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Inclusive WASH

Building skills towards inclusive water, sanitation
and hygiene

Session 5

Poorest of the Poor

20 - 24 February 2012
Live Webinar: 6pm (GMT +11), Wed 22 Feb 2012

Session Overview

Download presenter's slides:

Session 5: Poorest of the Poor (Louisa Gosling) (PPT)

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Previous webinars have focused on disability, gender, and HIV. This final webinar looks at experiences of reaching other marginalised groups, with contributions from practitioners, and draws out some common lessons from the earlier sessions. 

Louisa Gosling, Equity and Inclusion focal point for WaterAid UK, focuses on scaling up good practice on inclusive WASH, and different mechanisms to ensure the principles of inclusion become “business as usual” in the WASH sector. Finally, the presentation explores the links between equity and inclusion and the human rights to water and sanitation and how to use developments in post 2015 monitoring to ensure equity and inclusion is fully embedded in WASH. 

Background resources

Water and Sanitation as Human Rights 

The human right to sanitation is an obligation for the sector. Catarina de Albuquerque, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Switzerland.

Implications and actions needed to put the rights into practice, Results from the 27th AGUASAN workshop 20th to 24th June 2011, Gwatt, Switzerland.

Also check out the Special Rapporteur's speech at a public consultation on 1 Feb 2012: Stigma and the realization of the human rights to water and sanitation (262 KB)

Analysing Exclusion as a Basis for Programming 

Exclusion study on WASH delivery in Malawi (598 KB)

(WaterAid, 2008) In its quest to ensure that the vulnerable are not excluded from their work, WaterAid Malawi has commissioned this study to investigate reasons for exclusion and how marginalised groups can be included. The study was conducted in all five districts in which WaterAid in Malawi currently supports projects – Mzimba, Nkhotakota, Salima, Machinga and Lilongwe.

Equity and inclusion in sanitation and hygiene in South Asia : a regional synthesis (963 KB)

This is a series of five publications is the outcome of a South Asia regional study into Equity in School Water and Sanitation. The study examines the issues of exclusion and discrimination in schools in South Asia and to consider the potential for schools being able to act as agents of change in combating this exclusion and discrimination. The country studies for Bangladesh, Bhutan and India and can be found in the respective country section.

Monitoring Inequity and Targeting Resources to the Poorest

A Snapshot of Sanitation in South Asia with a focus on inequities (549 KB)

(2011, WHO/UNICEF) A regional perspective based on data from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP). Prepared for the 4th South Asia Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN-4) 4-7 April 2011 Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Drinking Water: Equity, sustainability, safety 
(12072 KB)

(2011, UNICEF) The report analyses JMP and MICS data to focus on the three key challenges of equity, safety and sustainability. Disparities in terms of geography, wealth and gender are explored, which highlight the need to target water service delivery towards specific  

Water: More for some or some for more? Monitoring equity in water and sanitation (780 KB)

(2008, WaterAid and Tanzania Water and Sanitation Network) The document is looking at urban-rural equity, inter-town equity, inter-district equity, inter-ward equity, social equity in decision making and social equity in outcomes.

Out of sight and out of mind? Are marginalised communities being overlooked in decision making? (1720 KB)

(2009, WaterAid and Tanzania Water and Sanitation Network) This second annual Water Sector Equity Report aims to ensure that the profile of equity issues in the sector remains high. The overall objective of this report is to raise awareness of and promote debate on the equity orientation of the water and sanitation sector in Tanzania. 

The WASH in Schools coalition has launched a new website - - with a tool providing an overview of the status of WASH in schools and key documents (national policies, standards, guidelines etc) at a country level for around 39 countries. Most of this information was submitted by UNICEF offices so it is by no means complete but a good starting point for WASH in schools sector analysis. 

Examples of work with specific excluded groups


WASH for sex workers

Song of the Darkness. This documentary was made by DCN for WaterAid and PSTC to capture the current WASH situation at Tangail brothel from an equity lens to draw perspectives on rights based approach.


WASH for tea garden workers in Bangladesh

Discrimination, inequality and injustice are common phenomenon relating to tea garden workers as against the mainstream population in Bangladesh. Since their settlements for about 150 years back in this region, they are subject to injustice, inhumanity and inequality. These people are paid very nominal wages and are mostly ignorant and sub-conscious regarding their rights and privileges. WaterAid in Bangladesh has recently taken challenge to work with this marginalised community under its Inclusion programme with special attention for establishment of their WaSH rights and privileges.

Shamim Ahmed, of WaterAid in Bangladesh, talks about tea garden workers in Bangladesh and efforts to improve their access to sanitation and hygiene. He also mentions a recent policy-oriented roundtable organised with the SHARE research consortium to address hygiene and health. Interview filmed by Guy Collender, of the SHARE research consortium.


Burden of Inheritance Report: Can we stop manual scavenging? (1164 KB)

This report outlines how over one million people in the country continue to scrape an existence through manual scavenging, forced largely by social convention and caste prejudice, and calls for strong action to eradicate this practice. A violation of human rights, this discriminatory and demeaning practice was outlawed by the Indian Parliament in 1993 but still continues today.

Understanding pastoralists and their WASH needs (410 KB)

WaterAid (2011) This policy brief summarises the findings from a literature review and research carried out by WaterAid in the districts of Longido and Hanang Districts in Northern Tanzania. Pastoralists are nomadic people who either move around throughout the year with their families and herds in search for water and pasture, or may be sedentary where they are more or less settled in one defined area.

Promoting safe water, sanitation and hygiene in hard to reach fishing communities of Lake Victoria

Nsazi is one of the fishing islands on Lake Victoria in Uganda. The population is transient, multicultural, and very poor. Most people defecate in the open beside the lake, which is the only water source, and dysentery, diarrhoea, malaria and intestinal worms are the most common diseases affecting children under the age of five. WaterAid has worked closely with the community to introduce improved sanitation facilities to the island, constructing two public toilet blocks with cubicles for men, women and people with disabilities, plus a shower room. 

Sanitation and water for poor urban communities: a manifesto (2473 KB)

(2011, WaterAid) Water and sanitation services are fundamental to human health and development, nowhere more so than in densely populated urban areas. With no indication that the pace of urbanisation, and subsequently the growth in poor urban areas, will slow, the international community must act collaboratively to ensure these basic human rights are afforded to poor urban communities – and it must act now. Here, WaterAid sets out the examples and objectives for successful delivery of sanitation and water to poor urban communities.

Reaching the urban poor: Supporting utilities to engage communities in service extension (4700 KB)

Author: Timeyin Uwejamomere, (2012, WaterAid) from WBI Course on Designing & Implementing Successful Utility Reform in Water & Sanitation Thursday, 26 January, 2012 at Reiz Continental Hotel, Abuja.

Session Facilitators

Louisa Gosling


Louisa Gosling has worked in International Development for over 20 years, and has always focussed on the linkages between action, learning and advocacy. With Save the Children she worked on monitoring and evaluation, child rights, education, HIV, health and advocacy, producing a series of useful guides for practitioners. 

Since 2009 she has worked in WaterAid, focussing on mainstreaming equity and inclusion. She has adopted a viral approach, using every opportunity to infect any person or part of the organisation with awareness, knowledge and skills needed to make our programmes more equitable and inclusive for all. As WaterAid’s understanding of equity and inclusion is gradually growing, she is also collaborating with the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) and the WSSCC in their efforts to promote equity and inclusion in the WASH sector. 

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