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Safe Water Optimization Tool Launch

November 25 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Join us for the Virtual Launch of the Safe Water Optimization Tool (SWOT), a new data analytics platform from the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research and Médecins sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors Without Borders). The SWOT helps aid workers ensure water safety during humanitarian emergencies.

Dr. Syed Imran Ali, Dahdaleh Institute Fellow and SWOT Lead, will present the story of the SWOT – from its origins during a major waterborne disease outbreak in refugee camps in South Sudan, to the latest machine learning and numerical modelling research, to field implementations of the new technology in Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Tanzania. The presentation will be followed by a panel Q&A session with members of the SWOT development team. We are honoured to have opening remarks from York University President Dr. Rhonda Lenton and DIGHR Director Dr. James Orbinski.

SWOT Dev Team Panelists:

Prof. Usman Khan - Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering, Lassonde School of Engineering, York University; SWOT Machine Learning Lead

Dr. Usman Khan is an Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering at the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University. His research interests lie in Water Resources Engineering focusing on urban hydrology, sustainable water resource management and infrastructure, and the impacts of climate change on these systems. His research interests also include designing new big-data based techniques to improve water quality and quantity analysis in urban areas.

Jean-François Fesselet - Water and Sanitation Unit Coordinator, Public Health Department, Médecins sans Frontières (Operational Centre Amsterdam); SWOT MSF Coordinator

Jean-François is a Public Health Engineer with 25 years’ experience in the humanitarian sector, mainly with MSF. Jean-François spent several years in the field in various positions and countries, and later moved to HQ in an advisory role. Jean-François now coordinates the Water and Sanitation Unit within the Public Health Department of MSF in Amsterdam and leads the water and sanitation research and innovation portfolio.

Mike Spendlove - Director of Engineering, Checkout 51; SWOT Technology Advisor

Mike Spendlove is an experienced Director and tech leader with several years in agile software development, start-ups, and go-to-market strategy. Mike is passionate about building strong engineering teams, people and culture, and the power of technology to benefit humanity.

Matt Arnold - SWOT Technical Advisor & Field Lead

Matt has worked as a Technical Advisor at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research since June 2018. Prior to DIGHR, Matt was a Water and Sanitation Advisor at Médecins Sans Frontières HQ in Amsterdam and has worked with MSF as field staff since 2003. With a Masters in Hydrogeology and a keen interest in Public Health, Matt is focused on how we can improve water quality and public health in humanitarian responses.

Syed Imran Ali - SWOT Lead & Dahdaleh Institute Research FellowDr.

Syed Imran Ali is an aid worker and academic focused on humanitarian challenges at the intersection of environment and public health. He has worked in emergency responses and led operational research with Médecins Sans Frontières and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in South Sudan, Pakistan, Jordan, Rwanda, and Uganda. Dr. Ali has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Development Impact Lab. Dr. Ali received his doctorate in environmental engineering from the University of Guelph and his bachelors in engineering from Queen’s University.

To learn more about the SWOT, please visit

To join us in this celebration and knowledge sharing event, register below.


Registration has been closed. You can tun in to the event being live streamed here: