The scholarship provides a generous monthly stipend and funds towards travel and fieldwork opportunities.
Francesco, who was one of only 32 recipients in Australia of the scholarship and the only recipient from Monash University, will conduct six months fieldwork in India and Bangladesh, mentored by a lead researcher from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, and in partnership with WaterAid and WorldVision.
His focus will be on how organisations can deliver urban water development programs that empower the marginalised and provide them with avenues to get out of poverty. Gender, for example, can play a large part in access to water in the developing world. Collection time can severely decrease the educational opportunities available to women, as well as their ability to engage in paid work or start small businesses. Francesco’s research seeks to find avenues to ensure that urban water development programs develop such capabilities.
His main goal at the end is to create a diagnostic tool, a Water Capabilities Framework that will support governments, international development agencies, and community based organisations to deliver transformative urban water development programs.
Francesco said he felt privileged to be one of the recipients of the Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarships.
“Thanks to this very generous scholarship from the Australian Government I’m going to be able to conduct research that I hope will have a positive impact on the lives of some of the poorest urban populations in the world, gain professional research and field experience overseas, and benefit from the knowledge and experience of local researchers and practitioners in India and Bangladesh. The Scholarship also provides financial support to undertake an internship after my fieldwork, which is an incredible opportunity to gain professional experience with a relevant organisation and expand my networks.”
Francesco was also the winner of a $1000 travel prize at the 2nd Water Sensitive Cities Conference last year, for a poster presentation on how his research aims to understand the problems facing women in developing countries collecting water, and will help improve water governance.
He will also present a paper at the International Sustainable Development Research Society’s 22nd annual conference in July in Lisbon, Portugal.
The Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship, offered by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, provides up to two years financial support for long-term study/research towards an Australian Masters or PhD.