Towards Transformation in WASH: Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Self-Assessment Tool

The GESI SAT cover shows two Fijian women sitting together on a floor mat working on large pieces of paper.

The Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Self-Assessment Tool (GESI SAT) represents the culmination of years of collaborative work across the Fund, and has been co-created by Water for Women and the Sanitation Learning Hub

It is a facilitation guide for WASH project managers, researchers and self-assessment facilitators to support individual and collective reflective practice on the extent and quality of gender equality and social inclusion work in WASH projects and organisations.

Aimed at program managers, GESI advisers, researchers and members of staff who are interested in improving GESI practice, the self-assessment process will help review and identify specific, context-appropriate approaches and strategies that will support GESI transformative practice and outcomes for WASH implementation and research projects, and within organisations.

The GESI SAT includes a step-by-step process and practical appendices, including printable and editable participant worksheets and templates for summarising workshop outcomes, evaluating the self-assessment process for continual improvement, and developing a GESI Action Plan,

An intentional focus on GESI is key to sustainable and effective WASH projects. A central commitment to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 6 - clean water and sanitation for all - is to “leave no one behind.” Key to this concept is the importance of prioritising actions that benefit and empower women - in all their diversities - the poorest, people with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities and the most marginalised people in communities.

Therefore, as WASH and development practitioners, we have a responsibility to make sure we continue to improve GESI practice. Furthermore, WASH projects are a critical entry point for promoting equity and leadership for women in all their diversities and marginalised groups more broadly.

The GESI SAT was initially developed by the Water for Women Fund as a collaboration between the Fund Coordinator and Fund partners, for use within the Fund and with the intent of publication for use by the wider water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector.

It was trialled by the Fund Coordinator with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) in Bhutan in 2019. A cohort of SAT facilitators was trained across South Asia Fund partners later that year, including SNV Bhutan and Nepal, World Vision BangladeshInternational Rescue Committee Pakistan, International Water Management Institute Nepal, and the Centre for Advocacy and Research India.

The trained SAT facilitators contributed to the adaptation process and were trained to use the online tool, based on an initial trial by SNV Bhutan facilitating the process for Fund partner, the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney. The tool was rolled out with peer facilitation, with the completion of the online process by South Asia partners in the first months of 2021, with resultant improvements to the process based on the SAT facilitators’ reflections. A modified version of the SAT was delivered by Water for Women for the Sanitation Learning Hub (SLH) in April-May 2021. The current tool was finalised with extensive SLH inputs in June 2021.

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