Dani Barrington

Dr, PhD, BE (Hons), BSc, FHEA

  • The University of Western Australia (M431), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


My participatory research and teaching focuses on ensuring that everyone has access to the sanitation services that they want to use, regardless of their income or the country they call home (watch a brief video on my work here). I use interactive methods to understand and help improve people’s experiences with toilets, menstrual health and hygiene, incontinence and water, with a focus on low-middle income contexts.

I am a Senior Lecturer in Global Health within the School of Population and Global Health at The University of Western Australia and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am also a Visiting Lecturer in Water, Sanitation and Health within the School of Civil Engineering at The University of Leeds and an Honorary Fellow within the School of Public Health at The University of Queensland. I have worked in several countries, particularly in Oceania, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

I'm also a co-founder of the 'Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Failures' initiative, encouraging WASH professionals to be more honest about when things don't work out. Check out (and sign!) The Nakuru Accord!

In my undergraduate days, I was one of the founding members of the University of Western Australia Pantomime Society, where I honed my skill of engaging with audiences on taboo matters, particularly through making a fool of myself on stage.


Geographical Research Experience (*indicates extended periods of fieldwork experience)

Australia*, Bangladesh, Belize, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Fiji*, Ghana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal*, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of South Africa, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands*, The Netherlands, Uganda, Vanuatu*, Zimbabwe, Zambia.


I am a proponent of the Amartya Sen philosophy of "Development as Freedom" and Robert Chambers' approach of participatory development. My work particularly focuses on the use of participatory action research (PAR) to engage with communities and local stakeholders so as to understand, navigate and improve complex water, sanitation and hygiene systems around the globe.

Current projects

Current Advisory Board positions

Previous projects

Previous Advisory Board positions

  • The last taboo: menstrual management in the South Pacific (Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea), funded by Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Improving the lives of older people –understanding barriers to inclusion of older people with incontinence in humanitarian WASH programming (Malawi, Ethiopia), funded by Elrha's Humanitarian Innovation Fund

Current PhD students

  • Sara Sánchez López: Understanding the social and economic impact of menstruation in Spain
  • Hannah Robinson: Inclusive WASH Facilities: Streamlining the implementation of gender policy and the use of gender guidelines

PhD graduates

  • Mofwe Kapulu: Approach for scaling up citywide safely managed sanitation access and services: A study of Lusaka, Zambia
  • Claire Rosato-Scott: Emergency sanitation for children with urinary incontinence
  • Mariam Zaqout: The Political Economy of Sanitation: An Exploratory Study of Stakeholder Incentives in Delivering Sanitation

Teaching overview

Honours and Dissertation Coordinator

PUBH1101: Health and Illness in Human Populations

PUBH1102: Health and Globalisation

PUBH5767: Child and Maternal Health

PUBH5805: Qualitative Research Methods in Health

Previous positions

Sept. 2017 – Mar. 2020, Lecturer in Water, Sanitation and Health, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

Jan. – Aug. 2017.  Research Fellow in Water Engineering for Developing Countries, Cranfield University, Cranfield, United Kingdom

Jun. 2013 – Dec. 2016, Research Fellow, Department of Marketing, Monash University & International WaterCentre, Melbourne, Australia            

Jun. 2016 -  Nov. 2016  Lecturer, Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Aug. 2016, Guest Lecturer, Shantou University Summer School on Environment Science and Engineering, Shantou, China

Jul. 2012 – May 2013, Research Associate, School of Environmental Systems Engineering, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia

Jul. 2012 – Apr. 2013, Research Associate, School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Australia

Aug. 2011 – May 2012, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Engineer, Nepal Water for Health, Bharatpur, Nepal

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Award Date: 3 Dec 2019

PhD, Towards a comprehensive framework for the management, risk assessment, and mitigation of toxic cyanobacteria, The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 11 Jul 2012

Environmental Systems Engineering, B.E. (Hons), The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 1 Dec 2007

Chemistry/Environmental Chemistry, B.Sc., The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 1 Dec 2006

External positions

Visiting Lecturer in Water, Sanitation and Health, University of Leeds

14 Mar 2020 → …

Honorary Fellow, University of Queensland

1 May 2015 → …

Industry keywords

  • Environmental
  • Health
  • Not for Profit
  • Social and Welfare Issues

Research expertise keywords

  • Sanitation
  • Water supply
  • Menstruation
  • Participatory research
  • Wellbeing
  • Incontinence


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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