Featured User (7) in October 2014 is Jonathan Parkinson from the UK!
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TOPIC: Featured User (7) in October 2014 is Jonathan Parkinson from the UK!

Featured User (7) in October 2014 is Jonathan Parkinson from the UK! 12 Oct 2014 20:55 #10485

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    muench
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Dear all,

We take pleasure in announcing the next featured user: Jonathan Parkinson from the United Kingdom.

This is a continuation of our featured users series, where we have so far introduced Kris, Doreen, Florian, Mughal, Chris and Ina (see here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/145-featured-users).

Here's a link to Jonathan's profile and posts.
forum.susana.org/forum/profile/userid-1009

A photo of Jonathan hard at work in his typical unorthodox working style:

IMG_20141001_162756743.jpg


Jonathan comes from the city Bristol in United Kingdom (see map below to find out where this city is).

bristol.png


Jonathan joined the SuSanA forum in August 2011, shortly after its launch, and has been active ever since. His posts revolve mainly around urban sanitation, finance and economics, sanitation systems and faecal sludge management.

He has been leading SuSanA's Working Group 2 on Finance and Economics for 3 or 4 years now, and uses the discussion forum to encourage debates on topics which are relevant to this working group: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/55-wg-2-finance-economics .
This is a commendable effort from Jonathan and is fruitful for the working group members and the discussion forum.

Jonathan has not only provided information on several topics but has kept the forum lively by initiating discussions and giving valuable suggestions to many users and the secretariat. He starts new threads regularly and also replies to existing threads to tickle more information out of people who are describing their projects, e.g. for this project on faecal sludge management in Dakar, Senegal:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/97-ena...12&start=12#9349

He has made 132 post until now which currently ranks him in 12th position in terms of number of posts. The 14 karma points he has received so far have pushed him to 5th position, and he has also received 37 likes for his posts (if you like forum user statistics, see here and here).

We thank Jonathan for his impressive, high quality contributions to this forum on a range of topics and look forward to hearing more from him in the coming months and years! Congratulations for being selected as this month's Featured User - much deserved!

In the following days we will post an interview we did with Jonathan about his background and his work (just building up some suspense here).


Posted by Elisabeth von Muench and Shobana Srinivasan (intern) for the SuSanA secretariat
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Community manager of this forum via SEI
(see: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects?search=SEI)
Wikipedian, co-founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation

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Last Edit: 15 Oct 2014 08:36 by secretariat.
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Re: Featured User in October 2014 is Jonathan Parkinson from the UK! 15 Oct 2014 11:59 #10544

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As promised in the previous post, we now bring to you the interview with Jonathan so that you can get to know our Featured User for October 2014 better:

Part 1: About Jonathan as a person and his work

You registered with SuSanA in Aug 2011 which is one month after the forum started. What made you register then?

For the same reason as I would encourage anyone to register now. SuSanA is THE most active and international discussion forum and network for exchange of ideas and information about all aspects of sanitation.

What is your nationality, where are you living right now and where have you lived previously?

I am a British citizen and I grew up on the west country in the city of Bristol. I am currently living in Epsom (which is about 30 minutes on the train from London). At Imperial College, whilst studying for my PhD, I met my wife (Dr. Luiza Campos who is now at University College London) and I moved to Brazil where I lived for the best part of 4 years. I have travelled extensively but this was the only time in my life when I have actually lived overseas.

Where and what did you study, and why?

I initially studied for my B.Eng undergraduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the north of England. When I applied for the course I was more interested in environmental health issues, but as I progressed during my studies I became more interested in public health. After 2 years of work experience, I returned to Newcastle to specialize in environmental engineering and completed my MSc.

