WASH research to remain a strong focus of Water for Women extension

An overhead shot of researchers in Indonesia with a water testing kit in action with a clipboard

Water quality testing in Indonesia, part of the University of Technology, Sydney - Institute for Sustainable Futures research project, Transitioning to Safely Managed Water Services: Risks and Opportunities of Self-supply for Vulnerable Populations (UTS-ISF / Juliet Willets)


Water for Women is pleased to announce a further $4.21 million in funding for seven research projects exploring inclusive climate-resilient WASH during the extension phase of the program from 2023 - 2024.

Water for Women recognises that research is a key pathway for development innovation and to inform policy-making and program delivery. Our four research partners include international and Australian organisations:

The research portfolio covers a geographic spread of 10 countries in climate vulnerable regions including the Pacific in Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and in South and Southeast Asia in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal and Vietnam. 

Research projects will explore how communities, stakeholders and government can understand and improve climate resilience through water sanitation and hygiene.

The additional AUD$4.21 million takes the Fund’s research investments to $15.2 million from 2018-2024. 

Water for Women represents the largest single investment in the development sector by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), totalling almost AUD$155 million over seven years.

The seven research projects to be undertaken during the Water for Women extension are:

1. Inclusive pathways towards climate-resilient WASH in Bangladesh

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

If people with disabilities are not systematically included in climate-resilient WASH, they will be left behind. People with disabilities represent at least 15% of the global population and are often the most vulnerable to climate risks. This research porject will strengthen the evidence to ensure WASH interventions improve the lives of people with disabilities and increase resilience to climate change.


2. Supporting decentralised rural water supply in Pacific islands: Formal and informal networks to support Pacific Rural Water Committee engagement with water resources management for climate resilient WASH outcomes

Griffith University - International WaterCentre

In Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon-Islands, active and sustainable water committees (WCs) are key to effective rural water management, and thus, to climate-resilient rural water security. All countries are currently decentralising WASH service and support systems; now is the time to improve these processes.


3. Achieving inclusive climate-resilient WASH through circular economy approaches: Opportunities to strengthen WASH systems and drive innovative resilience pathways

University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Sustainable Futures

New approaches to address climate vulnerabilities of services, resources and societies are critical to securing sustainable WASH services for all. This research project considers how circular economy principles and practices can drive inclusive climate resilient WASH. It will develop and apply a conceptual framework that integrates circular economy, climate resilience and inclusive WASH to support planning and assessing WASH system improvements.


4. Addressing climate vulnerability in Nepal through resilient, inclusive WASH systems (RES-WASH)

International Water Management Institute

Nepal is the fourth most climate-vulnerable country with 80% of the population at risk to climate-induced natural hazards. Women, girls, people with disabilities and marginalised groups are most likely to be severely impacted by climate-induced disasters. This research project will focus on interrelated WASH-climate-gender challenges and evidence-based strengthening capacity of key actors across sectors and tiers of federal institutions. By addressing these two issues, this project supports Nepal’s priorities in achieving SDGs 5 and 6 targets in a climate change-fragile geography.


5. Strengthening water resources management planning systems for inclusive climate-resilient WASH services

University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Sustainable Futures

Climate resilient water safety planning (WSP) has commenced in Cambodia, and new guidelines have been developed - soon to be launched by government agencies in 2022 to inform and guide climate resilient water resources management and water security. This research project will work with WASH research partners CDRI, EMW, CWA and WaterAid and local communities to support them to collect, analyse and use evidence to support GEDSI-informed, climate resilient water resources planning, drawing on co-production, Participatory Action Research methods, and systems thinking tools within an overall systems strengthening approach to support incentives and implementation of climate resilient water safety and water management planning.


6. Inclusive urban WASH in Melanesia Pacific: influencing and strengthening systems for climate-resilient WASH in urban underserved settlements

Griffith University - International WaterCentre

Addressing the inaccessibility of safe water and sanitation services for residents of urban informal settlements (UIS) in Melanesia has become increasingly urgent due to a combination of rapid growth (~35% urban populations live in settlements), with the increasing exposure of existing unsafe services to climate impacts. Several gaps and weaknesses in planning systems and the political economy for climate-resilient WASH in UIS are emerging from research. This regional research project aims to strengthen systems for climate-resilient WASH services in UIS by exploring decision and planning support systems (PSS), advocacy methods, and ways of engaging with settlement residents to progress collaborative planning.


7. Groundwater for inclusive climate-resilient WASH (G4ICRW)

University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Sustainable Futures

A transdisciplinary research project focused on how groundwater can support climate-resilient WASH across the Asia-Pacific. The project will generate new knowledge and tools supporting governments to develop and manage groundwater resources for inclusive, resilient services. The research addresses challenges at the groundwater-climate-WASH-inclusion nexus in three climate-vulnerable contexts common in the Asia-Pacific: islands, deltas, and cities.


We will be sharing more about each research project in early 2023, stay tuned and learn more at waterforwomenfund.org and subscribe to our updates.


Water for Women supports improved health, gender equality and wellbeing in Asian and Pacific communities through socially inclusive, sustainable and climate-resilient water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects and research. It is the Australian Government’s flagship WASH program, investing AUD $154.9 million over seven years. Water for Women is partnering with civil society organisations, research organisations and local partners to deliver 33 projects in 15 countries from 2018 to 2024. 

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