A window on inclusive community WASH projects

Produced in partnership

Working together with communities to design and implement inclusive WASH projects is key to their success — and to ensuring WASH activities actually meet the needs of the people they are aimed at serving.

These photos highlight WASH projects around the world dedicated to putting people at the center.

For Ibu Mastura (right) and Ibu Suhada (left), clean water can be difficult to access. During the dry season, their well can be dry, and the rainy season sees their neighborhood flooded. They are working with the Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments program to design sustainable water and sanitation solutions for their informal settlement community in Makassar, Indonesia.

Photo: The RISE program

Aum Gyem is over 80-years-old and lives in Samdingkha village, Toedwang gewog, in Punakha district, Bhutan. Gyem has a speech disability, is hard of hearing, and uses hand and body actions to communicate. She lives next to her sister who attended a community development for health workshop conducted by a trained local health worker to create demand for sanitation with householders.

The workshop was organized as part of SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and Water for Women’s support to extend the reach of the Bhutan government’s national rural sanitation and hygiene program. Today, Gyem has a ceramic pour flush toilet.

Photo: SNV Bhutan / Aidan Dockery

In the Solomon Islands’ Isabel province, mothers take part in a focus group discussion. The objective is to understand the motives, habits, settings, and societal norms that influence the management of their children’s feces, and how things have changed over time.

Safe-CFM (child feces management) researchers from the Solomon Islands National University have conducted over 80 different data-gathering activities to inform the co-design of community interventions that will promote safe CFM practices across the country.

Photo: D Gonzalez Botero / International WaterCentre

Two sanitation business employees install an “Easy Latrine” for household use in rural Siem Reap province, Cambodia. International Development Enterprises, or iDE, through its human-centered design approach, identified the colorful slab tiles as an important reason as to why people purchased the latrine, which shows that low price isn't always the most important driver. iDE has facilitated the sale and delivery of over 380,000 such toilets in rural Cambodia since 2009, reaching over 1.7 million people with improved access to sanitation.

Photo: ​​David Graham / iDE

Beatrice (leftmost), 12, is now able to collect water for her household at an inclusive water point near her home in Omugo refugee settlement, northern Uganda. The water system is designed and constructed so that people living with disabilities have easy access to the water collection point/tap. According to World Vision, the system is estimated to serve more than 34,000 persons in the settlement.

Photo: World Vision Uganda

Kornelia, 68, known within her community as Grandma Ne, lives by herself in Wae Codi village, Manggarai district, Indonesia. She makes and sells woven mats to earn a living, with each one taking more than a month to produce. One of her biggest challenges is collecting water. During the dry season, this requires a minimum of two round trips a day, each taking around an hour on a steep mountainside path. 

Grandma Ne was one of the participants in a safety audit activity to support accessibility for all, including people with disabilities and the elderly, conducted by Yayasan Plan International Indonesia, with support from Plan International Australia under Australia’s Water for Women Fund. The aim was to better understand how WASH services can be adapted to better meet the needs of marginalized community members.

Photo: Plan Indonesia / Agus Har

Girls in Qala-i-Naw, Afghanistan, participate in a WASH UP! session. WASH UP! is a school-based hygiene behavior change program that conveys key messages within primary school. 
The program encourages children to understand the importance of hygiene and sanitation in their daily lives. To date, the WASH UP! program in Afghanistan has been delivered in 123 sites and reached more than 41,000 girls and boys. It was developed in partnership with Sesame Workshop and is implemented by World Vision in 15 countries worldwide.

Photos: World Vision Afghanistan

A midwife attends to a newborn baby in a health care facility in Kampong Chhnang province, Cambodia. Inadequate hygiene during childbirth and post-natal care can increase the risk of neonatal and maternal mortality and preventable infections. Hand hygiene behavior interventions have been rolled out in four selected health care facilities in Kampong Chhnang as part of the research project Changing Hygiene Around Maternal Priorities

The project is a collaboration between partners including Cambodia’s Ministry of Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Water for Women, and WaterAid Cambodia.

Photo: WaterAid / Remissa Mak

Rifat, 23, receives menstrual health and hygiene advice from community health workers, known as “transformation facilitators” under the International Rescue Committee and Water for Women’s Leveraging Inclusive WASH for Empowerment project.

Rifat, who has an intellectual disability, lives with her family in the northern Pakistan village of Dora, Peshawar. Since puberty, Rifat has had to stay home during her period and has relied on her mother's help to manage her menstruation.

Photo: International Rescue Committee / Huzan Waqar

Ernesto, who has a visual impairment, can now access clean water in his municipality of Manufahi, Timor-Leste, thanks to the work of WaterAid Timor-Leste and a local organization for people living with disabilities, Ra’es Hadomi Timor Oan. The two organizations — supported by the Water for Women Fund — have worked together for a decade to create more accessible WASH services. 

Timor-Leste has a national disability policy, social support measures, and an active disability rights sector. Despite these positive measures, people living with disabilities face ongoing stigma, while infrastructure often remains physically inaccessible.

Photo: WaterAid /Jafet Potenzo Lopes

Vendors at a busy marketplace in Port Vila, Vanuatu, rely on access to safely managed hand-washing facilities not only for hand hygiene but for continued trading during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Although the Pacific Islands have experienced minimal cases of COVID-19, numerous restrictions have been imposed on marketplaces due to their high density and low capacity to enforce hygiene and social distancing. Women make up 80% of market vendors and many other workers in the informal economy rely on them for their livelihoods.

Water For Women is partnering with International WaterCentre, Griffith University, World Vision Vanuatu, and The University of the South Pacific in Vanuatu, to research ways of improving prevention measures against COVID-19 and other communicable diseases in marketplaces and agri-businesses in Vanuatu.

Photo: Dr. Krishna Kumar Kotra / IWC/USP

A woman washes laundry in Nativi village, located in Saivou district, Ra province, on Fiji’s Viti Levu island. Habitat for Humanity is working to improve WASH services in 18 communities across Ra and Ba provinces, focusing especially on the needs of women, people living with disabilities, and marginalized groups.

In July 2019, Habitat for Humanity Fiji trialed a “Do No Harm” pilot with two of these communities. The pilot aimed to understand and address the barriers relating to women’s participation in WASH services and activities.

Photo: Habitat for Humanity Australia / First Fighter

A group of transgender people from Kalinga Studio Kinnar Basti, Bhubaneswar, India, are being supported by Water for Women Fund partner, Centre for Advocacy and Research. With the COVID-19 lockdown impacting their usual sources of income, they have been selling vegetables to make a living. CFAR advised them on precautionary measures for purchasing and handling vegetables, and preventive behaviors such as frequent hand sanitization, wearing gloves and masks, and maintaining social distancing.

Photo: CFAR / Samir Ranjan Dash

Being born with physical disability in her left leg, Hamida Begum, 41, believed she was a burden to her family and society. She became involved with WASH initiatives through the SHOMOTA project, which aims to provide gender and disability inclusive WASH services in schools and communities. She has since become a health care salesperson in her community, selling products like sanitary napkins, buckets, water tapes, soap, and detergent.

Photo: World Vision Bangladesh

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