A few years later, I met Dr. David Butler from Imperial College (now Professor at University of Exeter) whilst working as a research assistant on a project looking at impacts of flooding on slum communities in Indore, India. This project was led by Dr. Peter Kolsky from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (now at University of North Carolina).
I subsequently was asked my Professor Butler if I’d be interested to do a PhD with him at Imperial College in London. Although I maintained a strong interest in overseas development, my PhD involved computer modelling of urban drainage systems in the UK to assess the implications of rainwater harvesting, greywater reuse and other types of sustainable urban drainage (SUDS) on the operation of existing combined wastewater systems.

What were your main employers, work locations or career milestones?

After my studies, I worked for four years in London with the consulting firm GHK International in the department of Research and Training section, working predominantly on projects in South Asia. Working with economists, urban planners and social scientists on projects such as Faisalabad Area Upgrading Programme in Pakistan broadened my understanding of international development issues.

I have also worked for the consulting company Hydrophil in Vienna, Austria and then for Atkins in the UK after returning to the UK from Brazil, where I had a visiting researcher position at the Federal University of Goias. Probably the most significant experience I had whilst working for Atkins was the auditing work I did with the water company, South West Water. This gave me good insight into how water companies in the UK provide waste water services to their customers and the mechanisms for regulation.

I left consulting for a few years when I was offered a job with the International Water Association (IWA). It is through the position I had at IWA leading on the “Urban Sanitation Initiative” that I got to know many of you in the SuSanA network and I am currently doing my best to provide some leadership to Working Group 2 on Finance and Economics.

Seen below is a picture of Jonathan in Bangalore, India taken by Vishwanath who took Jonathan to see an entrepeneur who builds faecal sludge desludging trucks:

IMG_20140731_182740313_HDRsmaller.jpg



Where do you work now and what does your organization do? How is it funded?

Right now, I am working as an independent consultant and my clients include the Ministry of Local Government and Housing in Zambia (under contract from German GIZ), the German NGO BORDA (on a project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation BMGF in Bangalore), and the Irish NGO GOAL who have been supporting Freetown City Council in Sierra Leone to develop a proposal to BMGF.

But by the time your read this, I will have commenced a full time contract for 1 year with Oxfam-GB where I will have the position of Senior WASH Programme Development Strategist. This is an exciting opportunity for me as it has a wider focus and is essentially about developing a new strategy for Oxfam to work with governmental partners to strengthen resilience and mitigate risks with the aim to reduce the impacts of disasters and the need for so extensive humanitarian relief. Oxfam is funded from multiple sources. Please see: www.oxfam.org.uk/what-we-do/about-us/pla...-report-and-accounts


One of Jonathan's favourite pictures - from Khulna, Bangladesh showing wastewater of different quality taken from different stages in a wastewater treatment plant:

100-0035_IMG.JPG


Part 2 and 3 of the interview will follow in the next few days.

If you have a message for Jonathan or would like to point out which of his discussion posts you found really helpful, please feel free to make a post in this thread.

Regards,
Shobana and Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Community manager of this forum via SEI
(see: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects?search=SEI)
Wikipedian, co-founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation

Location: Frankfurt, Germany
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Twitter: @EvMuench, website: www.ostella.de
Last Edit: 20 Oct 2014 09:40 by secretariat.
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Interview Part 2 17 Oct 2014 12:21 #10579

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Here's more on Jonathan...

Interview Part 2: Jonathan's views on sanitation issues and his general interests

What would you recommend to youngsters from countries in the global North who want to get involved in development work – how should they go about it? And does it even make sense?


Yes – it definitely makes sense, although when you get a bit older you sometimes wonder because it doesn’t fit in well with family life. My kids for example have already said that they don’t want to do what I am doing as they see me working so hard all the time and frequently going away and leaving them. But if you are passionate about the work, then the drive to be involved in overseas development helps keep you going.

I increasingly realize that helping “youngsters” is just as important as trying to do everything myself. This is something that I have always enjoyed and aspired to do – mainly through helping students with their MSc projects. I’d rather refer to “youngsters” as “junior experts” because I find many are so perceptive about complex issues and I often learn just as much from them as they do from me. I also recognize how much the “foot ups” that I was offered when I was younger helped to give me the experience that has helped me get to where I am today. And I am grateful to senior colleagues for this.

