Mapping WASH and COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa (2020-2021)

This project team examined how different communities and humanitarian actors in conflict-affected countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are responding to the pandemic. While many nations across the MENA were swift in their initial response to the pandemic, with the emergence of new waves, it became clear that preexisting vulnerabilities and inequities would heighten the impact of the lingering health crisis and create new challenges.

To examine the diverse impacts of COVID-19 across the MENA with a particular focus on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), team members discussed emerging literature and news coverage to understand the pandemic’s effects on the region. This research culminated in individual country profiles on Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Palestine and Yemen, which present systematic information on domestic government responses to COVID-19 through the end of 2020 and spotlight research on underreported topics, such as the implications of tech-enabled solutions, medical brain drain in Egypt and supply-chain problems across the MENA.

Team members also conducted deep dives as small groups into topics such as the impact of COVID-19 on humanitarian organizations in Yemen, the domestic implications of international sanctions in Iran, comparisons of the vaccine rollouts cross-nationally and changes in international monetary aid. 

Two of these projects, which make use of rich narratives, interviews and surveys, extended into Summer 2021. One, led by Sama Elmahdy and Hadeel Hamoud, mapped the WASH infrastructure in Egypt and Sudan with support from a Bass Connections Student Research Award. The other, headed by Nora Benmamoun and Samantha Wind, compared humanitarian organizations within Yemen and how they have adapted to changing circumstances.


Fall 2020 – Spring 2021

Team Outputs

Impacts of COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa

Project team website

This Team in the News

Examining Access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Egypt and Sudan

Meet the Members of the 2021-2022 Bass Connections Student Advisory Council

Meet the Winners of the 2021 Bass Connections Student Research Awards

Meet the Students Who Won the 2021 DUCIGS Awards


Team Leaders

  • Ekta Patel, Nicholas School of the Environment–Environmental Sciences and Policy–Ph.D. Student
  • Erika Weinthal, Nicholas School of the Environment-Environmental Sciences and Policy

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Ahmad Amireh, Biology (BS)
  • Nora Benmamoun, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Sama Elmahdy, Psychology (BS)
  • Mihret Gebru, Int Comparative Studies (AB)
  • Hadeel Hamoud, Political Science (AB)
  • Parmida Jamshidi, Biology (BS)
  • Samantha Wind, Civil Engineering (BSE)
  • Miranda Wolford, Int Comparative Studies (AB)