Nupur Joshi

Ph.D. Candidate

Graduate Research Assistant

I am Nupur Joshi, a human-environment geographer studying with Dr. Tom Evans in the School of Geography, Development and Environment. I have a minor in Epidemiology from the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

I conduct research in slum settlements in Nairobi – in Kenya, where 97% of residents do not have water connection in their homes. I examine interactions between municipal water governance, informal water vendors – locally called ‘water cartels’ to understand water insecurity in the settlements. Using participatory methods, I do fieldwork with women, non-profit groups, Nairobi county government officials and the cartels themselves to understand the improvised water networks, and their impacts on household water insecurity. My work informs the design, implementation and evaluation of water infrastructure projects in slums in developing countries under UN Sustainable Development Goals and WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program.

Prior to joining the PhD program, I worked as a research associate at J-PAL. I monitored and implemented Randomized Controlled Trails (RCT) in Madhya Pradesh, India. The experimental study analyzed the effects of financial incentives in increasing detection rates for tuberculosis (TB). I also served as a facilitator for collaborations and mediations with state and district officials to identify goals for health policy implementation in India.

Current Projects

Geographies of Informal Water Supply, Municipal Governance and Household Water Security in Nairobi’s Slum Settlements

Based on interviews, household survey data and spatial mapping, I am currently writing journal articles on relationships between housing security, COVID-19 lockdowns and water insecurity in Nairobi. Engaging with stakeholders from Nairobi City County, Slum Dwellers International (SDI), this research will inform Nairobi County’s Special Planning Area (SPA) Integrated Development Plans.

Research on COVID-19 Interventions and Impacts (ReCON)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a wide range of societal impacts. Along with an interdisciplinary team of researchers, I am working on understanding -- (1) how governments have responded to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through policies that seek to modify behavior and limit person-to-person transmission (2) changes in food security of US households as a result of economic and other hardships caused by the pandemic, either directly or indirectly. To know more about the project, visit our website.

Examining How Stakeholder Engagement Affects the Co-production of Science and Policy

I am analyzing data and writing a research paper with Dr. Andrea Gerlak and other graduate students on stakeholder engagement. I am working on coding different income and regional categories – low income, middle income, global south and global north, used in stakeholder engagement projects across the world.

University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) -- Elders for Sustainability

As a UC3 fellow, I am collaborating with local community members, city government, and non-government organizations to plan environment sustainability and climate change awareness programs. The aim of the project is to break institutional boundaries and lead multilevel engagements in local sustainability projects.


Joshi, N. (2018). Low-income women’s right to sanitation services in city public spaces: A study of waste picker women in Pune. Environment and Urbanization30(1), 249-264.

In Review

Joshi, N., A. Gerlak, C. Hannah, S. Lopus & T. Evans. “Housing tenure and water insecurity in slum settlements in Nairobi.” World Development

Hannah, C., E. Baldwin, A. Fluckiger, G. Silva Santa Rosa Macedo, N. Joshi, L. McCann, A. Zimmer, Z. Guido & T. Evans. “Decentralization of water governance in Africa.” Global Environmental Change


The Story of H2O: Informal Water Provision in Nairobi’s Low-income Settlements. Article published on the Southern Oscillations Blog of the Climate Assessment for the Southwest.

Hybrid Waters: Informal water provision, municipal governance, and household water security in Nairobi’s informal settlements. Report published for Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS).

Selected Awards and Grants

2020    Stakeholder Engagement Award, Environment and Society Fellowship Program, Climate Assessment for the Southwest, University of Arizona (UA)

2019    PEO International Peace Award

2019    Environment and Society Fellowship, CLIMAS Climate Assessment for the Southwest, UA

2018    Carson Fellowship, Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, UA

2018    Julie Reitan Scholarship in Kiswahili, Critical Languages Program, UA

2016    Outstanding Masters’ Thesis Research Award, Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar