Water for Women Innovation and Impact Grants awarded

A young girl shows off her newly built toilet in Cambodia

Water for Women raises the bar for gender and socially inclusive research, analysis, design and program delivery in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The Fund’s efforts to lead practice globally increases its reach and impact. The Water for Women Innovation and Impact (I&I) grants provide a targeted opportunity for partners to further contribute to Fund outcomes.

Innovation and Impact grants will contribute to ongoing research and development in line with the Fund’s fourth end of program outcome, ‘Strengthened use of new evidence, innovation and practice in sustainable gender and inclusive WASH by other CSOs, national and international WASH sector actors’. In doing so, the grants will support partners to further innovate, to deepen impact and to contribute to improved global WASH policy and practice, ultimately supporting the Fund to demonstrate its contribution towards the overarching goal of ‘improved health, gender equality and wellbeing of Asian and Pacific communities through inclusive, sustainable WASH’.

Water for Women is very pleased to announce the award of the following I&I grants (click on the title to learn more about each project):


Category 1: Individual Fund-partner CSO or consortiums led by a Fund partner CSO


‘Voices At The Table’ Toolkit

Plan International Australia in partnership with Yayasan Plan International Indonesia, Edge Effect Collaborations Pty Ltd and Perkumpulan Arus Pelangi, Indonesia


This I&I project will develop a practical Participatory Action Research Toolkit that will support WASH practitioners to work alongside women, people with disabilities, and representative organisations, to strengthen individual and collective agency to genuinely lead development, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of actions to improve safe, accessible, and inclusive WASH practice and policies. 

This I&I project is linked to WASH and Beyond: Transforming Lives in Eastern Indonesia



Unlocking critical WASH contributions to care and domestic work recognition and redistribution for a feminist-led economic recovery to COVID-19

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Nepal


COVID-19 has heightened socio-economic vulnerabilities and increased pressures within households and WASH related businesses. Grounded in feminist economic theory, SNV’s I&I research will provide WASH and GESI practitioners, service providers and policy makers with evidence of practical and effective responses to pandemic-driven care work shifts, opportunities and challenges to shift gender norms within WASH program interventions towards realising a more inclusive economic recovery.

The project framework will explore the ‘shock’ of COVID-19, its gendered impacts and the potential for these to open space for gendered economic and attitudinal changes. Working with international and local researchers, local partners and government actors to design and review WASH focused interventions will promote co-learning and embed local and culturally competent solutions into the WASH program landscape.

User-friendly outputs will provide guidance on

(a) indicative impacts of COVID-19 on CAD work arrangements in different populations,
(b) how to develop a transformative intervention to address CAD work inequalities, drawing from successful components of interventions trialled, and
(c) key policy and program implications for addressing gendered CAD work norms in WASH programs.

This I&I project is linked to Beyond the Finish Line: Inclusive and Sustainable Rural Water Supply Services in Nepal



Climate change impacts, adaptation measures, and inclusive resilience system in WASH: A case study of marginalised communities in rural Cambodia

Thrive Networks East Meets West Foundation, Cambodia

Building on Thrive’s existing Water for Women project in Cambodia, this study will assess the impacts of climate change on target households’ access and use of WASH services and explore the role of the private sector in collective adaptation for marginalised communities in rural Cambodia.

The study addresses three questions:

1) Sustainability: How can we better accommodate the climate vulnerabilities and resources of marginalised households and providers and enhance their adaptive capacities?
2) Resilience and Innovation: Which conditions enable private sector providers to deliver resilient WASH services for marginalised communities? and,
3) Inclusion: How can policy makers ensure that inequality is not worsened by climate change through equitable adaptation measures in WASH?

The study will provide insights into resilient thinking and adaptive capacities and how they could be enhanced in inclusive ways within the contexts and characteristics of Cambodia’s marginalised communities. In addition to sharing local knowledge about climate change impacts on Thrive’s Water for Women project’s intended outcomes, the study will also provide evidence for policies and practices in building WASH resilience.