With respect to getting the overseas experience, my advice is normally just to get out there and you will probably secure work in country. This is I believe easier than trying to get an international organization or company to send you overseas when you don’t have such extensive experience on your CV. But it does depend – for example, Germany seems to have an excellent internship programme which gives “junior experts” some fantastic opportunities to be based in GIZ Programme offices. I wish I had had this sort of opportunity when I was younger.


What do you see as the biggest threats and the biggest opportunities for developing countries in future in terms of sanitation and public health issues)?

There are a whole range of threats at present and unfortunately few of these are likely to go away. The increasing number of conflicts in the world is very regressive for socio-economic development as it destroys physical and institutional infrastructure and takes a long time of post-conflict resolution and reconstruction for WASH issues to become more embedded into development policy after long periods of emergency relief activity. Similarly, natural disasters – many attributed to climatic changes – also have a detrimental impact on efforts to improve sanitation services. I envisage that these will be important aspects of the work that I will be doing with OXFAM.
But there are opportunities too. The biggest ones seem to arise when there is strong political leadership and a pronouncement that there is a need for the country to step up to address sanitation related problems. It will for instance be interesting to see if President Modi’s “Clean India” campaign will result in sufficient traction to bring about a significant and long-term shift in sanitation and wastewater management practices in India. I sincerely hope it does.

The photo below shows Jonathan along with Dr. Priti Parikh (University College London) visiting CDD-BORDA's pilot faecal sludge treatment plant at Kengeri Satellite Town, Bangalore which is a part of BMGF funded project "Strengthening the Operation and Maintenance Sector for Servicing Decentralized Urban Sanitation Infrastructure in Karnataka, India"

IMG_20141002_122837563smaller.jpg


For more information on this project please see the link below:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/97-ena...-a-cdd-society-india


What three things would you take to a remote island? Or what are the three “things” that are really important for you in practical terms?

Assuming that the water on the island is not polluted and there is plenty of space to dig a pit latrine, I’d take the following items:
1) Gerber 31-000699 Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter
2) A durable tent/shelter
3) Waterproof poncho
As you can see I am a very good scout …. in fact I am a Cub Scout Leader. That is another of my “hobbies” that I hardly have time for.


What books or magazines can be found on your bedside table?

I used to read a lot of novels but these days I have hardly time to read much for pleasure. I tend to read Guardian Weekly (www.theguardian.com/weekly) and sometimes I read a music magazine like Songlines (www.songlines.co.uk) as I am big music fan.


What are your hobbies?
  • Music – I like so many types of music and I like going to see bands play when I have the chance. It’s my way of denying to myself that I am getting older. At least when I do go and see bands I don’t feel like I am standing out as there are usually plenty of other oldies in the crowd like me!
  • DIY (Do It Yourself) – we moved to our new home in September last year and there remains a lot of work to do around the house and garden. I like the sense of achievement and satisfaction of having done some hard work which will then be useful for years to come.

Part 3 of the interview will come on Monday. Any comments or good wishes for Jonathan are welcome in this thread.

(Posted by Elisabeth and Shobana)
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Community manager of this forum via SEI
(see: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects?search=SEI)
Wikipedian, co-founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation

Location: Frankfurt, Germany
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Twitter: @EvMuench, website: www.ostella.de
Last Edit: 17 Oct 2014 12:23 by muench.
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Re: Interview Part 2 19 Oct 2014 12:16 #10593

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    F H Mughal
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  • Senior Water and Sanitation Engineer
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Featured User
Mar 2014
Dear Jonathan,

Congratulations for being the featured user. It is nice to see you as a featured user.
I requested Elisabeth to rename the caption of "Featured User," as "Hall of Fame." One would then congratulate you for being inducted in the SuSanA "Hall of Fame." In country music, they have Country Hall of Fame. In WWE (wrestling), they have Hall of Fame as well.

