For two years, Andrew Azman worked in war-ravaged northern Uganda on water and sanitation-related projects. In the Gulu district—where more than 80 percent of the population had been displaced—he witnessed the impact of his efforts. Villagers wanted desperately to return to their ancestral homeland but lacked a safe water source nearby. Azman and his team worked with the community to drill a new borehole and plan for latrines.
“This resource-poor community insisted on conducting an opening ceremony for their new borehole,” Azman recalls. “Their insistence showed me that this was much more than a utility project for them—this was something that allowed them to return home. By drilling a borehole, we helped create a livable environment for more than 300 households who had been displaced for more than 20 years.”
Water and energy are recurring themes for Azman. In college, he founded CU Biodiesel, a nonprofit for advancing the use of alternative fuels. As an Engineers Without Borders volunteer, Azman tackled the ambitious project of providing potable water to a small village in Peru. He saw the relationship between water, sanitation, hygiene, and health and helped raise more than $60,000 to fund both a solar-powered water system and a hygiene education campaign.
At the Bloomberg School, Azman plans to strengthen his public health and engineering knowledge, which will enable him to bring about more positive change. His focus is the impact of water and sanitation interventions on health in low-resource settings. “More than anything else,” he adds, “I hope to inspire others to work with disadvantaged communities both in the U.S. and elsewhere.”
Assistant Scientist, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health