This I&I project is linked to Women-Led Output Based Aid (WOBA)



Towards integration: Practical lessons from applying an Inclusive WASH and Climate Adaptation framework

WaterAid Australia in partnership with Hydrology and Risk Consulting, Papua New Guinea


This I&I project will develop and apply an Inclusive WASH and Climate Adaptation framework as part of WaterAid’s existing Water for Women project in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Focusing on Wewak District, this project will test and refine a framework at both the local and district level to enable an assessment of requirements for achieving an increasingly sophisticated and holistic WASH and climate adaptation approach. Cost estimates for the identified additionalities will be developed to provide evidence of specific financial requirements for WASH and climate adaptation focused initiatives.

This I&I project is linked to Inclusive WASH for Wewak


Category 2: Individual Fund-partner CSO or consortiums led by a Fund partner CSO,
in partnership with a dedicated research organisation/s


Integrated Water Management Action Research

Plan International Australia in partnership with Yayasan Plan International Indonesia and Monash Sustainable Development Institute (Monash University), Indonesia


This I&I project will undertake action research which aims to intersect gender equality and socially inclusive (GESI) sanitation and hygiene (STBM) with integrated water management (IWM) policy and practice to better support the resilience building of marginalised people and communities. This will both leverage and deepen GESI-STBM policy and practice gains developed through Plan’s existing Water for Women project in Indonesia and bring together wide-ranging stakeholders, including marginalised people, to co-develop and test an IWM agenda, which will seek to support a whole-of-cycle water and wastewater systems-strengthening to further progress and embed inclusive and universal WASH access in Sumbawa.

This I&I project is linked to WASH and Beyond: Transforming Lives in Eastern Indonesia


Inspiring local government heroes of climate action for inclusive WASH

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation in partnership with the University of Technology Sydney –Institute for Sustainable Futures, and the National University of Lao PDR, Nepal and Lao PDR


This I&I project will inspire local governments in Nepal and Lao PDR to overcome barriers to addressing climate change impacts within their jobs and become champions of climate action for inclusive WASH. SNV and partners will develop innovative techniques for understanding the motivators and constraints of local government to tackle climate change issues in the WASH sector, use this to trigger action and develop tailored support to motivated local government authorities to act on climate change. The approach draws on user-centred design thinking techniques that have been successfully employed in the Making Rights Real approach to inspire potential champions of the human rights to water and sanitation (‘would-be heroes’) in other contexts to take action. The project will also take a collaborative approach involving CSO, international and local researchers, and government actors to support incremental and doable climate actions at the local level in the rural WASH sector.

This I&I project is linked to Beyond the Finish Line: Inclusive and Sustainable Rural Water Supply Services in Nepal and Beyond the Finish Line: Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All in Lao PDR



Transformative leadership for inclusive WASH in a post-COVID world

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation in partnership with the University of Technology Sydney – Institute for Sustainable Futures, CBM Australia, Bhutan Network for Empowering Women and Ability Bhutan Society, Bhutan

Leveraging existing partnerships with the Royal Government of Bhutan, Bhutanese Network for Empowering Women and Ability Bhutan Society (ABS), this I&I project will scale up and consolidate SNV Bhutan’s leadership initiatives  to the wider health, local government and CSO sector in Bhutan. In the process it will apply key learnings from the ongoing UTS-ISF led research with diverse inspirational WASH leaders in government and civil society to build potential for transformative leadership (leadership that addresses and changes gender and inclusion norms) amongst both female and male leaders. In collaboration with CBM Australia and ABS, specific strategies will extend approaches to engage 10 people with disabilities from within the CSO sector and support more inclusive networks and alliances.

Together with UTS-ISF, taking an action research approach, the process will be reviewed, documented and synthesised before amplifying the positive lessons for wider use. These will have broader applicability across a wide range of WASH-COVID programming to support more transformative leadership strategies, and to assist implementers to find new entry points for strengthening transformative leadership outcomes for a post-COVID world. 

