Gender Equity and Social Inclusion in WASH: lessons from the Fund

Bronwyn Powell on 26/06/2017 15:58 AEST

At this juncture, as projects come towards the end or final year of implementation, the Fund is hosting an online learning platform to capture and share project achievements and lessons and CSO approaches across these three topics. These discussions will contribute to the face-to-face Fund Learning and Reflection Event (FLARE) to be held in August 2017. Following on from the e-discussion on strengthening the enabling environment, the next e-discussion in the series considers gender and social inclusion. Hygiene behaviour change, the final topic, will be introduced next week.

Gender Equity and Social Inclusion in WASH

The CS WASH Fund has supported the engagement of CSOs to strengthen gender equity and social inclusion in access to safe and sufficient, affordable and reliable WASH services. In the lead-up to the FLARE event, we wish to deliberate on the lessons learnt by CSOs in understanding patterns of exclusion and actions in prioritising gender equity and social inclusion in access to WASH services.

Week 2 e-Discussion (26 June – 2 July 2017)

Societies allocate different roles, responsibilities and activities to different individuals whether male or female, adult or child, abled or disabled. These allocations are not necessarily only by the virtue of the capability, capacity or gender of individuals but they are also social constructs which translate to learned behaviours and general patterns that define social and economic roles. Marginalised groups suffer when these social constructs create unequal opportunities, unequal treatment and unequal entitlements.

This e-Discussion, offers an opportunity to learn from the experience of CSOs working to ensure water and sanitation rights for all. This includes addressing the various aspects of exclusion that are associated with: lower quality of access to WASH services for some; the right to participate and be heard in decision making processes; and, legal, cultural and social constructs that discriminate against certain people groups. CSOs are encouraged to share their experiences by answering:

  1. Where do the greatest inequalities in your context exist? Why do these people lack basic access to WASH?
  2. How have you worked with change agents to strengthen their awareness and ability to address exclusion? What other steps have you taken to improve gender and social inclusion in WASH?
  3. How are you measuring the impact of your GESI efforts?

Week 2

discussion is facilitated by Mark Ellery and Bronwyn Powell.

  Mark is an independent water, sanitation and local governance consultant with more than 20 years of experience in the water sector.                                                

 Bronwyn Powell's picture   Bronwyn is the Knowledge and Learning Manager of the CS WASH Fund. 


Anonymous's picture
The SELF project developed a gender and social inclusion index to assess the levels of inclusion in respect of
• Domestic roles of women and girls i.e. cooking, washing, cleaning, gardening, and taking care of children and the chronically ill;
• The favourability of WASH infrastructure, for women, children, the disabled, the elderly and the chronically ill, in respect of their physical conditions and their needs; and
• Participation in household and community level decision making in respect of WASH issues.
The Index is used to follow up and monitor progress over time, and to improve programming, to ensure that SELF achieves its GeSI commitments. The index uses a scoring approach for each of the key factors affecting GeSI in WASH, namely
• Awareness of GeSI in WASH Issues,
• Access to water,
• Sanitation facilities,
• WASH decision making, and
• Participation in trainings, domestic WASH roles, and health clubs.
The scores for each component are then weighted and combined to provide an overall GeSI score for each of the 27 small urban centres where the SELF project operates. These scores are then monitored over time to assess levels of GeSI as the project progresses.
Anonymous's picture
that sounds like a great tool Erica, can you share it?
Anonymous's picture
Thanks Erica to share a good things. I thing its kind of impact assessment tools. Would be appreciated if you share details. However, I am also interested to know about the approaches and tools that you used or using in your project. As such, in building awareness of GeSI in WASH issues and how did you incorporate GeSI in terms of access to water and sanitation facilities. We are also working on GeSI for our CDI 2 WASH project in Bangladesh. I will let you know details about our CDI 2 WASH project in my next comment. Thanks and regards.
Bronwyn Powell's picture
Erica has kindly shared the Welthungerhilfe SELF project GESI tool she describes - you can download it here:
Anonymous's picture
the project ability to address all the issues emerging from the scores is commended
Mark_Ellery's picture
I also really like the idea presented by Erica of establishing a compiled GESI score which is monitored for each area as a project progresses. My sense is that this might help to balance any negative consequences that may be associated with improved WASH infrastructure (i.e. increasing the burden for women transporting water for improved sanitation, hand washing and menstrual hygiene facilities).

