“I am so thankful for having a chance to meet the government and to talk about sanitation.” (Woman from female-headed household)
Female-headed households often get left behind in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programming and policy. This Sanitation Learning Hub learning paper presents findings and recommendations for action, from the participatory video research project, ‘Sanitation, health and livelihood issues for female-headed households in Tasikmalaya’. The project supported eight women in Awiluar village, Tasikmalaya, (a peri-urban community in west-Java, Indonesia), to explore the challenges they face and ideas for solution using a participatory video process.
The process included activities to develop personal confidence, teamwork, collective and visual storytelling, reflective enquiry, communication skills and audio-visual technical skills. The women collectively created a video to communicate their sanitation, health and livelihood priorities, which was screened with local government officials and community members promoting vital dialogue and encouraging action. The aim of the project was to ensure that the specific needs and long-term interests of female-headed households are better met going forward.
Further details on the approach can be found in the accompanying SLH learning paper (18), ‘Using participatory video for empowerment in sanitation programming‘; this describes key activities involved and their value to programming. It aims to spark sanitation and hygiene researchers’ interest in the potential for using participatory video.
Comprehensive Social Protection Programming: What is the Potential for Improving Sanitation Outcomes?
Millions of people around the world do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities, undermining progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 6.2 that calls for adequate and equitable sanitation for all.
Efforts to improve sanitation outcomes have been rapidly accelerated in the past decade alongside an expansion of different financial incentives or subsidies to promote access to services and motivate sanitation behaviour. In parallel, social protection has become part and parcel of development policy, with many low- and middle-income countries now offering some form of cash transfers to those most vulnerable. Comprehensive interventions that couple financial transfers with complementary support such as behaviour change communication, training, or coaching have also grown increasingly popular.
Despite similarities between water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) subsidy schemes and social protection interventions, these policy areas have largely developed in silos and limited cross-sectoral learning has taken place. This paper begins to fill this knowledge gap by assessing the potential for comprehensive social protection in addressing sanitation outcomes and drawing out policy implications for the social protection and WASH communities. It does so by focusing on a social protection programme in the context of extreme poverty in rural Haiti.
Accessible Sanitation in the Workplace – Important Considerations for Disability-Inclusive Employment in Nigeria and Bangladesh
This paper explores the relationship between accessible sanitation and disability-inclusive employment in Bangladesh and Nigeria.
Both countries have sanitation and hygiene challenges as well as disability-inclusive employment challenges, but the existing evidence on the intersection of these issues that is focused on Nigeria and Bangladesh is extremely limited. Building on the literature where this complex issue is addressed, this paper presents the findings of a qualitative pilot study undertaken in Nigeria and Bangladesh. It focuses on the need for toilets at work that are easy for people with disabilities to use in poor countries.
These are sometimes called accessible toilets. Accessible sanitation is not regarded as a challenge that must be addressed by people with disabilities themselves, but as a challenge that must be addressed by many people working together – including governments, employers, and the community.
Exploring the Intersection of Sanitation, Hygiene, Water, and Health in Pastoralist Communities in Northern Tanzania
This paper explores access to water, sanitation, and health in pastoral communities in northern Tanzania.
It argues that the concept of gender, used on its own, is not enough to understand the complexities of sanitation, hygiene, water, and health. It explores pastoralists’ views and perspectives on what is ‘clean’, ‘safe’, and ‘healthy’, and their need to access water and create sanitary arrangements that work for them, given the absence of state provision of modern water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure.
Although Tanzania is committed to enhancing its citizens’ access to WASH services, pastoral sanitation and hygiene tend to be overlooked and little attention is paid to complex ways in which access to ‘clean’ water and ‘adequate sanitation’ is structured in these communities. This paper offers an intersectional analysis of water and sanitation needs, showing how structural discrimination in the form of a lack of appropriate infrastructure, a range of sociocultural norms and values, and individual stratifiers interact to influence the sanitation and health needs of pastoralist men, women, boys, and girls.
Today, people worldwide can expect to live into their 60s and beyond.
There are estimated to be around 900 million older adults (aged 60 years and above), around 13 per cent of the world population.
The COVID-19 pandemic helped shed light on the specific needs of older people as a group more susceptible to severe disease/infection, and revealed the lack of capacity within water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) NGOs to respond to these specific needs.