This I&I project is linked to Beyond the Finish Line: Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All in Bhutan



Community-to-catchment planning for inclusive, climate-resilient WASH systems in Solomon Islands

Plan International Australia in partnership with Plan International Solomon Islands, Live & Learn Australia, Live & Learn Solomon Islands, Griffith University – International WaterCentre, Solomon Islands National University and Earth Water People, Solomon Islands

This I&I project aims to develop approaches linking community-scale WASH action planning with catchment-scale thinking and deliberation by applying a ‘water stewardship’ concept. The project’s goal is to develop, document and share a locally-suited, innovative water stewardship approach that achieves complimentary community and catchment-based actions that deliver socially equitable, sustainable and climate-resilient WASH and water resource outcomes. This water stewardship approach will be developed through a combination of action and formative research that aims to achieve: strengthened capacity for catchment-scale thinking amongst communities and stakeholders within a catchment; community-level and catchment-scale awareness of intergenerational and gendered perspectives on water resource values; leveraging of inter-community political economies and social networks for catchment-scale collaboration on water management; and community-scale action plans that recognise the impact of catchment activities and inter-connectedness between community WASH systems.

This I&I project is linked to New Times, New Targets: supporting Solomon Islands Government WASH transition and resilient WASH for all



Adapting Targeted Sanitation Subsidies for Climate Vulnerable Households

iDE in partnership with Causal Designs, Cambodia

This I&I project presents an opportunity to contribute to the prevention of households currently living in challenging environments like the Tonle Sap from being left behind as the rest of the Cambodian population approaches full sanitation coverage. To improve coverage in this area, iDE will adapt its targeted subsidy mechanism, developed under the Australian Government’s CS-WASH Fund I&I Grant then brought to scale during iDE’s current Water for Women project in Cambodia. The subsidy mechanism will be modified to consider and select for poverty and aspects of climate and gender vulnerability at the household level. This initiative will also refine the targeted subsidy model to be more practically usable in a variety of contexts by other implementers, including government. The project will involve developing this mechanism then testing it in a randomised controlled trial. iDE and Causal Design will conduct quantitative analyses on the impact, cost-effectiveness, market-distortionary effects, sustainability, and scalability of the subsidy mechanism. The formative research for this activity and pre-trial market testing of products are being supported by the European Commission, under the GREEN project.

This I&I project is linked to Cambodia water, sanitation, and hygiene scale-up program 2.0 (WASH-SUP2) 


Category 3: Individual Fund-partner ROs, or consortiums led by a Fund-partner RO


Self-supply in Asia and the Pacific

University of Technology Sydney – Institute for Sustainable Futures, Asia and Pacific regions

This project will facilitate the development of bespoke country-level and regional resources and stronger engagement with UNICEF and governments across the Asia-Pacific region. This includes close collaboration with UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, UNICEF country offices, and government counterparts to amplify the reach of the current Type 1 Water for Women research beyond Indonesia and Vanuatu and reach 13 other countries in the region. Efforts to further apply and disseminate the findings from the Water for Women research to the wider Asia-Pacific region will be of significant value to policymakers and practitioners, including WASH professionals within UNICEF country offices and their government partners. The main objective of the project is to improve understanding of self-supply in each country context, and in regional contexts, in order to support safely managed drinking water advocacy and practice in the region. The project will focus on contextualising the existing research results from UTS-ISF’s regional data analysis of self-supply to 15 priority countries in Asia and the Pacific.


This I&I project is linked Transitioning to safely managed water services in self-supply contexts [WRA1004]



Towards Transformation: Uptake of new guidance and tools in gender and WASH

University of Technology Sydney – Institute for Sustainable Futures in partnership with iDE, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and Pacific Water and Wastewater Association, Asia and Pacific regions

This I&I project will facilitate uptake and pilot use of key outputs generated through the Gender in WASH partnerships, workforce and impact assessment Water for Women Type 2 research project, with a focus on WASH workforce and impact assessment. The inclusive WASH workforce component will facilitate use of the Guidance (developed under the Water for Women research project) with a set of WASH sector actors in the Pacific. It will provide support to put elements of the Guidance into practice by the Pacific Water and Wastewater Association (PWWA) and/or their member organisations. It will also socialise and leverage the Guidance, through the PWWA Young Water Professionals Program, the PWWA’s engagement with the Asian Development Bank, and continued partnership with World Bank’s Equal Aqua initiative as well as providing support and leverage for future funding opportunities from the Australian Water Partnership.