Do CSOs have other practical examples of how they manage these kind of risks?
Andrew_Jalanski's picture
Dear All, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, the prevalence of persons with a disability people with disabilities is higher than in other provinces of Sri Lanka due to war related injuries and a lack of development in this province because of the 30 year long civil war which ended in 2009. WASH services are generally unsuitable to people with disabilities as there are no policies or standards or “will” to adapt services to people with disabilities. Some people with disabilities rely on family members to collect their water and assistance to go to the toilet and bathe, causing dependence and lack of self-esteem. Due to their disability and lack of safe places they often feel ashamed to leave their house and mix with community, whereas the mobility impaired often cannot leave home due to lack of mobility devices.

Through our partnership with CBM and the Northern Peoples Consortium of Differently Abled (NPCODA), we are building the capacity of our change agents - DPOs, Provincial, District and Local Governments, schools and CBOs by providing disability inclusion and advocacy training, mentoring and the resources to carry out assessments, build a database on the number of people with disabilities, raise awareness on human rights of people with disabilities, including people with disabilities as members of committees and construction of universally accessible toilets in markets, school and households.
Biplob Kanti Mondal's picture
Greetings from Bangladesh.
While implementing activities under CDI2WASH Program, Gender and social inclusion issues have been given special focus to reach marginalized and empowering women through service delivery. The following major initiatives were taken:
1. Construction of universally accessible school toilet blocks separate for both boys and girls in 29 schools under the project while nation only 3% schools have separate toilet as per national statistics. Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and disability features were included in the toilet blocks. This toilet blocks were visited by relevant government department and acknowledged the design, and they are incorporating MHM and disability features into their design
2. Community WASH groups were formed ensuring around 50% representation of women. The strategic guideline for UP WASC Committee, Community Program Committee and Community Disaster Response Team were developed keeping the provision of 50% participation of women and at least 2 PLWD in each committee.
3. Community women representatives from different groups and volunteers were trained on leadership so that they can take part in decision making process
4. Community and school hygiene promotion session were predominately participated by women and girls so that they make changes in families and communities
5. Menstrual hygiene management day were observed at the district and community level to break the silence and create an enabling environment for the menstruating girls and women so that they can be treated equally by families and societies
6. Commercial service providers (CSPs) were sensitized on the needs of PLWD and reduced mobility people to supply the latrine materials as per the need of PLWD and others
Anonymous's picture
The gender and child friendly WASH facilities in institutional and household are rarely constructed. There is lacking of practice of consultation in design of facilities and its implementation. Women are not generally in technical and management roles in our context.

Inequalities are high in rural communities due to untouchable caste system and poor economic status. Due to this, disadvantage, deprived and dalit groups are still lack of access in WASH facilities. Although caste hierarchy system has been eradicated by the constitution of Nepal however this system is still prevailing in rural communities.

Most of cases, disables are neglected. They are not consulted in technical design stage and implementation of WASH facilities. Their or their guardian participation in management and decision roles are hardly recognized in the community. Lacks of monitoring in rules and policies' implementation for accessibility of disables in WASH facilities.

The representation of women in different institutions is set at least 33% by Nepalese constitution. However in practice, this representation is low than 33% due to lack of understanding of policy and weak monitoring system at all level.

