Disability-inclusive WASH: Practice within Water for Women

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Launched in International Day of Persons with Disability 2022, this brief consolidates learning from Water for Women around what it takes to engage meaningfully with people with disabilities in their full range of diversity and highlights how more marginalised people with disabilities can be successfully reached, even when disability inclusion is relatively new to an organisation or team.

To enable all people with disabilities to participate and benefit from WASH processes and services on an equal basis with others requires:

  • a combination of mainstream actions and disability-specific actions in and outside the WASH sector
  • a transformative framework that engages with power dynamics and supports the social empowerment and inclusion of people with disability well beyond the sector’s traditional approaches
  • staff capacity building to understand the needs and interests of people with disabilities.

Read our #IDPwD insight

Transforming from “us” and “them” to simply “us”


This brief answers the following key learning questions:

  • What have we learnt about engaging meaningfully with people with disabilities in their full range of diversity, and enabling people with disabilities to participate in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) processes on an equal basis with others?
  • What have we learnt about reducing inequalities between people with disabilities and people without disabilities in WASH access?

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Disability-inclusive WASH:
Practice within Water for Women


This learning brief explores key lessons learnt from implementing disability-inclusive WASH projects and research across Water for Women – in particular, strategies that contribute to meaningful participation and equality of outcomes.



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Water for Women acknowledges Asahel Bush and Aleisha Carroll of CBM Global’s Inclusion Advisory Group (IAG), Australia based team, for the development and collation of this learning brief.

The following partners also contributed to the brief: Yayasan Plan International Indonesia (Plan Indonesia), SNV Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) Bhutan, SNV Nepal, Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) India, International Rescue Committee (IRC) Pakistan, World Vision Vanuatu, World Vision Bangladesh, WaterAid Timor-Leste, WaterAid Australia, WaterAid Papua New Guinea (PNG), iDE Cambodia, Thrive Networks/East Meets West (Thrive/EMW), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). We recognise their leadership, and that of all partners, in improving disability-inclusive WASH services and systems across Asia and the Pacific.

Thanks also to the Water for Women Fund Coordinator team, who played a substantial role in the development of this brief: Jose Mott, Stuart Raetz, Lee Leong, Kate Orr and Emily Eller. Finally, special thanks to Bianca Nelson Vatnsdal and Mia Cusack (Water for Women), who led the design of this brief.

This work was supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Citation: Water for Women. (2022). Disability-inclusive WASH: Practice within Water for Women. https://www.

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