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A framework for corporate engagement in water, sanitation, and hygiene initiatives Open Access


Other title
corporate social responsibility
water, sanitation, and hygiene
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Noga, Jacqueline M
Supervisor and department
Neumann, Norman (Public Health)
Examining committee member and department
Saunders, Duncan (Public Health)
Jennings, Devereaux (Business)
Bubela, Tania (Public Health
School of Public Health
Environmental Health Sciences
Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-06:Spring 2017
Master of Science
Degree level
My research involved working with a non-profit organization, for-profit company, and a community in Eastern Tanzania. Students’ International Health Association (SIHA) is a non-profit working in health promotion in rural Eastern Tanzania. IDEXX Laboratories, Inc., a multinational corporation that makes user-friendly water quality testing kits, is seeking insight on how to engage in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to improve public health. The objective was to inform how a for-profit can engage in CSR with the aim of improving public health, using field research of SIHA’s involvement in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH). The first objective of my research was to review current international activities associated with provision of safe water, researching the recommendations for WASH-related activities in developing countries. A literature review was used to collect and synthesize the current research. The second objective was to use field research over two field seasons to identify the context-specific public health challenges associated with water and sanitation in a severely water-challenged community in Tanzania. The first field season entailed preliminary observations and learning about the broad challenges related to WASH; in the second field season, I conducted a qualitative description using individual interviews. The third objective was to understand and evaluate IDEXX’s current CSR initiatives. I investigated IDEXX using the corporation website, other media sources, and an in-person visit to the headquarters. From the literature, eight key considerations for a WASH initiative were identified. The considerations can be roughly divided into three categories: tangible needs, community participation, and education provision. From the first field season, I learned that the main challenges in the community were poor access to WASH facilities and acceptable treatment options. The results from the second field season demonstrated that the community has ideas for solutions, but lacks the necessary leadership to promote change. And from the investigation of IDEXX, it was clear that IDEXX is open to new ideas within CSR and is committed to investigating in CSR. The results were used to develop a framework for the private sector pursing CSR and for the public sector seeking informed methods for connecting with the private sector. I titled this framework the Threefold Framework for Corporate Engagement. Within this framework there are three principles (sustainability, ethical responsibility, and meaningful public health outcomes), three phases needed for execution (preparation, introduction, and implementation), and three components (stakeholders, values, and outcomes) for ensuring that these CSR principles are met. Partnerships with the private sector can contribute meaningfully to public health and should focus on serving the priorities of the communities they are intended to benefit. The Threefold Framework could be applied to other partnership based initiatives beyond corporate engagement. The fundamental components, phases, and principles are not specific to corporate partnerships and can be applied to any multi-organization partnership.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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