In Nepal, Women and Development Office (WDO) is the focal point for overall GESI in the district. It monitors the implementation of GESI policy. Apart from this, a separate GESI unit is also under Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Division Office (DWSSDO) at district level that monitors GESI mainstreaming in WASH program. Nepal Red Cross Society is an active member in District WASH coordination committee (D-WASH-CC), village WASH coordination committee (V-WASH-CC) and ward WASH coordination committee (W-WASH-CC) at community level and also in School WASH committee.

In each WASH committees, at least 33% and preferably 50% should have women representation with at least two in key-posts. This standard is maintained through sensitization of GESI mainstreaming in WASH guidelines and monitoring of it. Apart from this, GESI interventions are included in WASH project such as collection of disaggregated data by gender and caste/ethnicity, public auditing and public hearing, collection of good practices and lesson learnt that promotes inclusion.

Mainstreaming GESI in WASH is one of the key component in CSO WASH fund project in Nepal. Such impacts has been visualized through project efforts.
• Through sensitization of GESI guidelines by project, more than 50% of WASH committees in the project have at least 50% women members and they are well functional.
• Almost 75% WASH committees are women in management and technical roles in WASH committees and they are actively involving community interventions
• Project has involved almost 70% of project team members are from women and disadvantage groups that is also promoting GESI in communities.
• 100% disables have accessible WASH facilities in their households
• MHM is one of the major activity in community and schools of project areas
• 60 % targeted schools have functional Child, Gender and Disables (CGD) WASH infrastructures..
• Women and children of all clusters of project area have been receiving health education classes (HEC) by project women motivators
• 100% households are monitored and consulted every months by women motivators of the project.
• 100% child clubs are conducting sanitation promotion activities
• Women have received WASH technical training such as plumbing training and using their skills in the project
Mark_Ellery's picture
I have had the good fortune to see some of the work mentioned by Andrew in Sri Lanka. It struck me that disability inclusive WASH facilities were not necessarily more expensive but they were better planned to cater for people of all abilities. The same appears to apply to the planning of school latrines to cater for the changing, washing, drying and/or disposing of menstrual hygiene products by adolescent females that has been cited by Biplob. However, it appears from Mani that there are some deep cultural beliefs that exclude people of different caste and gender from the right to participate in society. I therefore wonder how much the taboo of participation by women during menstruation was associated with an absence of a means of managing menstruation (i.e. a lack of pads and knickers).

In societies where underwear is not traditionally worn by women (or men), how do you address the cultural and practical aspects of the exclusion of women from participation during menstruation?
Biplob Kanti Mondal's picture
Yes, even though the improvement around good MHM practices is happening at the project location, the main problems in remote rural areas in Bangladesh are taboos and cultural beliefs that hinder them to go outside from home resulting in the absence of schools by girls and works by women. Also, it is believed that they should eat certain types of food during menstruation, should not visit religious places during menstruation. Moreover, study found that people in remote communities still believe that Menstruation is sign of marriage. While women and girls are interested to get improved products, there are limitations of availability and accessibility improved products. All the associated taboos, social system, accessibility and availability factors are hindering the development of girls and women and delaying social and economic empowerment.

Mukesh_Singh's picture
Hello everyone. So glad to see many inputs on gender and inclusion in WASH. My colleague Amar has already provided inputs from Nepal on how we are mainstreaming GESI in WASH even in the societies who are deeply rooted with cultural beliefs and traditional practices. Many of you also must be aware that there is strong practice of CHAUPADI system (a separate shed for menstruating women) in the far western region in Nepal, where women have to live outside of their houses for 3-5 days during the periods with bad hygiene and sanitation condition and yet they are considered untouchable. However, it has also been reported that there is lots of improvement in some part including in Bajhang, Nepal where NRCS/ARC is implementing CS WASH project. A constant education on practicing better hygiene and sanitation during the periods is part of health education which is imparted by project's motivators during their monthly health education classes, households visits, WASH and mother groups meetings that is one of the key driving force in educating and gradually diminishing the taboos around menstruation. Recent MHM training in all CS WASH project areas focusing on preparing pads locally proved to be very useful and the trained persons (including few male) are further disseminating their knowledge and skills on MHM and pad making is proved to be a successful initiatives by CS WASH project. Since using locally made pads to be used with underwear, it has also been reported from some of the local vendors that there is an increase of underwear sales, which needs to be further evidenced. Thanks.
Anonymous's picture
In the rural areas of Bangladesh, women are responsible for carrying water, cleaning the toilet and household hygiene. So the inclusion of women in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) related decision making is extremely important.

