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.
Projects in this area
- Lighting for safer sanitation - project
- WASH and disability: Research into the impact of an inclusive approach to CLTS
- Gender and social inclusion in WASH: Action research to develop practical tools and approaches to improve social inclusion in CLTS
- Undoing inequity: Disability and ageing in WASH in Uganda and Zambia
- Monitoring and evaluation (MVE): Advisors for the South Asia WASH Payment by Results programme (contains an equity component)
- RurbanAfrica – African Rural-City Connections (contains a gender component)
- Accessibility and safety audit of market-centre latrines – English | Français | Español | Português
- Squatting demonstration activity (Facilitator's note) – updated and improved!
- Dialogue Circle on Social Inclusion – Guidance Note. Conducting a discussion at community level
- Meeting Gender and Menstrual Hygiene Needs in MSF-OCA Health Structures Rubis Mena, MSc research dissertation
This list is regularly updated but please let us know if there is a document that should be added.
- Compendium of accessible WASH technologies – low-cost options, for use at community level in rural sub-Saharan Africa. To access a full library of images see WaterAid's Compendium page.
- Disability: Making CLTS Fully Inclusive For French and Portuguese versions go to the Community-led Total Sanitation website
- Mainstreaming disability and ageing in water, sanitation and hygiene programmes A mapping study carried out for WaterAid UK
- Inclusive WASH – What does it look like? Checklist for WASH practitioners | en français | en español
- Water and sanitation for all – article in Municipal Engineer – Themed issue on Diversity & Inclusion.
- Infrastructure for All: Meeting the needs of both men and women in development projects. A practical guide for engineers, technicians and project managers. Reed, B., Coates, S., & Parry-Jones, S. (2007) WEDC.
- Developing Engineers and Technicians: Notes on giving guidance to engineers and technicians on how infrastructure can meet the needs of men and women. Reed, B. & Coates, S. (2007) WEDC.
- Water and sanitation for disabled people and other vulnerable groups: designing services to improve accessibility. Jones, H. & Reed, R.A. (2005) WEDC.
- Inclusive design of school latrines: how much does it cost and who benefits? Jones, H. (2011) WEDC Briefing Note #1.
- Inclusive design for WASH services – An annotated bibliography (categorises and describes over 50 documents related to access to WASH for women and girls, disabled adults and children, and schoolchildren).
- Inclusive WASH and disability (adapted from the above but focuses on access for disabled people).
Women and girls in WASH
- FISHER, J. (2008) Women in water supply, sanitation and hygiene programmes, Municipal Engineer, 161 (ME4), 223-229.
- FISHER, J. (2006) For Her It's the Big Issue, Water Supply and Collaborative Council/UNICEF.
- FISHER, J. (2006) What is good for women is good for all. WELL Briefing Note, 25, WEDC, Loughborough
- FISHER, J. (2004) The Gender Millennium Development Goal. What water, sanitation and hygiene can do. WELL Briefing Note, 4, WEDC, Loughborough
Menstrual hygiene and perimenopause management
Bhakta, A., Fisher, J. and Reed, B.J. (2014) WASH for the perimenopause in low-income countries: changing women, concealed knowledge? 37th WEDC International Conference, Hanoi, Vietnam
De Lange, R., Lenglet, A., Fesselet, J.F., Gartley, M., Altyev, M., Fisher, J. and Shanks, A. (2014) Keeping it simple: a gender-specific sanitation tool for emergencies , Waterlines 33, 1, 45-54
Crofts, T. and Fisher, J. (2012) Menstrual Hygiene in Ugandan schools: Investigating Low-Cost Sanitary Pads , The Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 2, 1, 50-58
CROFTS, T. (2010) Will they cotton on? An investigation into schoolgirls' use of low-cost sanitary pads in Uganda Unpublished MSc, WEDC, Loughborough
Solid waste management and women
- Obadina, A., Fisher, J. and Sohail, M. (2015) Informal waste workers on Lagos dumpsites: analysis of gender difference in sources of livelihood. 38th WEDC International Conference, Loughborough, UK
- Obadina, O A, and Fisher, J. (2014) Socio-economic demography of waste workers on Lagos dumpsites: analysis of gender differences. 37th WEDC International Conference, Hanoi, Vietnam
Learning resources ( in English and French)
The following materials have been developed by WEDC in collaboration with WaterAid.
Can be used as stand-alone activities, or as part of structured training/capacity building:
- Squatting Activity (Facilitator note)
- Applying the social model to WASH
- Identifying barriers to WASH
- Identifying solutions to WASH
- Carrying out an Accessibility Audit (Facilitator note)
- Equity and inclusion in WASH provision – the social model as a practical tool for analysis and problem solving (pdf)
- Facilitator/presenter's notes
- *New* Accessibility and safety audits: latrines | school latrines | water points
- Accessibility audits: latrines | school latrines | water points
Les matériaux en français traduits par WaterAid.
- Conception de la dalle d'un trou de latrine (Notes de facilitateur)
- Utilisation du Modèle Social pour identifier les obstacles individuels et environnementaux
- Identification des obstacles liés à l'accès à l'eau potable, à l'assainissement et à l'hygiène
- Identification des solutions pour réduire les obstacles d'accès à l'eau potable, à l'assainissement et à l'hygiène
- Diagnostic d'accessibilité à l'eau et aux installations sanitaires (Notes pour l'animateur)
- Equité and inclusion dans les prestations WASH – Utilisation du modèle social d'exclusion – présentation Powerpoint (version pdf)
- Equité and inclusion dans les prestations WASH – Utilisation du modèle social d'exclusion (Notes de facilitateur)
- Diagnostic d'accessibilité – latrines
- Diagnostic d'accessibilité – toilettes école
- Diagnostic d'accessibilité – points d'eau
- Intégration et WASH: comment s’y prendre?
- L’Alimentation en Eau et les Installations Sanitaires pour les personnes handicapées et autres groupes vulnérables: la conception des services permettant d’améliorer l’accessibilité Jones, H. & Reed, R.A. (2006) WEDC
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.
- WaterAid presents Accessibility:Developing Inclusive Design of public WASH facilities. (WaterAid Madagascar)
- Diagnostic de l'accessibilité (French)
- WaterAid (2013) Undoing inequity - investigating the cost of inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene
WASH and gender based violence
- Dalit women demanding access to toilets (2 minutes) very powerful
- Safer cities: Fear holds girls back (7.30 mins) - Plan International. Includes sanitation related case studies, plus participatory walk and mapping involving adolescent girls.
- The Bucket – less than 1 minute on problems faced by women in slums going to the toilet
- W of Women = will Short story about how women came together to put pressure on executive engineers to take action.
- Song about danger of open defection for women - with lyrics only
- WaterAid - Women and WASH covers the wide range of ways in which WASH affects women – not just violence (3 minutes)