mw4d | mobile/water for development

mw4d is a research initiative based at the University of Oxford. mw4d seeks to design and test mobile communications technologies within the water sector, with the aim of improving water security and reducing poverty in the developing world.


mw4d is led by Dr Rob Hope in partnership with Dr Gari Clifford. The inter-disciplinary research group is co-located at the School of Geography and the Environment and the Institute of Bio-medical Engineering with the explicit aim of linking development policy, technological innovation and public health to improve water security and reduce poverty.

mw4d has established partnerships in Africa and globally across government, private sector and civil society.

Core team

Dr Rob Hope

Rob is Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University\’s Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment. He has secured major grants from ESRC, DFID and the Skoll Foundation across the three research themes. He has conducted applied research on water security in rural Africa for over 10 years and has expertise in the design and evaluation of institutional performance on development outcomes.

Eng. Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas is a director of Rural Focus Ltd. with decades of experience in the Kenyan water sector. Mike\’s Knowledge covers both the physical and engineering aspects of the water industry and the managerial/institutional side. His expertise ranges from dams & pans to rural water supply & sanitation, to the financing of urban water projects and Kenya\’s water sector reforms.

Patrick Thomson

Patrick is lead researcher in the mw4d team. Patrick previously worked in international development, living for a number of years in Sub-Saharan Africa. He is a Chartered Engineer with a background in electronic engineering. He leads the technical design and implementation of the Smart Handpump research.

Tim Foster

Tim is currently a DPhil candidate at the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. His research focuses on large-scale empirical analysis of rural water supply models and the design of mobile-enhanced alternatives in Africa. He has worked as a water and sanitation specialist throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and was previously a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group.

Johanna Koehler

Johanna is a researcher working for the Water Programme of Oxford University\’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. Combining her social science and water science backgrounds, her work examines institutional developments in rural water services in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Kenya. She focusses on water security and development in areas of competition over limited water resources.

Senior advisory

Professor David Bradley

Ross Professor of Tropical Hygiene Emeritus, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London; Honorary Fellow of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London.

Professor Bradley is a physician, communicable disease epidemiologist and zoologist. After studies at Cambridge and London he lived and worked in East Africa – Tanzania and Uganda – for ten years and has continued to carry out research there, also in India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Kenya, and the UK as well as making shorter working visits to many other countries. After initial work on community pathogenesis, epidemiology and the public health importance of schistosomiasis he worked on domestic water supply and health in East Africa, onMycobacterium ulcerans, and the theoretical basis of tropical public health. He devised the now generally adopted functional classification of water-related diseases.

From 1974 he was Professor of Tropical Hygiene at the LSHTM for 30 years and Director of The Ross Institute, which became a highly interdisciplinary department, extending from molecular biology to social anthropology, applied to problems of tropical health. He has advised the World Health Organization, DFID, the World Bank, and ICDDR,B on public health and research policy. He was President of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, has an Honorary DSc from the University of Leicester and was recently made an Honorary Fellow of the LSHTM. He has received the Chalmers and Macdonald medals of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the Harben Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of Public Health.

Dr Gari Clifford

University Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering, Department of Engineering Science; Associate Director, Centre for Doctoral Training in Healthcare Innovation; Director of Kellogg College\’s Centre for Affordable Healthcare Technologies

Dr Clifford is a University Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering based at Oxford\’s Institute for Biomedical Engineering, where he heads the Intelligent Patient monitoring Group. Gari has published widely in the field of intelligent patient monitoring and has been involved in the patenting, design, and production of several commercial medical devices. He is also the Associate Director of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Healthcare Innovation, a major EPSRC-funded centre for teaching biomedical engineering at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

Dr Clifford is the Director of Kellogg College\’s Centre for Affordable Healthcare Technologies, which was formed to focus on the many issues involved in the design and implementation of healthcare technology in resource-limited settings. The Centre was established in May 2012, in order to expand the work of Oxford\’s Engineering World Health Group, based at the Institute of Biomedical engineering, to reach out to a broader inter-disciplinary research base. The aim of the Centre is to bring together researchers from disparate disciplines to address the issues involved in the design and implementation of healthcare technology in resource-limited settings. The issues cut across many disciplines, ranging from Computer Science, Engineering and Medicine, to Anthropology, Business, Economics, Geography and Public Health. By drawing on experts from such disciplines we aim to identify and address healthcare issues in which technology may provide efficient and scalable solutions.