The source of the safe drinking water is still not in the proximity in many neighborhoods in Bangladesh; arsenic and other contamination of tube-wells made the problem worse. Therefore, to collect the safe drinking water the women or the children need to walk a long in many places.

Open defecation and unsanitary latrine is still found in some places; the women in the areas are also bound to use those. In the urban areas barely any public toilet can be found that has facility for ladies. Probably the public toilet concept didn’t consider women in the first place.

People both in urban and rural areas in Bangladesh didn’t speak openly about the menstrual hygiene few years back due to common social stigma. Even in the schools, it was a kind of taboo not to speak about menstrual hygiene, girls used to absent in the classes during menstruation.

Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh is implementing a project titled “Supporting the Enabling Environment for better WASH services in Northern Bangladesh” to address the issues. Habitat is trying to include women in the safe ware and sanitation related movement by involving them in many trainings and awareness programs. The women led community bases organizations have fortified to work on sanitation and hygiene issues in the project areas. Women are now leading loan latrine program in the project areas. Women were included in the Community WaSH Committees to empower them in the WaSH related decisions in the community and at home. School based menstrual hygiene program, including awareness and infrastructure facility. Now the teachers and girls discuss about menstrual hygiene in the classes. Habitat Bangladesh also prioritized people with disability in providing safe drinking water facility in the project area.
Bronwyn Powell's picture
It is interesting to read so much discussion focussed on Menstrual Hygiene Management in our GESI discussion. Rashadul, Mukesh and Biplob all describe the taboos of menstruation in their South Asian contexts as a significant issue contributing to gender inequity. There is so much underway in your work to normalise menstruation as a natural process, break the silence and taboo and then address product and facility needs. I’m interested to know that whether addressing MHM as an issue opens up a broader discussion about gender and decision-making? Does it make it easier to talk about other areas of inequality?

From Amar's comments I am particularly taken with his emphasis on participation: for people with disabilities designing facilities, for women and children in designing household and institutional facilities, and also for ensuring the voices of these groups are represented in decision-making. I am reminded of the saying I have heard from our CBM Nossall colleagues: ‘nothing about us without us’. The increasing representation of women on WASH committees is an important step towards gender balance, and a KPI we measure in Fund reporting. This figure doesn’t always tell us about the nature of the participation. Do you have ways to measure the nature of men’s and women’s participation, and how they feel about their participation?

I’m aware of a couple of ways CSOs have measured perceptions of participation. One is Live and Learn’s ladder of participation used in the Pacific – see this video for more:

Another is IRC’s environmental health planning approach where men and women were consulted separately, and then the resulting decisions analysed to see to what extent men’s and women’s preferences were met. See their presentation from our recent South Asia Regional Learning Event: Are there other examples people could share?

Rashadul_Hasan's picture
Dear Ms. Bronwyn Powel,

Greetings from Bangladesh!

I think you have brought an interesting point, whether addressing MHM issue opens up a broader discussion about gender and decision-making, if it makes it easier to talk about other areas of inequality.

According to my learning from the field level in Bangladesh, I can say addressing MHM issues makes positive changes in the school level in terms of gender and easier to talk about other areas of inequalities. Now the girls in the school of the target schools can express theirs opinion easier than earlier. We had leverage that the schools as institutes were cooperative with our interventions and MHM issues in schools have some practical implication. But when we want to discuss about MHM issues in the community, we had to separate female group and needed female facilitators to conduct the discussion. Unlike in the schools, the girls and women are not comfortable to discuss about MHM issues in the presence of male members in the community.

