January 2024 – A new way to think about and measure water insecurity: The Water Insecurity Experiences Scales

Our first webinar of 2024 took place on Friday, January 19 at 10.00-11.30 AM EST. Our excellent speakers, Sera Young (Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, USA) and Pablo Paras (Data OPM, Mexico) talked about “A new way to think about and measure water insecurity: The Water Insecurity Experiences Scales“. Chase Harrison (Harvard University, USA), Chair of WAPOR Education Committee, moderated the discussion.

A new way to think about and measure water insecurity: The Water Insecurity Experiences Scales 

Problems with water are increasing in frequency and severity throughout the world but many of these problems remain invisible. This is because human experiences with issues with water access, use, and reliability have not been quantified. To fill this gap, Sera Young led a large team to develop the Water InSecurity Experiences (WISE) Scales (www.WISEscales.org), the first cross-country equivalent way of measuring human experiences with water. Because the WISE Scales are short (3 minutes) to administer as well as more holistic and precise than standard water indicators, they have been used to generate multi-sectoral insights in more than 50 countries, including for estimating the prevalence of water insecurity, making decisions about targeting resources, understanding previously unrecognized causes poor health and nutrition outcomes, and evaluating the impact of water interventions. Pablo Paras will comment on the application in Mexico, and inspire the global opinión research community

Sera Young 

Sera Young is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Global Health at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. She has dedicated her career to understanding how women, especially in low-resource settings, cope to preserve their health and that of their families. Professor Young’s current research is focused on quantifying human experiences with problems with water, and unpacking their consequences for nutrition, health, and well-being (www.WISEscales.org). She has co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications and been funded by the NIH, NSF, USAID;  awards include the Margaret Mead Award for her book Craving Earth, an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, and a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship.

Pablo Paras

Pablo Parás García is President and founder of Data OPM, a private full-service public opinion research firm in Mexico established in 2003. In 2016 he served as Chief Political Advisor at the Mexican embassy in Washington D.C. He was Director of the Center for Public Opinion Research (CEOP) and Associate Director at MORI Mexico from 1997 to 2003. He has been producing and analyzing market and public opinion data in Mexico and Latin America since 1990 and has directed more than 200 surveys in the area of market research, consumer behavior, product testing, public policy, electoral behavior, government, social and human capital, public safety, corruption, values research and philanthropy. He was the representative in Mexico of the World Association for Public Opinion Research for ten years. He is current/ former president of the board of three non-for-profit organizations in Queretaro and Guanajauto. He is co-founder of Biomaya, an ecotourism company located in Quintana Roo. He is author of several academic articles and chapters in edited volumes on the following topics: public opinion, social capital, public safety, corruption, food safety, philanthropy and political culture.