This Sanitation Learning Hub Learning Paper explores the WASH needs of older people in both development and humanitarian contexts, as well as the fundamental role older people play in facilitating other people’s WASH access, health, and wellbeing.
The paper refers to the data WASH actors collect on older people in order to understand their differing WASH needs, the barriers to accessing WASH, and the need to ensure older people’s participation, including their active role in helping find the solutions.
Recommendations are made for planning with communities and programme design; WASH programme implementation and to reduce environmental barriers.
This paper is also available in French and Portuguese:
Despite climate change being a major concern for the sanitation sector, rural sanitation remains neglected in the wider discussions of climate impacts on WASH services. Also, the voices of vulnerable individuals, households, and communities who are experiencing the effects of climate change in relation to sanitation issues are missing.
The aim of this Sanitation Learning Hub case study was to expand the evidence base on climate impacts on rural sanitation and hygiene practices and programmes in Burkina Faso and on practical adaptations to increase resilience and ensure communities are better able to maintain improved sanitation behaviours during and after times of climate stress.
There was a focus on the social dimensions of impacts, exploring vulnerabilities and behavioural aspects of sanitation access and use. Additionally, the research identified the impacts climate change is already having on current programming efforts in rural settings.
- Reinforce sanitation as a priority at household and community level.
- Integrate climate risk factors and adaptations into ongoing sanitation interventions.
- Prepare specific guidance at a commune (area-wide) level.
- Facilitate intersectoral collaboration
- Draw on existing community-level support networks to increase the durability of latrines.
- Build on the strengths of CLTS and community participation.
- Consider alternative methods where needed.
This case study is also available in French: Effet des aléas climatiques sur les pratiques d’hygiène et d’assainissement en milieu rural au Burkina Faso
Getting Work: The Role of Labour Intermediaries for Workers in Nepal and the International ‘Adult Entertainment Sector’
This IDS Working Paper explores the role of labour intermediaries, their aspirations, and their perceptions about the benefits and costs of facilitating work in the ‘Adult Entertainment Sector’ (‘AES’) and other employment.
Our research objective was to understand these experiences to develop more effective policies and interventions to prevent human trafficking and labour and sex exploitation. Using a victim-centred participatory approach, we interviewed 33 adults who identified themselves or were identified by others as labour intermediaries.
This Working Paper has a companion paper – Labour Trajectories and Aspirations of Nepali ‘Adult Entertainment Sector’ Workers – which builds upon previous research to examine the labour trajectories, and the role of labour intermediaries, for ‘AES’ workers within Nepal and beyond its borders.
This IDS Working Paper explores the labour trajectories and aspirations, and the labour intermediaries of Nepali ‘Adult Entertainment Sector’ (‘AES’) workers.
Our research objective was to understand these experiences to develop more effective policies and interventions to prevent human trafficking as well as labour and sex exploitation. Research included a literature review, interviews with ‘AES’ workers, and observations in areas with reported elevated levels of human trafficking to visualise the economic activities.
This Working Paper has a companion paper – Getting Work: The Role of Labour Intermediaries for Workers in Nepal and the International ‘Adult Entertainment Sector’ – which focuses on the role of labour intermediaries, their aspirations, and their perceptions about the benefits and costs of facilitating work in the ‘AES’ and other employment.
The challenges faced in sanitation and hygiene programmes are numerous and complex. Failures are inevitable. From our experience of working on rapid action learning and research in this sector we have found that when mistakes are shared they are usually those which were uncontrollable and unanticipated i.e. somebody else’s fault.
In this perspectives piece, Jamie Myers and Naomi Vernon from the Sanitation Learning Hub propose a typology of failure alongside criteria for research and learning processes that prioritises timeliness, relevance and actionability. They argue that these can be used together to identify and reflect on failures (and successes) quickly. They provide some practical suggestion for different stakeholders to support a shift towards a more open and reflexive sector, where all types of failures can be shared broadly.
In 2020, WSSCC’s India Support Unit (now UNOPS) piloted a new participatory approach called Community Leave No One Behind (CLNOB) to support the Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G) Phase II. This Sanitation Learning Hub learning brief outlines the purpose of CLNOB, the actions generated by the pilot and our reflections of the CLNOB approach.
