November Scholar of the Month: Dr. Sarah Smiley

Sarah Smiley is a Professor of Geography at Kent State University’s Salem Campus. She uses multiple qualitative methods, and fieldwork is central to all of her research.  Her research interests include water access in Sub-Saharan African cities, and she has conducted much of her work in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  She is especially interested in how water access is negatively impacted by unreliable piped water supplies and floods, both of which can force households to use more expensive or less desirable sources.  She is also interested in the physical and health challenges people face while fetching water including walking through standing water, near traffic, and on unsteady or steep terrain.

Her most recent fieldwork in Dar es Salaam documented some improvements in water access from increased numbers of household connections and more reliable piped water supplies.  Although many households benefit from these decreased collection times, water vendors have been harmed by the loss of customers and income.

Selected publications (full list

Smiley, S., B. Agbemor, E. Adams, and R. Tutu. 2020. COVID-19 and Water Access in Sub-Saharan Africa: Ghana’s Free Water Directive May Not Benefit Water Insecure Households. African Geographical Review.

Smiley, S. and J. Stoler. 2020. Socio-environmental Confounders of Safe Water Interventions. WIRES Water. 7:e1438.

Smiley, S. 2020. Heterogeneous Water Provision in Dar es Salaam: The Role of Networked Infrastructures and Alternative Systems in Informal Areas.  Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space

Smiley, S. 2019. Explaining Improvements and Continuing Challenges in Water Access in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. International Journal of Water Resources Development 35, 6: 959-976.

Smiley, S. and H. Hambati. 2019. Impacts of Flooding on Drinking Water Access in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Implications for the Sustainable Development Goals. Journal of Water, Sanitation, Hygiene for Development 9, 2: 392-396.

Smiley, S. 2017.  Quality Matters: Incorporating Water Quality into Water Access Monitoring in Rural Malawi. Water International 42, 3: 585-598.

Smiley, S., A. Curtis, and J. Kiwango.  2017. Using Spatial Video to Analyze and Map the Water Fetching Path in Challenging Environments: A Case Study of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases 2, 8; doi:10.3390/tropicalmed2020008.

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