Menstrual health is a public health issue, yet many women and girls in low- and middle-income countries still need to achieve it. People with disabilities are particularly disadvantaged and often excluded from interventions to improve menstrual health
in development and humanitarian contexts.
To start addressing this gap, the Bishesta campaign – a menstrual health intervention for people with intellectual disabilities and their caregivers was designed and delivered in Nepal’s development setting. The campaign was adapted for Vanuatu’s humanitarian emergencies and is called the Veivanua campaign.
This Frontiers of Sanitation issue presents the study findings and explains the steps followed throughout these two processes. It includes recommendations to support others to adapt the campaigns for different settings.
“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.
The Afar people of Northern Ethiopia live in what can be considered the very definition of ‘challenging contexts.’ Largely nomadic pastoralists, they navigate a harsh and unforgiving landscape, often having to travel great distances for water. They have been described as living on the frontline of climate change. The Covid-19 pandemic and emerging peace and security issues in Ethiopia have only compounded challenges around poverty, nutrition and sanitation as markets are disrupted and entire communities are displaced.
It can still be incredibly challenging to ensure that the most marginalised members of a community are included and actively engaged in the process . In the case of Afar, this encompasses women, those with little to no formal schooling and those with very low levels of literacy. With this learning paper the authors want to share their experiences of using a methodology designed to include the voices of those most marginalised – in particular, women’s voices – in a nutrition and WASH participatory research project in Northern Ethiopia.
Fostvedt-Mills Consulting (FMC) was contracted by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) as part of their Improved Food security through Transitional Aid for Resilience Project (IFTAR), which aimed to improve the nutritional status of vulnerable groups and the nutritional and hygiene behaviours of caregivers. They were asked to investigate the attitudes and practises of target communities in Afar relating to nutrition and water, sanitation, and hygiene and then to design a subsequent intervention that was contextually relevant to the communities.
For the study, FMC sought to answer the questions:
- What are the social and gender-based factors determining the nutrition and WASH practices of the communities?
- How are those factors affecting the nutrition and WASH practices of the communities?
In designing the approach, FMC wanted to ensure that they carried out their research with the communities, rather than on the communities, in a way that would build trust and create a shared understanding of the future intervention and generate interest and a sense of ownership in its potential outcomes.
The full study carried out by FMC included a desk review as well as primary quantitative and qualitative data collection. In this learning paper they share the findings from the qualitative research. Specifically, FMC examine how the use of photovoice and Community Action Planning methods worked to amplify the voices of women and ultimately engage a more diverse group of community members in the research process. They will share our most important findings and discuss some of the advantages and challenges of using these methods in Afar, as well as the potential for application of these research methods in other challenging contexts.
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.
Engaging men and boys is an exciting development in the WASH space; for too long our efforts to transform gender inequality focused too narrowly on women and girls.
Limiting ourselves to half the possible number of allies, partners for change, innovators, and leaders to address this issue held back progress, and also placed the ‘burden for change’ squarely on women’s shoulders
This issue of Frontiers of Sanitation explores the extent to which engaging men and boys in WASH processes is leading to transformative change in gender roles, attitudes, and sustainable change in reducing gender inequalities across households, communities, organisations, and policy.
This document is an update to Frontiers Part 1 produced in 2018. In Part 1, the differing roles of men and boys were reviewed in terms of objects to change (i.e. to change sanitation or hygiene behaviours), agents of change (in promoting improved practices), and partners for change in gender-transformative WASH processes.
This update reviews progress and provides practical examples of the opportunities and challenges with this endeavour. It also includes recommendations for those thinking about why and how to include engaging men and boys as part of their WASH programmes.
This publication is also available in French and Portuguese:
This document accompanies Frontiers of Sanitation: Engaging men for gender transformative WASH, Part 2, which explores the extent to which engaging men and boys in WASH processes is leading to transformative change in gender roles, attitudes, and sustainable change in reducing gender inequalities across households, communities, organisations, and policy.
Practical examples are presented here from:
- Papua New Guinea (PNG)
- Solomon Islands
Each of these examples, all of which are from projects funded by the Australian Government’s Water for Women Fund, describe interventions that employed different gender-transformative approaches to engage with and reach men and boys. They also describe the projects’ successes and challenges.
An intentional focus on gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) is key to sustainable and effective Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects.
This guidance is for staff of WASH implementation and research projects and organisations, who are committed to improving the practice of GESI in their projects and organisations.
What is this tool for? To support individual and collective reflective practice among staff on the extent and quality of gender equality and social inclusion work in their WASH projects and organisation.