I like your posts. They are always interesting and informative.

Keep it up!

Regards,

F H Mughal
F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan

Re: Interview Part 3 20 Oct 2014 21:21 #10613

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    secretariat
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The following is the last part of Jonathan's interview on becoming the featured user of October, 2014.

Part 3: About Jonathan’s opinions about the forum

What is making you write on the forum - what do you expect by making posts? How have you benefited yourself from using the forum?

I think the Forum is an excellent place for people to share their ideas and experiences and stimulate discussion. Some of the most beneficial discussions arise where someone contributes a posting in which they don’t necessarily have the answer fully worked out but they want to share their thinking on the topic and request feedback. This can result in a colleague responding that they are also trying to tackle a similar issue but their approach to dealing with it is a bit different. This mutual exchange helps both parties as well as the silent majority who are reading their discussion.


Do your colleagues or people in your network also use the forum?

Many of them do but many of them don’t. The main reason is that people don’t have time.


What don’t you like about the forum or about other forum users?

To be honest, I don’t think there is anything I don’t like about the forum or other users.


If you could change something about the forum, what would it be?

Sometimes I think it would be useful to have the option to be able click on a “Thumbs down” icon to show that you are not in agreement with what someone else is saying.


What is your advice to the forum moderators?

Forum moderators do a great role in overseeing discussions and helping to prompt people like me to respond to postings and, in my role as SuSanA Working Group 2 lead on Finance and Economics, to occasionally make a new posting.


Which topics or categories on the forum do you feel most passionate about?

Faecal sludge management, financing and economic and city sanitation planning.


Do you think we should try and include more non-English content on the Forum?

I don’t see any reason why not – although perhaps users should have the option not to receive postings if they are not in a language that they can understand.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Thanks a lot, Jonathan, for spending time on this interview when you are in the middle of a job change - it has been really interesting and great to get to know you a bit better.

Does anyone have any questions or comments for Jonathan? Have any of his posts or activities as Working Group 2 lead had an impact on you or changed your view on certain topics?

And what do other people think of Mughal's suggestion to rename the caption of "Featured User" to "Hall of Fame"? "SuSanA's Hall of Fame"? Or "Sanitation Hall of Fame"?


(Posted by Shobana, SuSanA secretariat and Elisabeth)
Posted by a member of the SuSanA secretariat held by the GIZ Sustainable sanitation sector program
Located at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Eschborn, Germany
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Re: Interview Part 3 21 Oct 2014 14:36 #10626

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    JKMakowka
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  • Just call me Kris :)
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Featured User
Sep 2013
Very interesting read, especially since I met Jonathan shortly this year in Kampala.

@Mughal's suggestion: Personally I think that "featured user" sounds more down to earth and also makes more sense for show-casing users that have made interesting contributions but might not (yet) be very frequent users of this forum. Otherwise SuSanA will also run out of high-profile users soon and it would be a pity to stop doing these interesting interviews because of that.

P.S.: Standardized questions are great for this format, but maybe including one or two more specific questions for the individual featured user would make these interviews even more interesting to read.
Krischan Makowka
Microbiologist & emergency WASH specialist
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Re: Featured User in October 2014 is Jonathan Parkinson from the UK! 19 Nov 2014 09:35 #11052

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Featured User
Dec 2014
Hi Jonathan,

Congratulations for being October's featured user and thank you for your contributions to the forum which are always very nice to read.
I find it very interesting that you will work for Oxfam. I am sure that building a bridge between NGO work and sustainable sanitation professionals will be very fruitful in terms of mutual learning.
Please keep us updated on your work there !
Kind regards,

Cecile
Cécile Laborderie
MAKATI Environnement
Last Edit: 19 Nov 2014 12:37 by muench.
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