The impact assessment component will support the uptake, use and impact of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Gender Equality Measure (WASH-GEM) including: deploying the WASH-GEM in an accessible open-source platform including automated analysis support with a visually rich results dash-board; developing co-designed training packages comprising pre-recorded online modules; and, providing hands-on training and coaching to teams in SNV and iDE to support their use of WASH-GEM in their programming (within and beyond Water for Women programs).

This I&I project is linked to Gender in WASH Partnerships, Workforce and Impact Assessment [WRA034]


Climate Change Response for Inclusive WASH: Transferring Knowledge for Greater Impact

University of Technology Sydney – Institute for Sustainable Futures, Asia and Pacific regions/ global

This I&I project will expand the impact of UTS-ISF’s Water for Women Climate Change Response for Inclusive WASH (CCRIW) project to a global level by developing a massive online open course (MOOC) and providing targeted training on the CCRIW materials to multiple UNICEF and other country programs. The project will design a MOOC to promote the learnings and materials produced in CCRIW. This course will familiarise users with the CCRIW approach and materials, as well as provide a foundational understanding of key thinking on climate change, gender and social inclusion and WASH. It will be open access for all. UTS-ISF will also conduct a webinar with Water for Women partners to socialise the MOOC.

In addition, drawing on experience sharing learnings from CCRIW with CSO partners, the project will develop webinars that will provide targeted engagement with UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office staff representing 10-15 country programs. The webinars will familiarise the participants with the CCRIW approach and materials and facilitate participants to consider their use in their own country programs. As a result, methods for addressing climate change impacts on GESI in WASH and related valuable lessons learned from CCRIW will reach interested stakeholders across the globe, and will be more strongly integrated in UNICEF and other Water for Women partner programs across the Asia-Pacific region.

This I&I project is linked to Climate Change Response for Inclusive WASH [WRA120]



PaCWaM+ Vanuatu – strengthening Drinking Water Safety & Security Planning in Vanuatu with lessons from Fiji and Solomon Islands

International WaterCentre, Griffith University in partnership with the University of the South Pacific and the Government of Vanuatu Department of Water Resources, Vanuatu

This project seeks to extend the impact of the existing Water for Women PaCWaM+ research by sharing lessons and tools on supporting community water management (CWM) gained from Fiji and Solomon Islands, with stakeholders in Vanuatu. This I&I project seeks to pilot and evaluate some modifications to Vanuatu’s drinking water safety and security planning (DWSSP), drawing on the PaCWaM+ lessons and experience. The project will share and apply key lessons from  PaCWaM+ research to the Vanuatu DWSSP process in a way that, if proven successful, could be incorporated with minimal cost and effort through targeted, complementary 'add-on' activities. An improved DWSSP will contribute to economic and health security of Vanuatu’s rural populations.

This I&I project is linked to Progressing inclusive, resilient and sustainable SDG6 and WASH outcomes in rural Pacific: approaches to enable effective community-based water management [WRA063]




Planning for Climate-resilient Urban WASH in Pacific Islands

International WaterCentre, Griffith University in partnership with the University of the South Pacific, Solomon Islands National University and Urban Analytics and City Systems, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu

This I&I project will extend Water for Women research on WASH in Vanuatu marketplaces, combined with IWC’s recent work using spatial analysis for planning WASH in settlements across Melanesia, to explore processes that enable planning: i) from the bottom-up supported by knowledge and information from the top-down; ii) that improves the resilience of WASH service delivery models to climate change and future population changes, and iii) that links to catchment-scale land use. The I&I project’s goal is to explore opportunities for contextually relevant processes that could be used in Pacific countries that allow for climate-resilient WASH service delivery integrated into urban and landscape planning.

This I&I project is linked to WASH, foodways, markets, women and COVID-19 in Vanuatu [RA01]



Feature image courtesy of iDE Cambodia / Tyler Kozole

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