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The Water Institute at UNC

Team training and event launch

The Water Institute at UNC informs the world about water, sanitation and hygiene and generates evidence that drives improvements in both practice and policy.

They decided to hold their ‘Water & Health: Science, Policy and Practice’ Conference virtually and due to our success running virtual events and experience working with similar institutions, we were chosen to both manage the conference and train their team.







The event needed to be as successful and impactful as when held in-person. This meant facilitating attendance and communicating the key benefits of a virtual conference. We also designed the event to make subscription and attendance seamless for participants.

The challenge of moving to a virtual format became an opportunity to engage a broader base of attendees and speakers including institutions in low-income countries and stakeholders from Africa, Asia and Latin America. A virtual conference allows for lower ticket prices and reduces associated travel costs. This made the event accessible and improved audience diversity. 

Our work in action

Our Approach

A fully customisable platform was chosen to host the event with sessions run through Zoom. This created a conference experience similar to the previous in-person events.

To both gain awareness and secure attendance, Island Innovation ran an engaging social media campaign alongside targeted event emails. Live support and training were provided to ensure smooth running of the event. 

We designed and built landing pages for the event and provided live event support including technical backup and troubleshooting

Post-event we analysed the data from each session and produced a full event report which demonstrated the success of the 2020 Water & Health Conference and made suggestions for developments for the following year. 

What’s next for the UNC Water & Health Conference?

Before the UNC Water & Health 2020 conference, the Water Institute team had viewed the switch to a virtual event as an inconvenient necessity. Following the success of the event, including the large number of attendees and the positive feedback, switching to a virtual event has highlighted many benefits.  

There will always be a place for in-person events. However, our team believe there will be a stronger demand for online and hybrid events in the future. This would benefit UNC in maintaining and building the event’s global audience in terms of inclusivity for institutions, speakers and attendees from low-income countries.

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