Delft, the Netherlands, 19 Sep 2022

Alumna Dr Joy Nyawira Riungu of Kenya wins 2022 IHE Delft Alumni Award

Kenyan sanitation expert Joy Nyawira Riungu is the winner of the 2022 IHE Delft Alumni Award. The award recognizes individuals who have made a particularly remarkable impact in a water-related field and who are role models for water professionals.

Riungu is Director at the Sanitation Research Institute at Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Kenya. She was awarded her PhD in Water and Sanitation Engineering with a Specialization in Sanitation Engineering at IHE Delft and TU Delft in 2021.

She will visit IHE Delft in November to receive the award during the 2 November Opening Academic Year & Alumni Award Ceremony. Her agenda while at IHE Delft also includes presentations and seminars for Institute students and staff.

The award was given for the first time in 2013 and resumes in 2022, following a pandemic-related hiatus in 2021 and 2020. 

About the winner

“From an early age I hoped to one day salvage the lives of the underprivileged population, especially women and girls,” Riungu said.

Throughout her studies and career, she has worked to expand access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) related services. Before she completed her PhD, she launched a sanitation programme in the form of short courses at MUST and expanded it to include MSc and diploma courses after winning a capacity development grant from IHE Delft. Since its launch in 2020, the programme has supported 105, MSc students, 164 short course students, and 14 Graduate Professional Diploma students. She has also developed sanitation BSc and PhD curricula. While pursuing her PhD studies, she served as Dean of MUST’s School of Engineering and Architecture.  

In addition, she established MUST’s Sanitation Research Institute, and, since 2021, serves as its director. She is involved in efforts to promote City-Wide Inclusive Sanitation in Africa, and established working networks and partnerships with national and international organisations. She contributed to the development of Kenya’s sanitation management policy as a stakeholder, and she founded an organization that seeks to promote the well-being of under-privileged women and girls.


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