of identity (e.g. gender, poverty, age, disability) come together to exclude people from accessing services.
Participative methods, such as semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, PhotoVoice (participatory photography), participatory mapping, video and ethnography have proved to be really useful throughout my work, together with qualitative data analysis, using software such as NVivo.
Other consultancy experience includes conducting literature reviews for academic institutions. I have published five academic journal papers to date and continue to collaborate with academic organisations including CEPT University in India, the University of Leeds and the University of Sheffield for research and writing papers.
Capacity development and teaching
I have delivered capacity development workshops for inclusive WASH at international conferences, providing training for sector professionals on menstrual hygiene, the WASH needs of perimenopausal women, and the provision of inclusive facilities for people with disabilities. I teach Masters students at the School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds and at the Faculty of Planning, CEPT University.