Dr Dani Barrington

Dr Dani Barrington


I use interactive methods to understand people’s experiences with drinking water, toilets, menstrual health and hygiene, and rubbish management. My participatory research and teaching focuses on ensuring that everyone has access to the products and facilities that they want to use, regardless of their income or the country they call home. I believe that there is more to well-being than economic development, and that although technology plays a crucial role, it alone cannot solve all of our water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) challenges.

I'm proud to manage the University of Leeds WASH Blog, which showcases interdisciplinary stories from staff, students and alumni about their WASH research.

I'm Deputy Director of the School's Water, Public Health and Environmental Engineering Research Group. As a Lecturer in Water, Sanitation and Health, I teach into our Master of Science in WASH Engineering, supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students and conduct research. I believe that the role of academics includes engaging with the public around our work, so I'm also very active in outreach in the form of advocacy through social and traditional media. I'm also Editor-in-Chief at Engineers Without Borders Australia's Journal of Humanitarian Engineering and a Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Practical Action's journal Waterlines.

I've has worked as a practitioner and researcher in Australia, Fiji, Luxembourg, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Republic of South Africa, Solomon Islands, The Netherlands, and Vanuatu, and have overseen research projects in Belize, Dominican Republic, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Mexico, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia.


  • Deputy Lead, Water, Public Health and Environmental Engineering Research Group
  • Co-Programme Lead, MSc Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering
  • Member, Water@Leeds and Centre for Global Development

Research interests

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.

I currently have three PhD students working on exciting WASH projects:

  • Mofwe Kapulu: An assessment of the costs of shared sanitation in low income urban areas of Lusaka, Zambia  (Twitter: @MofweK)
  • Claire Rosato-ScottEmergency sanitation for children with urinary incontinence (Twitter: @Claire_RS19)
  • Mariam ZaqoutDetermining the full costs of rural faecal sludge management in Bangladesh, and proposing effective business models for sustainable collection, treatment and reuse (Twitter: @ZaqoutMariam)


  • PhD
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Environmental) with Honours
  • Bachelor of Science (Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry)

Student education

Dani is Co-Programme Lead of, and teaches on several of the units that make up, the MSc(Eng) in Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering. She also supervises several undergraduate and postgraduate research students.

Research groups and institutes

  • Cities and Infrastructure
  • Water, Public Health and Environmental Engineering

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>