Gender Equality and Disability Inclusion within water, sanitation and hygiene

This discussion paper is intended as a conversation starter for WASH program managers and other development practitioners looking to strengthen their conceptual and practical understanding of challenges and successes in integrating gender and disability in WASH; and those looking to move towards more transformative and sustainable practice. 

This  paper was developed by, and is the result of, a collaboration between WaterAid, CBM Australia and Di Kilsby Consulting. It is based on reflections on applying integrated gender and disability advisory support to rightsbased water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs in Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea.

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Author / Organisation WaterAid Publication Date Jun 2017 Downloads 126 Size 3.6 mb Link Rating
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CS WASH GESI e-discussion input

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!