My point is, addressing MHM issues has many positive effects in terms of women’s health and education and easing the discussion about some sophisticated issues at institution level. But we need to work more at the community level to understand the impact of the MHM intervention on gender and women’s decision making. Please let know if my answer is not clarified enough.

Best regards,
Rashadul Hasan
Program Manager
Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh
Anonymous's picture
Dear Ms Bronwyn, thanks for your valued suggestions and comments on MHM and GESI in WASH approach.

Thanks to :
Dear Mark, Dear Biplob,Dear Mukesh, Dear Rashadul, Dear Molly and Dear Gestrudis for sharing us your experiences and giving us your valued comments.

Adding some experiences by CSO WASH fund project in Nepal, :

We are expanding MHM interventions applying two models : 1) through School MHM and, 2) through Community MHM. Our experiences say- MHM in school is not enough for change taboos, belief and traditional behabiours in societies of our context. Although some great achievements seen through this school MHM model such as : increased GESI friendly school WASH infrastructures and its use, availability of menstrual pads in schools, practicing GESI focal teacher in school, increasing participation of girls and boys in MHM/health sessions , high participation in pad making training, reduced school absenteeism by girls during menstrual period and lobbying for separate room in schools for rest during menstrual pain, ......... However, through this School MHM model, overall changes in society seem a bit slow. It;is due to wider catchment areas of schools, lack of outreach campaigns by schools and heavy course curriculum for students.

We are through Community model, intensifying MHM interventions in Mothers Group focusing vulnerable households.

We came in conclusion that : Combined Community MHM and School MHM models are necessary for speed up changes in society. Both models complement each other and strength increases.

We are applying combined Community and School MHM models in CSO WASH Fund project in Nepal. We have also conducted a MHM survey,and have important findings to go forward.

Molly_Goodwin-Kucinsky's picture
Across iDE’s global WASH portfolio, each country program faces different challenges when it comes to gender and social inclusion. Below are just a few examples of how we approach GESI in our Asia programs.

In Vietnam, we see noticeable disparities among poor households and ethnic minorities in terms of their access to improved sanitation. In particular, ethnic minorities are more likely to live in remote areas, making it harder to transport latrine components. To mitigate this, the program facilitates group purchases of construction materials, reducing transportation costs. Ethnic minorities are also less likely to be comfortable speaking or reading Vietnamese, necessitating customized communications materials. We work with change agents (local government representatives) to focus on ethnic minorities by creating appropriate communications materials, planning sanitation presentations with large populations of minorities, and encouraging households to invest in a latrine substructure first, rather than waiting to buy the underground and shelter components together. Poverty targeting efforts include promoting lower-cost latrine options such as VIP toilets, dual vault latrines, and smaller size septic/offset soakage pits to reduce costs. The program also works with partners to facilitate sanitation loans, and promoting revolving savings groups and village labor donation campaigns established by change agents. The impact of these efforts is measured by tracking the number of latrine sales to poor households and ethnic minorities. Another area of inequality is sanitation access for those with disabilities. The team continues to explore ways to promote adaptive designs. However, challenges remain - most households are not willing/able to pay more for an adaptive shelter, and few private sector actors are willing to devote extra time to construction without increased profit.

iDE Cambodia has tested several ways to increase latrine access among marginalized populations, including targeted subsidies to reach the poor and a latrine shelter made of interlocking bricks that can be adapted for various mobility needs. Hydrologic, our social enterprise that manufactures ceramic water filters, has been successful in targeting the poor in large part through its offering of an installment payment plan. Most recently, iDE Cambodia and iDE Bangladesh have launched pilots to engage women in the sanitation supply chain. Many of the sanitation businesses iDE trains are run as husband-wife partnerships. Generally, the husband is the business owner and responsible for manufacturing, while the wife may manage tasks such as bookkeeping, marketing, and customer service. Under these pilots, iDE will explore ways to provide additional training to the women in these businesses, mindful of the risk of creating additional unpaid labor for women.

