Understanding and responding to climate change impacts in inclusive WASH programs

Learning brief cover

There are many different ideas and practices from water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), climate change adaptation (CCA) and gender and social inclusion (GSI) academic and civil society sectors that are relevant to supporting civil society organisations (CSOs) to understand and respond to climate change impacts. Our research required a framework to translate and integrate these ideas so they could be applied, in practice, to understand and assess how climate change affects WASH and GSI outcomes from WASH projects.

In our research project, ISF-UTS worked collaboratively with the CSO partners to develop practical climate change assessment methods and approaches. The “research team” refers to The Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney (ISF-UTS), Plan International in Indonesia (YPII), Plan International Australia (PIA), WaterAid Timor-Leste (WATL) and WaterAid Australia (WAA) team members working jointly.

An initial version of the framework was developed and used to:

  1. support the research team, who bring different sectoral and disciplinary expertise, knowledge and viewpoints, to jointly understand the many different ways that climate change could affect rural WASH projects and communities.
  2. ground the research in the latest academic literature relating to climate change adaptation and resilience, WASH and GSI, and use this literature to support a robust and applicable framework.
  3. guide the research team’s development of assessment methods and approaches.


The authors would like to thank staff from Plan International Australia, Plan International Indonesia, WaterAid Australia and WaterAid Timor-Leste who provided important feedback in the development of the conceptual framework outlined in this Learning Paper.


Megaw, T., Kohlitz, J., Gero, A. & Chong, J. (2020). Understanding and responding to climate
change impacts in inclusive WASH programs – a conceptual framework – Learning Paper.
Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney.




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