Center for Biology and Society Graduate Student Theresa Marie (Tracie) Lorenzo is spending some time in the Philippines, her home country, to conduct fieldwork research for her dissertation. Supported by the ASU Global Development Research program, she will spend a total of eight months abroad and collaborate with researchers from the Environment Monitoring Laboratory of the University of the Philippines. Tracie’s research focuses on analyzing water security and development in Philippine municipalities as well as exploring what measures can be taken to address challenges related to these factors. The Philippines is a developing country in Southeast Asia that is one of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. To add on to this, the Philippines is also experiencing high population and urbanization growth rates, along with a shift in economy from agriculture to either services or industry. As she is currently in the first few months of her stay in the Philippines, she is gathering background data in order to first describe patterns of the occurrence of these factors across the country, as well as analyze different ways in which these factors can interact and their implication for the water security of municipalities.
One of her priorities during her fieldwork is interaction and collaboration with Filipinos involved in water management in a variety of ways. The active participation of different types of stakeholders involved on the ground in water management, such as municipal officials, water service provider managers, NGOs, and members of the academia, will be a crucial part of her research. During her fieldwork, she will request data from these stakeholders as well as recruit them as participants in interviews and workshops to be held in different municipalities case study. These interviews and workshops will focus on the participants’ input regarding the drivers of water security in their municipality, the implications of these, and feasible solutions to address water security challenges. While recruiting participants, Tracie will first consult with them and discuss together the potential benefits that they as participants could receive from the study. She will in turn share the results of her analysis to all interested participants. Her collaboration with the University of the Philippines will provide her with opportunities to connect with other Filipino researchers and members of the academia also working on issues related to water security and development. She hopes to participate in events such as workshops that could build stronger ties with other interdisciplinary researchers and also expand her knowledge of other current research related to her research interests.
Although there is a lot of work for Tracie ahead, she is excited to dig her heels in and looks forward to sharing her experiences in the field with fellow members of the Center of Biology and Society upon her return next year.
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