In Nepal, iDE actively solicits the views of women in the design of WASH products, programs, and promotional strategies to tailor them to the needs of both men and women. Additionally, the program proactively recruits women to promote and sell sanitation products (resulting in 50% of Community Business Facilitators being women) and also targets sanitation businesses owned by marginalized groups (reaching 60% of total businesses engaged under the program). To target the poor, the program coordinates closely with Village Development Committees to access block grants in support of latrine purchases.
Anonymous's picture
In rural communities in Timor-Leste households rely largely on women and girls to collect water for the family. They also have domestic duties linked to WASH, such as cooking and children’s health. However, they are often do not participate in community decision making or lead community meetings and therefore WASH facilities and needs can be overlooked.

People with disabilities and the elderly often remain hidden within households in Timor-Leste, they generally lack confidence and are not supported to come forward to be identified or assisted.
WaterAid and partners have worked with the nation Disabled Peoples’ Organization to raise awareness on the issue of disability with local leadership and government, to build confidence with service providers to address disability and also set-up a referral system. We have also worked to support people with disabilities in the delivery team and learned a lot form this process, you can watch a brief video for more info here: .
We have also worked with service providers and the government on a developing and building confidence with a gender dialogue facilitation manual linked to the national WASH planning system. This aims to address gender imbalance with regards WASH in communities and start to create transformational change in communities and households.
We are measuring the impact of our work through ensuring that people with disabilities are identified in our M&E systems with the adaptation for the Washington Group Questions for our context and a M&E for disability checklist, with targets and further reviews of the experience of PwD’s with our program. We also use a follow-up module in the gender facilitation manual for post-project completion to review and capture the changes with regards gender in communities, the women’s FGD often report large changes while the men report small changes!

Anonymous's picture
The CS WASH project in Zimbabwe is being implemented in two towns, prevalence of disability is higher for females than males, and access to sanitation has more cultural and social implications for women. In many cultures getting water that will be used for cooking and keeping the home clean is the responsibility for women and girls. When water points are not accessible for persons with disabilities, this can be overly burdensome, and at times impossible, which can affect girls social standing and her ability to go to school or work outside the home. In ensuring inclusion in the CS WASH a number of approaches where used. The first paramount one being the development of partnerships with DPOs and their involvement right from the design phase of the project and throughout the project cycle. We conducted a gender analysis and Disability Barrier analysis, the results were used as part of the awareness raising strategy among various change agents. Information gathered provided a valid case for the need for inclusion as it provided evidence of the situation of women and girls as well as persons with disabilities with regards to access to WASH services and participation in decision making processes. Mapping of persons with disabilities ie where they leave and services available for them was done. The mapping helped to correct misconceptions that people with disabilities where either not present or very few in the project areas. The mapping exercise led to the discovery that some people with disabilities were being hidden by their families. An accessibility Audit of WASH services as well as public buildings was also done and recommendations shared for refurbishments. Various GESI trainings have been carried out with change agents using information gathered from the local context, these have been very instrumental in changing attitudes and in addressing the various barriers to inclusion. In order to effectively reach out to the community GESI Champion teams comprising of people with and without disabilities from the community were established, these teams are involved in community level advocacy on GESI issues, engaging with Local Government even on issues beyond WASH. The GESI Champions also provide information on various services available to people with disabilities and encourage people with disabilities to participate in various community activities including joining Health Clubs. We have seen the GESI Champions being a resource for inclusive development even for other organisations that are working in the project areas. The GESI Champions concept has proved to be so effective to the extent that it has been adopted by the Local Government as best practice for inclusion and hence they have rolled it out to the rest of the Cities' additional 22 wards. The work being done by GESI Champions has resulted in a great change in attitudes towards persons with disabilities, persons with disabilities have reported that the attitudinal barriers are the most disabling. The project has made efforts to address accessibility to WASH infrastructure and services through construction of accessible toilets and water standpipes taking into account the needs of women, girls and persons with disabilities at community level as well as at schools. Universally accessible designs have been developed through working with DPOs who have also been involved in the monitoring processes during construction. Health and Hygiene information has also been translated into Braille for the visually impaired and DVD produced were Health and Hygiene information is provided in sign language for the hearing impaired. In an effort to carry out disability specific activities we have managed to source wheelchairs for people with physical disabilities through networking with service providers. We have also conducted a training specifically for persons with disabilities on Advocacy and Right to water, this has been instrumental in changing attitudes among people with disabilities on their need to participate in community activities. Impact has been measured through collection of impact stories, qualitative and quantitative processes.
Mark_Ellery's picture
Thanks to Molly for highlighting the various means deployed by iDE for engaging previously excluded people groups in demand and supply markets for WASH services. As a follow on, I am curious to know whether any CSOs have included sweeper castes in the design of sanitation programs?

