Inspiring local government heroes of climate action for Inclusive WASH


 March 2023


SNV, together with the University of Technology Sydney – Institute for Sustainable Futures, recently completed this Innovation and Impact (I&I) project. The project successfully implemented innovative Q-methodology and generated valuable insights into the motivations and barriers faced by local governments in Nepal and Lao PDR when it comes to WASH sector climate action. The project also highlighted Q-methodology's effectiveness, replicability, and low-cost implementation.

You can read more about the project and the research findings in the project wrap up:

"Climate Heroes" study reveals insights into local government actions for inclusive WASH


Blue background with white text stating "Innovation & Impact"

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV)

Partnering with: the University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Sustainable Futures and The National University of Lao PDR.


Innovation and Impact projects are contributing to ongoing research and development in Water for Women as a way of strengthening the use of new evidence, innovation and practice for inclusive, sustainable and resilient WASH.


Beyond the Finish Line is a five-year Water for Women project being led by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, to improve the health, gender equality, social inclusion and wellbeing of rural people in Lao PDR and Nepal.


In the process of delivering improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) outcomes for households, institutions, schools and healthcare facilities in target regions, SNV and partners have observed that local governments are finding it challenging to grapple with the impacts of climate change. Some of the impacts are already apparent, but many local governments find the reality of climate change intangible or overwhelming.


Through the Innovation and Impact project, local governments in Lao PDR and Nepal are being inspired to overcome barriers to addressing climate change impacts within their jobs, and to become champions of climate action for inclusive WASH.


The research team is applying innovative techniques for understanding the motivators and constraints of local governments to tackle climate change issues in the WASH sector.


A Q-methodology technique is being used to learn about participants’ experiences with droughts, flooding, and storms, how these hazards affect people differently, and self-reflection on what they can and should accomplish in their roles. The insights are supporting the development of targeted interventions, and identification of ‘would-be heroes’ or champions within local governments to mentor.


The research team is using findings to trigger action and develop tailored support to motivated local government authorities to act on climate change, including training and trialling of an appropriate action research process with identified ‘would-be heroes’ in the target local government areas.


This process draws on user-centred design thinking techniques that have been successfully employed in the ‘Making Rights Real’ approach within the Beyond the Finish Line project, which inspires potential champions of the human right to water and sanitation (‘would-be heroes’) in other contexts to take action.


This project is highly collaborative, involving civil society organisations, international and local researchers, and government actors to support incremental and achievable climate actions at the local level in the rural WASH sector.


This project is also producing guidance on replicating successful methods and transferring these to other contexts, and case study outputs for Lao PDR and Nepal, which illustrate the relevance and feasibility of addressing climate change impacts on WASH systems and services at a local government level. This project is strengthening climate adaptation and resilience with linkages to inclusive WASH.



SNV Netherlands development organisation logo in blue
UTS ISF Logo in black
Ability Bhutan logo

The Australian aid program is investing in innovation and learning to deepen impact in Nepal and Lao PDR through the Innovation and Impact grants. By supporting partners to further their innovation and impact, we can not only improve WASH outcomes in these countries, but also contribute to improved WASH policy and practice globally. Water for Women is proud to be partnering with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, the University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Sustainable Futures and The National University of Lao PDR.


Photo by SNV / Bart Verweij

Contact Us