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How Jack's PhD is working towards SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

How Jack's PhD is working towards SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

by Rebecca

Introducing PhD candidate Jack Charnley whose research focuses on primary schools in East Delhi, India.

Water is a big deal. Our bodies use water to maintain themselves, and good health is underpinned by access to clean water. Yet, 80% of the world’s population live in areas threatened by water security, leading to a loss of half a million lives and $500 billion every year.

At Newcastle University, we believe everybody should have access to clean water in order to live a happy and healthy life. Our Water Hub brings together academics from all over the world, including Ethiopia, India, Colombia, Malaysia and the UK.

The aim of the Water Hub is to enable a global water research network for research, collaboration and impact in low to middle-income countries.

PhD candidate Jack Charnley is a member of the Water Hub. His research focuses on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 in primary schools in East Delhi, India.

Jack works with an Indian NGO called the Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE), which has implemented a schools-based Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) intervention.

Jack is also investigating the impact of this programme on children's health, behaviour and attitudes. Finally, Jack is researching progress towards SDG 6 between different school types in Delhi, both government-led and low-cost private schools.

Jack is particularly interested in SDG 6 as he believes it underpins many of the other Sustainable Development Goals.

Newcastle University is a fantastic place to research the SDGs because it is an international institution that is outward-looking to the needs of those in the world who feel the effects of slow progress on the SDGs in a way that we do not in the UK.

Not only that, but at Newcastle, we have the opportunity to work alongside communities to bring about change.

For example, SDG 1 - alleviating poverty, is impossible to reach without access to safe and clean water. Diarrhoea is the biggest killer of children under the age of five (SDG 3 - Healthy living), but this can be alleviated by obtaining clean water to hydrate children and ensure they have access to satisfactory toilets.


Progress towards SDG 4 (quality education) and SDG 5 (gender equality) can be achieved through access to clean water, so girls do not fear going to school during menstruation.

SDG 6 has gained attention during the Covid-19 pandemic as clean water and sanitation become vital in the fight against the virus. Hand-washing is a key defence against Covid-19 but this, of course, requires clean water.

Jack’s passion for the SDGs and particularly SDG 6 is inspiring to us all. Newcastle University was an obvious fit for Jack’s PhD research; as a native of Newcastle he loves the city and the Water Hub’s research.

The Water Hub brings together researchers from across the university to collaborate with fellow researchers in Colombia, India, Malaysia and Ethiopia on SDG 6.

Recently, my colleagues and I had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia to spend time with our international colleagues, share our research objectives and discuss how to support one another in achieving them. 

Nice work, Jack!

Find out more about Newcastle’s Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub.

Learn more about how Newcastle is working towards SDG 6.


Discover Postgraduate Study at Newcastle