Mimi Jenkins

Mimi Jenkins PhD

Honorary Lecturer


Mimi Jenkins jointed DCVBU as a Lecturer in Sanitation for 2003-2004 moving across the Atlantic from her position as a Professional Research Engineer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California Davis. She has worked closely with Val Curtis, Sandy Cairncross, and other members of the Hygiene Centre and Environmental Health Group and continues to do so.

She has over 18 years of combined research, professional, and consulting experience in rural water supply, sanitation, and public health engineering in developing countries, including Chad, Congo, Madagascar, Ghana, Benin, Tanzania, Malawi, Kenya and Bangladesh.

In 1991, Mimi acquired her MS in water resources and environmental engineering from the University of California, Davis, following four years as a public health engineer responsible for rural water supply and sanitation development in the Congo and Chad. Before returning for her PhD which she received from UC Davis in 1999, she gained experience in epidemiological surveillance, health and hygiene promotion, operational research, and community water supply development while working for Unicef in Benin as the Water and Environmental Sanitation Project Officer responsible for the National Guinea Worm Eradication Programme.

Under the guidance of Sandy Cairncross and faculty at UC Davis, she conducted her PhD research in 1995-1996 in Benin on understanding and modeling household sanitation choices and the determinants of changes in sanitation behaviour with a goal to assess the drivers of new demand for sanitation and the potential of a marketing approach to sanitation promotion. This work proved fundamental in shaping the direction and momentum for current work at the Hygiene Centre in sanitation marketing and promotion in developing countries.

Her research work at UC Davis involves the development and application of systems analysis and operations research methods, and economic-engineering modeling tools, to integrated water resources planning, management and policy problems in California and Kenya.

Teaching & Research


In the past, Mimi has lectured for the Tropical Environmental Health, Designing Disease Control Programmes, and Diploma in Tropical Nursing courses. She advises MSc summer project students and Phd students conducting research on sanitation and water supply in developing countries


Mimi’s research interests focus on understanding and modeling household sanitation adoption behaviour and decision-making, drawing on theory, concepts, and methods from the fields of consumer science and marketing, psychology, anthropology, diffusion of innovations, and travel behaviour. She has led development of qualitative and quantitative tools to understand and measure demand for sanitation products and services and the motivations and barriers of adopting improved sanitation in Africa, with particular interest in the design and evaluation of marketing and other strategies to increase access to improved sanitation.

Her 8 years + experience in Africa assessing sanitation and hygiene-related behaviour change and conducting research for strategic planning and design of market-based promotion since 1994 include work in Benin and leading the design, analysis, and interpretation of market research leading to a small towns sanitation marketing strategy for Ghana (DFID KAR project on social marketing for urban sanitation in Africa), advising WaterAid on a framework and tools for cross-country research on sustainable sanitation (2004-2005), supervising PhD research on determinants of sustainable sanitation in rural Tanzania (on-going), and evaluating WaterAid’s sanitation and hygiene promotion projects in Madagascar (2001), among others.

She also works on research that develops and applies decision-support systems and integrated economic-engineering models to address integrated water resources planning and management problems in California and in Kenya, including climate adaptation and improved access to water supply and sanitation at the local watershed scale.


Jenkins, M.W. and S. Sugden (2006) “Rethinking Sanitation – Lessons and Innovation for Sustainability and Success in the New Millennium” Sanitation Thematic Background Paper commissioned by the UNDP for the Human Development Report 2006. January 2006.

Jenkins, M.W., and V. Curtis (2005) “Achieving the ‘good life’: Why some people want latrines in rural Benin.” Social Science and Medicine, 61, 2446-2459.

Jenkins, M.W. (2004) “Who Buys Latrines, Where and Why?” Field Note, Sanitation & Hygiene Series, Water and Sanitation Programme – Africa. The World Bank, Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 2004.

Obika, A., Jenkins, M., Budds, J., Curtis, V. and Howard, G. (2002) “Social marketing for urban sanitation: Review of evidence and inception report.” DFID KAR Contract No. R7819, WEDC, Loughborough.

Jenkins, M.W. (1999) “Using GIS to Understand Latrine Adoption Behaviour and Promote Improved Sanitation in Developing Countries.” (abs.) Infectious Disease Review, Vol.1 (Suppl): Proceedings First Int’l Health Geographics Conference, Baltimore, MD, October 16-18, 1998.

Tanaka, S.K., T. Zhu, J.R. Lund, R.E. Howitt, M.W. Jenkins, et al. (in press) “Climate Warming and Water Management Adaptation for California.” Climatic Change.

Zhu, T., M.W. Jenkins &J.R. Lund (2005) "Estimated Impacts of Climate Warming on CaliforniaWater Availability under Twelve Future Climate Scenarios,” J. AWRA, 41(5), 1027-1038.

Lelo, F.K., W. Chiuri, M.W. Jenkins (2005) “Managing the River Njoro Watershed, Kenya: Conflicting Laws, Policies and Community Priorities.” In African Water Laws: Plural Legislative Frameworks for Rural Water Management (Eds. B. van Koppen, J.A. Butterworth and I.J. Juma). IWMI, Pretoria, South Africa.

Jenkins, M.W., G.F. Marques, F.K. Lelo, & S.N. Miller (2005). “WEAP as a Participatory Tool for Shared Vision Planning in the River Njoro Watershed.” Proceedings ASCE Water & Environmental Resources Congress, May 15-19, 2005, Anchorage, Alaska. ASCE, Arlington, VA.

Jenkins, M.W., F.K. Lelo, L. W. Chiuri, W. A. Shivoga, & S.N. Miller (2004) “Community perceptions and priorities for managing water and environmental resources in the River Njoro Watershed in Kenya.” Proceedings ASCE Water Resources Conference. Jun 27-Jul 1, 2004, Salt Lake City, UT.ASCE, Arlington, VA.

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