Who should use this tool? Anyone working on WASH implementation or research projects that wants to improve (GESI) practice.
Who needs to be involved in the process?
- A Contact Point within your project/organisation/team to guide the process internally
- Staff and managers from across your organisation/team/project (maximum 20 people)
- A facilitator, ideally someone external
How long does the process take?
- For implementing WASH agencies, four x 2 hour workshops, plus 2 hours individual preparation and 2 hours preparation in pairs
- For research and learning WASH organisations, three x 2 hour workshops, plus 2 hours individual preparation and 2 hours preparation in pairs
This publication is also available in French and Portuguese:
- Outil d’autoévaluation de l’égalité des genres et l’inclusion sociale
- Ferramenta de auto-avaliação de Igualdade de Género e Inclusão Social
Watch the launch webinar here
This is a participatory toolkit for understanding unpaid care work and its distribution within local communities and families.
Together, these tools provide a way of ascertaining and capturing research participants’ understanding of women’s unpaid care work – giving special attention to the lived experiences of carrying out unpaid care work and receiving care. Please note that these tools were developed and used in a pre-Covid-19 era and that they are designed to be implemented through face-to-face interactions rather than online means.
A Call To Action: Organizational, Professional, and Personal Change For Gender Transformative WASH Programming
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets aimed at improving access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are also an opportunity for the transformation of gender norms. To facilitate this transformation, this paper makes a call to action for global and national efforts for organi-zational, professional, and personal change.
Several NGOs are leading a process towards a more reflective and transformative approach. This paper presents a number of examples – from headquarters, and others from country offices and research institutes – of the changes under way to support a stronger connection between the ‘outer faces’ of WASH professionals in the sector and the individual, personal inner spaces. The paper concludes with a set of recommendations for personal and organizational change.
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.
This practitioner research, carried out by women’s empowerment organisation FAMM Indonesia, brings the voices of young women – a group consistently excluded from decision-making spaces about the allocation of local government resources – into the conversation about social accountability. Barriers to young (especially unmarried) women’s participation in public spaces include the prevailing view that doing so violates social norms, young women’s often low level of education, and family expectations. Many young women have internalised their marginalisation and lack the confidence to participate in community forums.
This paper describes participatory action research carried out in partnership with eight grassroots Indonesian women’s NGOs. Preliminary focus group discussions laid the foundation for a series of movement-building initiative workshops to strengthen rural young women’s leadership capacity, encourage critical awareness and develop their roles as community organisers. Young women’s social engagement can generate criticism and backlash, which may lead to their losing interest in public forums. As well as empowering participation in formal meetings, the research suggests that young women can overcome closed spaces through building on informal relationships and collaborations. And young women’s involvement in producing creative content (print, audio and multimedia) for use in community organising is used to strengthen their self-esteem and abilities.
The paper ends with a reflective conversation between Niken Lestari of FAMM and Francesca Feruglio of MAVC. They discuss the kind of capacity-building needed to enable young women to overcome barriers to their engagement in local governance spaces, and thus fulfil their own declared potential to contribute much more to the development of their communities.
Disabling Menstrual Barriers: Identifying and Addressing the Barriers to Menstrual Hygiene that Adolescents and Young People with Disabilities Face in Nepal
The Disabling Menstrual Barriers research aims to investigate and address the barriers to menstrual health and hygiene that adolescents and young people with disabilities face in the Kavre district in Nepal.
It is a collaboration between WaterAid and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. During September 2017, qualitative data was collected using participatory methods, including PhotoVoice.
This Learning Note presents the research questions, timeline, data collection methods and ethics. It also captures the preliminary findings from PhotoVoice and highlights the emerging research themes from this.
Turning the Tide: The role of collective action for addressing structural and gender-based violence in South Africa
The case study discussed in this Evidence Report explores the value and limitations of collective action in challenging the community, political, social and economic institutions that reinforce harmful masculinities and gender norms related to sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). As such, the concept of structural violence is used to locate SGBV in a social, economic and political context that draws histories of entrenched inequalities in South Africa into the present. The research findings reinforce a relational and constructed understanding of gender emphasising that gender norms can be reconfigured and positively transformed. It is argued that this transformation can be catalysed through networked and multidimensional strategies of collective action that engage the personal agency of men and women and their interpersonal relationships at multiple levels and across boundaries of social class, race and gender. This collectivity needs to be conscious of and engaged with the structural inequalities that deeply influence trajectories of change. Citizens and civil society must work with the institutions – political, religious, social and economic – that reinforce structural violence in order to ensure their accountability in ending SGBV.