Professor W. Mike Edmunds

Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford; Honorary Research Associate, British Geological Survey (Hydrogeology), Wallingford; Visiting Professor in Geochemistry at Kingston University, Surrey.

Professor Edmunds\’ expertise lies in water quality, especially relating to groundwater, hydrogeochemistry and palaeohydrology. He retired from the British Geological Survey in nearby Wallingford where, since 1986, he held an IMP (Individual Merit Promotion) research position in hydrogeochemistry. In 1999 he received the Whitaker Medal of the Geological Society for his achievements in hydrogeology. In 2009 he received the OE Meinzer Award of the Geological Society of America and in 2010, the Vernadsky Medal of the International Association of Geochemistry. He teaches on the MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management course.

His research has been applied in the fields of groundwater quality (UK and overseas), hydrogeochemical processes, trace element studies, isotope hydrology, palaeohydrology, arid and semi-arid zone studies including groundwater recharge assessment, groundwater acidification, salinity issues and mineral and thermal waters. He is also involved in science to policy and capacity development issues involving water in semi-arid regions. He is engaged in international consultancy work in the water quality sector for various United Nations organisations, notably the IAEA, UNESCO and has recently worked for ODA (now DfID) on projects related to groundwater and health as well as aquifer recharge. He has also served as Expert Rapporteur for the European Commission\’s Geothermal Energy programme as well as assessor for its Framework programmes. He has organised courses on water quality in UK, Greece, Honduras, Mexico, Ethiopia and elsewhere.

Michael Rouse, CBE

Member of the IWA Council of Distinguished Water Professionals; Fellow of the UK Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management; Fellow and Past President of the UK Institute of Water; Honorary Member of American Waterworks Association (AWWA); Honorary Member of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers.

Michael Rouse has had a distinguished career in the water industry, holding both senior positions in the UK and with extensive international advisory experience. He has extensive knowledge and experience of water policy issues, water governance and regulation, including all aspects of audit and enforcement, and the governance issues related to both public sector management and privatisation. Michael is experienced in working with Ministers, senior government officials, and water and sewerage utility managers, both in the UK and around the world. He has wide knowledge of water technical and operational matters, based on his applied research and development background. He has a good understanding of international water matters, he is a Past President of the International Water Association, and a member of the IWA’s Council of Distinguished Water Professionals. He is a Distinguished Research Associate at the University of Oxford and manages the Institutional Governance and Regulation module of the University’s MSc Course on Water Science, Policy and Management. In 2000 in the UK he was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) for services to water. The second edition of his book \’Institutional Governance and Regulation of Water Services\’ will be in print at the end of August 2013.


Aaron Krolikowski, D.Phil. Candidate

Aaron is currently a doctoral candidate in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. His work focuses primarily on the novel uses of mobile communication technologies in the urban water sector in East Africa as they relate to payment behaviours, water utility performance, and equitable access to water services.

Joachim Behar, D.Phil. Candidate

Joachim is a D.Phil student in Oxford department of Engineering Science, supervised by Dr Gari Clifford. He is working on signal processing for fetal electrocardiography and is co-funded by Engineering World Health, Oxford.

Alessandro Guazzi, D.Phil. Candidate

Alessandro is a lively Italian physicist now working in Oxford towards a D.Phil in Biomedical Engineering.

Mohammad Ali Maraci, D.Phil. Candidate

Mohammed is a software engineer with a particular interest in healthcare technology, and is currently enrolled at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Healthcare Innovations at the IBME.

Tasos Papastylianou, D.Phil. Candidate

Tasos is a medically qualified and current Biomedical Engineering graduate student at the University of Oxford, with an interest in image and signal processing in medicine.

Simão Jacques, D.Phil. Candidate

Simão is an electrical engineer currently enrolled in the Centre for Doctoral Training for Health Innovation at Oxford University.

João Jorge, D.Phil. Candidate

João is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Engineering Science of Oxford University. He is a biomedical engineer with a background in medical physics.

Alex Money, D.Phil. Candidate

Alex is reading for a D.Phil at Oxford, focused on corporate water risk. Brought up in Zambia, he was formerly an emerging markets fund manager, and has over 15 years of investment industry experience.