Thanks to Getrudis for highlighting some of the targeted support by WaterAid for disability inclusive latrines. As a follow-on, I am curious to know if any CSOs have experience from the inclusion of the elderly in the design of WASH facilities?

Thanks to Charity for highlighting the role of GESI champions in local governments in Zimbabwe in addressing the ‘invisibility’ of those living with disabilities. As a follow-on, I am curious to know if other CSOs have experience of including previously invisible people groups in their assessments?
Anonymous's picture
Thanks Mark to bring such an important discussion topic on about the sweeper castes engagement in designing sanitation program. When we talk about Social inclusion, this group is always neglected though they are playing a good role in improving our sanitation system. In this modern era, still they are cleaning, emptying septic tank, sludge pit which is very inhumane. I do not know any of CS WASH fund CSO’s have engaged sweeper castes to manage faecal and others things for their WASH project. In CDI 2 WASH project (Bangladesh) we don’t have. But we know Practical Action Bangladesh is working with sweeper castes in partnership with Municipal authority to manage faecal things within the municipal areas. They established a sweeper association and provided them training about FSM. Most importantly, Practical action provided locally assembled sludge transporter to sweeper association which can able to access in narrow road. Practical action also established a market link : like if you want to get service to emptying your septic tank you can call directly to them and they will empty your septic tank within very shortly and with environment friendly. This kind of things Practical Action doing in Bangladesh. I am trying to get more information regarding this interesting work. This is only about the collection of faecal I am more interested to know about the treatment process.
Anonymous's picture
The Western Pacific Sanitation Marketing and Innovation Program has a small component on Gender and Social Inclusion. The component include trainining, resource development and carrying out survey that captures women and men's participation and diability survey. For this Live & Learn partnered with International Womend Development Agency(IWDA) in addressing equity and inclusiveness in the communities that we worked in. when looking at women's decision making we underwent an activity called Ladder of participation and this was carried out for both men and women in the communities.
In terms of inequalities when it comes to basic ccesss to WASH, we found unsafety and insecurity in terms of location of the WASH facilities, the lack of privacy since there are lots of sharing toilet in peri urban communities, ingorance desiging WASH facilities that would cater and meet the needs of the children, pregnant women, elderly and people living with diability. For us when we construct toilets for our customers the toilet design is catered for the different people living in the household even if it has to be custom made for safe access by all in the household or community. One of the toilet products that we designed for PWD is the portable toilet and we also custom made the design of the portable toilet with arm rest, hand rail, steps etc if needed. In Vanuatu in the recent TC Donna, our CBSEs gave away 2 portable toilets to 1 evacuation centers to be used by people living at the evacuation centre and together with this key messages on O&M, hygiene etc goes with the portable toilet and Live & Learn together with Minstry of Health through the WASH Cluster helped supported the families at the evacuation centre in using the portable toilet. One of the biggest inequity in the schools and communities is the how to address menstrual hygiene, in schools there is no bathrooms let alone privacy for menstruating girls and are quiet often teased at by boys which can be very traumatic for a young girl. Awareness alone can not do it for MHM, improving toilet facilities and having access to bathrooms, sanitary pads and involving parents, education the male teachers in how to adress this are one way to combat this issue.