The pilot took place in five districts in India (Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, Ranchi in Jharkhand, Kamrup in Assam, South 24 Paragnas in West Bengal and Purnea in Bihar). A Prerak (facilitator) was appointed in each district to support this process and work within villages at community level. The Sanitation Learning Hub supported an accompanying learning component of the pilot, facilitating learning sessions between the preraks and the development of a Handbook based on the experience.
This learning brief outlines the purpose of CLNOB, the actions generated by the pilot and our reflections of the CLNOB approach. The CLNOB Handbook, a handbook on Community Leave No One Behind, accompanies this Learning Brief. CLNOB was designed to ensure a participatory method to enable sustained access to safely managed sanitation facilities for people who have been ‘left behind’ or left out of the first phase of India’s national sanitation campaign.
Over the past few years, the Sanitation Learning Hub, in collaboration with the Government of India, Praxis, WSSCC and WaterAid India, have been developing Rapid Action Learning approaches. Multiple approaches have been trialled, with flexible formats, but the essential criteria is that learning is timely, relevant and actionable.
These learning approaches are the focus of the latest edition of the Frontiers of Sanitation series. This Frontiers explains the advantages and disadvantages of the approaches trialled and sets out a challenge to those working in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector to:
- Reflect on what, for you, constitutes rigour.
- Adopt and adapt approaches to fit your context and needs.
- Develop your own approaches.
- Record your experiences and lessons learnt.
- Take the time to share your experiences with us. (Email the Hub on SLH@ids.ac.uk)
To commemorate and reflect on the publication, the Hub sat down with colleagues and partners WaterAid India and WSSCC to discuss lessons learned and the future of Rapid Action Learning. You can watch these five short videos in the playlist below.
How do you think we learn best? What barriers do you see and experience that make it more difficult for us to learn? And what steps should we be taking to reduce the barriers and improve how we learn more effectively?
This Sanitation Learning Hub Learning Paper summarises the key learning from a rapid topic exploration on ‘Learning in the Sanitation and Hygiene Sector’.
The study looked at how people in the WASH sector learn, the processes utilised and what works best, as well as the barriers and challenges to learning. It looks at learning from communities and peer-to-peer and how the learning gets translated into action at scale.
This paper shares the lessons from sector and associated actors working in low- and middle-income contexts around the world and makes recommendation on how to strengthen learning and sharing processes, as well as building capacities and confidence for learning, with the ultimate aim of turning that learning into action at scale. A shorter learning brief accompanies this paper.
With PhotoVoice research participants can express themselves in a visual medium instead of using words, which is beneficial for those who can’t communicate their WASH needs as easily or find it difficult to speak about taboo issues.
This Sanitation Learning Hub Learning Paper explores the potential of an innovative participatory visual method known as PhotoVoice to help to achieve universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) by 2030. The paper outlines what PhotoVoice is, and shares learning relating to its use in the WASH sector around the world for research, programming and advocacy.
It draws on lessons learned from these experiences to show how PhotoVoice can be used for learning in WASH, how it can be used with other methodologies to explore topics which are neglected or taboo, and the benefits and drawbacks of PhotoVoice to consider. It includes practical recommendations for using PhotoVoice in WASH and the ethical considerations to make when it is used. The paper reflects on how PhotoVoice is important for exploring new frontiers in WASH, and can help us gain a deeper understanding into how people experience, interpret and respond to their realities.
Opening the Doors to the Hidden WASH Needs of Women from the Onset of the Perimenopause in Urban Ghana
Recent debates on ensuring equity and inclusion in sanitation and hygiene provision in the Global South have begun to explore the needs of excluded groups of individuals. Yet, the sanitation and hygiene needs of perimenopausal (PM) women, who are making the transition to menopause, are neglected.
This study explores this new field of research and aims to provide recommendations to meet the sanitation and hygiene needs of PM women. Opening the doors to these needs warrants the use of adaptive, participative, feminist methodologies, placing PM women at the centre of the study to enable them to share their experiences. This research uses a six-stage case study methodology: a literature review, a phenomenological review, research design, case study selection, data collection, and data analysis.
This research identified several sanitation and hygiene needs as crucial to PM women’s health. This research concludes that the hidden sanitation and hygiene needs of PM women require participatory techniques to reveal them. Relationships with certain people allow PM women to discuss and meet the sanitation and hygiene needs to a degree. PM symptoms vary in nature, between women and day to day. This research demonstrates that the sanitation and hygiene sector needs to become more attentive to bathing and laundry issues overall, learning from the needs of PM women.