Water pump being used to fill bowls of water.
Published on: Nov 8, 2019

Asher Rosinger, assistant professor of biobehavioral health and anthropology and Ann Hertzler Early Career Professor in Global Health, was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant allowing him to further his research in water and its impact on health and well-being.

Rosinger and his co-principal investigators, including project PI Matthew Douglass and Larkin Powell at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Herman Pontzer at Duke University; and Purity Kiura at the National Museums of Kenya, were awarded a nearly $750,000 grant for their project, “Long Term Perspectives on Water Security, Food Security, and Land Management Among Pastoralists Experiencing Change.” 

This grant will help the research team create a longitudinal study to examine how Daasanach pastoralists — an ethnic group of sheep, goat, camel, and cattle herders in Northern Kenya — adapt to environmental changes and how their water sources and diets change over time in response to these changes. The overall project aim is to integrate environmental and human data spanning the last 10,000 years to gain a deep perspective on the socio-ecological system and its adaptive capacity through time.

Rosinger’s overall research is designed to understand how humans meet their water needs, how strategies relate to environmental resources, trust of water sources, and water insecurity, along with the resulting consequences on health, hydration and disease.

The data from this new study will help the researchers understand consequences of land management strategies and development in an arid environment, and how populations with limited access to improved water adapt to harsh conditions. 

“The study will enroll and follow households over the next four years to learn how changes in their lives and environmental exposures, like water quality, affect their health, nutrition and human biology,” said Rosinger. “We hope this project will help the community we’re working with as well as inform environmental and developmental policies surrounding land use changes in assessing the impacts on people’s livelihood strategies and health outcomes."

The planning phase of the project has already begun with data collection beginning June 2020.