My research focuses on highlighting the significance of integrating social science research and practice for the improvement of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) delivery and services across Africa, with particular emphasis on Menstrual Health Management (MHM) to contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals in East Africa.
I am currently involved in several different research projects in different East African countries with focus on Tanzania and Kenya.
I am involved in the co-coordination of SUSTAIN – Sustainable Sanitation in Theory and Action program (2015-2020), in partnership with the Department of Water Resources Engineering at University of Dar es Salaam aimed at strengthening post-graduate training in integrated sanitation management with both MSc and PhD training. It is the first PhD program focused on sanitation in Tanzania. Using sustainability science as a way to critically analyze the complexity of the sanitation crises in Tanzania SUSTAIN attempts to generate actionable knowledge to contribute to sustainable sanitation access and service delivery, taking into account both the environmental aspects inherent in the water and waste cycle and the differing societal values and political interests of service and resource users.
I am also studying the impact of improved access and use of sustainable menstrual products on women’s every day lives. In cooperation with the Tanzanian National Medical Research Institute and the NGO Femme International the study examines the differences in prevalence of menstrual ill-health between menstrual cup and non-menstrual cup users, how menstrual health management conditions and practices affect women’s income-generating opportunities, and the challenges and differences in menstrual waste volume, disposal, and management between MC and non-MC users at home and work.
Together with researchers from Stockholm Environment Insititute I examine whether or not gender empowerment in the water sector can be measured using a Empowerment Water Index´(EWI). Departing from feminist political ecology theory the project aims at developing and testing the EWI tool in an informal settlement of Nairobi, with the aim of informing and measuring specific targets included in Sustainable Development Goal # 6 – Water and Sanitation for All.
I am also involved in the capacity building program ‘Land is Life’ aimed to build capacities and skills to strengthen the operational understanding of the synergies and trade-offs associated with SDG 15 – Life on Land among civil servants from Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Uganda, Malawi and Zambia.
I have a BA from University of Victoria, Canada in Anthropology and Environmental Studies, a Diploma in South Asian Studies, a MSc. in International Environmental Science and a PhD in Sustainability Science from Lund University, Sweden.
My doctoral thesis,Uncertain futures – Adaptive capacities to climate variability and change in the lake Victoria Basin (2012) focused on smallholder farmers in the Lake Victoria Basin and their adaptive capacities to climate variability and change. My research highlighted the efforts made by communities themselves, and particularly the more marginalized segments of these communities, to deal with global environmental changes through collective action.
In 2016 I became a Associate senior lecturer in sustainability science at Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies.
I am a course coordinator, teacher and thesis supervisor at LUMES – Lund University Master’s Program in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science. In the LUMES programme I convene the LUMES elective course on Sustainability and Global Health. The course provides global perspectives and local examples of the connections between development, environment and health by highlighting four key emerging and persistent global health challenges;
- the unavoidable health impacts of climate change,
- the prevailing sanitation crises,
- the global dietary paradox,
- the health externalities of global manufacturing and use of electronics.
Displaying of publications. Sorted by year, then title.
Sara Gabrielsson is an Associate senior lecturer in Sustainability science at Lund University. Sara’s primary research focus is on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and sustainable development in Africa. Sara’s vision isto facilitate the interaction between academia and sanitation practitioners to enable the spread of sustainable WASH from theory to action.
Impact and communication
Policy brief: Toward Sustainable Menstrual Health Managemant in Tanzania (PDF)
Menskopp bidrar till bättre skolgång för tjejer i Tanzania, Sveriges radio, 2018
Menskopp hjälper unga kvinnor i Tanzania få en bättre skolgång, SVT nyheter, 2018
Kära världen, låt oss prata mera om mens!, Debattartikel i Dagens Arena, 2018
Menstrual cups could help girls attend school in Tanzania, Lunduniversity.lu.se, 2018
"Breaking the Silence" - A film about the challenges with Menstrual Health Management in rural Tanzania