Working with our Change Agents, for our community WASH program we worked closely with Vanuatu Society with People with Disability in pushing for the use of portable toilets to PWD living in Port Vila, LLV also worked with a local enterprise group that specialies in giving out training in MHM and sewing reusable sanitary pads and this training was provided to our community health workers, teachers, school managmement and some educators. In schools we are working with UNICEF in trying to address MHM and have been working with other NGOs who has done this in their work.

In terms of measuring impact, we use the MAERL tools to help with the monitoring such as the Ladder of Participation, conducting Most Significant Change interviews and developed a video out of it, please see below the link to the first MSC video that was carried out last year and there is expected to be another one before the end of the project year.
Mark_Ellery's picture
Thanks to all for your inputs,
It seems that many of the inequalities in access and participation in WASH services are the consequence of unawareness, misconceptions and the unexamined consequences of this exclusion. Your contributions over the last few weeks have highlighted how CSOs are improving gender equity and social inclusion in access to safe and sufficient, affordable and reliable WASH services.

Over the last few weeks we have seen that CSOs are:
- Developing partnerships … with disabled people’s organizations (in Sri Lanka, Vanuatu and Zimbabwe) and women’s development agencies (in Vanuatu), with local and central governments responsible for ensuring the inclusiveness of WASH services (in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe) and with the providers of WASH services (in Nepal) including schools and their management organizations (in Bangladesh and Nepal).
- Assessing gender and inclusiveness status using a variety of tools … such as the ladder of participation (in Vanuatu), gender and disability analysis (in Zimbabwe) and benchmarking against national standards of female representation in committees (in Nepal).
- Raising awareness of previously unidentified exclusions ... through mapping of persons with disabilities highlighting hidden aspects of those living with disabilities (in Timor-Leste and Sri-Lanka), accessibility audits highlighting patterns of exclusion (in Zimbabwe), developing gender dialogue facilitation manuals for national planning processes (in Timor-Leste).
- Catering for the practical needs of women and those living with disabilities … in the location of the facilities, the universally accessible design of the facilities (i.e. with wheelchair access) and provisions for those with particular needs (i.e. hygiene information in braille for the visually impaired), addressing financing hurdles (i.e. loans, instalments or low-cost alternatives), making available facilities for the management of menstrual hygiene (i.e. separate bathrooms and access to sanitary pads).
- Strengthening participation of the excluded in WASH service delivery … by supporting GESI champions (in Zimbabwe), employing people living with disabilities in delivery teams (in Timor-Leste), working with lower caste sweepers to improve faecal sludge management (in Bangladesh), empowering marginalized groups and women to strengthen the supply chain for latrines and plumbing services (in Nepal, Cambodia and Bangladesh) and sanitary pads (in Bangladesh, Nepal and Vanuatu).
- Monitoring of the inclusiveness … using the Washington Group set of questions on disability and a M&E disability checklist (in Timor-Leste), using separate focus group discussions with women and men to capture changes in gender equality (in Zimbabwe), tracking the sales of latrines to ethnic minorities (in Vietnam), deploying a GESI index to track change and manage any unintended consequences (in Zimbabwe).

We are looking forward to continuing this discussion on gender equity and social inclusion at the Fund Learning and Reflection Event.
Anonymous's picture
This discussion is really helpful and get idea to work on GESI in WASH.
Anonymous's picture
Kindly include me in the loop. I'm very much interested to know more about GeSI. I'm also interested in joining webinar schedules.
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