Australia’s new Minister for Foreign Affairs visits Water for Women project in Indonesia

A woman, Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong reaches over a fence to greet a community member at a Water for Women project site in Makassar, Indonesia

Australia’s new Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong, and the Consul-General in Makassar, Ms Bronwyn Robbins, have paid a visit to Water for Women’s  Makassar project demonstration site in Indonesia, part of the Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments (RISE) program.


The RISE Water for Women research project is a collaboration between Hasanuddin University, Monash University, Emory University and the University of the South Pacific, identifying the key mechanisms in gender and socially inclusive community engagement and participatory design processes for water and sanitation infrastructure, and understanding the effect of the RISE participatory design and community engagement activities on social capital in urban informal settlements.


The Makassar project team were proud to host Minister Wong at their research site in Batua, South Sulawesi on 7 June, where they shared their project work involving co-designed, location-specific solutions that integrate green infrastructure, such as constructed wetlands, to strengthen the whole-of-life water and sanitation cycle and promote community health and wellbeing.

A tweet from Senator Wong

Minister Wong observed that “During our visit to Makassar, I had the opportunity to visit the village of Batua to see the work of RISE - an Australian-funded climate resilience project. It includes flood-resistant pathways, rainwater harvesting systems, septic tanks and new ways to treat wastewater. The Albanese Government is committed to expanding our cooperation with Indonesia on climate change action and resilience - small projects like this show the incredible impact we can have when we work together."

Water for Women has supported the RISE project to generate evidence on the gender and socially inclusive participatory design approach to water and sanitation infrastructure in the RISE project intervention areas . The RISE team has used rigorous processes to gather data from residents in RISE communities and from RISE team members across four countries including Indonesia, Fiji (Water for Women project locations), Australia and the USA.   


From this evidence, RISE has produced two outputs, designed to make a difference on the ground.

  1. Reflecting on Water & Sanitation Infrastructure, a Toolkit for WASH Practitioners on Gender and Socially Inclusive Participatory Design Approaches in Urban Informal Settlements
  2. A policy brief, Promoting Inclusive Participatory Design of Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in Urban Informal Settlements: 4 steps to improve project design and implementation.


“These resources are about making a difference to those who need water and sanitation infrastructure the most and who are usually left out of infrastructure design: including women, children and people with a disability. We think that inclusive participatory design is an excellent way to bring gender and social inclusion principles to the heart of water and sanitation infrastructure design. Our toolkit will equip WASH practitioners with the skills they need to deliver more inclusive infrastructure. Our concise policy brief sets out the 4 key steps that policy makers governments and funders can take to commission water and sanitation infrastructure which is more inclusive, more sustainable and which positively impacts the social capital and wellbeing of diverse communities.”

Dr Becky Batagol, Monash Sustainable Development Institute and Monash Law, Australia


These two key outputs from the RISE program, supported by Water for Women, are set to be launched during an online event on 24 June. RISE invites WASH, research and development practitioners to join this event to hear from the international experts behind the resources. Participants will learn about the Toolkit and how to put reflective practice skills into action to help deliver more inclusive and fairer water and sanitation projects and services to those who need it most. Participants will also hear about the concise policy brief, which sets out four steps that donors, funders, governments and policymakers can take to facilitate the participatory design of water and sanitation infrastructure in an inclusive way.

Event details on photo background

Join the RISE team for their event: 

Towards inclusive design of WASH infrastructure in informal settlements

Friday 24 June 2022

10.00 AM (Melbourne, Australia) | 08.00 AM (Makassar, Indonesia) | 12.00 PM (Suva, Fiji)

This event will be held in both English and Bahasa Indonesia.

Register now


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