Water Engineering and Development Centre

Equity and social inclusion

It is becoming apparent that recent global improvements in water and sanitation provision have focused on coverage, and have neglected some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the world. Poor people may be marginalised or excluded by a range of factors, including social (gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity, caste, displacement, education), well-being (ill-health, incontinence, menstruation, pregnancy and disability), and economic (low-income communities and households).

An increasing focus of the SDGs is on improving equitable access to the poorest and most disadvantaged. To do this, more knowledge and information is needed by practitioners not only about who is excluded, but why and what can be done to improve access and participation and ensure that services meet the needs of everyone.

If you would like to find out more about WEDC's work in this area, please contact Dr Julie Fisher.

Latest resources

Essential reading

This list is regularly updated but please let us know if there is a document that should be added.


Women and girls in WASH

 Menstrual hygiene and perimenopause management

Solid waste management and women


Learning resources ( in English and French)


The following materials have been developed by WEDC in collaboration with WaterAid.

Activity sheets

Can be used as stand-alone activities, or as part of structured training/capacity building:





Les matériaux en français traduits par WaterAid.

Feuilles d'activité:



Guides pratiques:


WEDC International Conference papers

Click on the links below to view selections of papers from WEDC International Conferences, with a particular focus. recent papers are listed first.


  • WSSCC: Reaching the Unreached

    This video draws on the perspectives of those whose voices are often not heard, such as the disabled, children, the elderly, the very poor and other excluded groups to highlight some of the complex factors concerning equitable access to sanitation and hygiene in the region. With the aid of specific examples from Nepal, India and Pakistan the video analyses barriers to access through the lens of socio-cultural, economic, political, geographic, environmental and administrative factors. In doing this, it points to the Colombo Declaration through which governments from the region have committed themselves to improving access to sanitation and hygiene.

  • WaterAid in Nepal (2013) A difficult journey to toilet

    In Nepal more than 500,000 people live with disability. Among them 350,000 don't have access to toilets. In Kathmandu, there are no public toilets that are disabled friendly. Disabled persons also have the equal rights as of other human beings. But they are only limited in slogans and not much practiced. This video is about the common sanitation related difficulties faced by the people living with disability. It is to raise awareness on disability rights on sanitation and hygiene.

WASH and gender based violence