The University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Sustainable Futures


(Type 2) Research: WRA120

Research Focus: Supporting CSOs to assess climate change impacts and improve the service, gender and social inclusion outcomes of WASH programs 

Locations: Indonesia and Timor-Leste 

Partner CSOs: Plan International Australia and WaterAid

Key Research Questions:

How can CSOs assess climate change impacts to help improve the service, gender and inclusion outcomes of rural WASH programs?   

  1. How comprehensively do CSOs currently assess climate change impacts on WASH services?
  2. How does climate change affect WASH programs' achievement of GESI outcomes?
  3. What methods can assist CSOs to combine risk-hazard, vulnerability-capacity and socio-ecological approaches to understanding and responding to climate change?
  4. How can CSO-WASH practitioners encourage partners to adopt climate change assessment findings and approaches?

"This is an important opportunity for researchers from the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS to work alongside partners Plan and WaterAid to better understand and address the critical and uncertain impacts of climate change, in order to secure and improve GESI and WASH service outcomes."

Associate Professor Joanne Chong, Research Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures


Research Description: 

Climate change is leading to water stress and insecurity and threatens the sustainability of WASH services across the Asia-Pacific, including in Plan Indonesia and WaterAid Timor-Leste's WfW locations. There is an opportunity to support the WASH sector to build knowledge about how to address the multiple, intersecting impacts of climate change on WASH services and the health, gender equality and wellbeing of communities. 

UTS-ISF will draw from a wide range of CCA, WASH and GESI disciplines and on recent UTS-ISF research on different approaches for assessing climate change. This research will enable CSOs to: 

1) Assess how climate change affects WASH service, gender and inclusion outcomes;

2) Use the assessment information and replicate the methods in their WfW projects; and

3) Encourage adoption of climate change assessment findings and methods by other WASH practitioners and local governments.  

The research will build on recent UTS-ISF research on different disciplinary and sectoral approaches for addressing climate change, including

(i)  physical risk/hazard analysis

(ii)  capacity-vulnerability assessments, and

(iii)  socio-ecological approaches.

“This research will give us [Plan Indonesia] an opportunity to explore and find practical ways to implement integrated conceptual frameworks of climate change adaptation (CCA), WASH and gender equity and social inclusion (GESI). In practice, these three concepts can’t and shouldn’t be separated”. 

Silvia Landa, Water for Women Project Manager, Plan Indonesia 


“We’re seeing firsthand the impact of climate change in the areas we work. This research will be invaluable in helping us to better understand and respond to the broader impacts of climate change on communities, in a gender-sensitive and inclusive way.” 

Luke Lovell, Learning and Documentation Advisor, WaterAid Australia 


 Innovation & Impact


In 2021, this project was awarded an Innovation and Impact grant to further strengthen the use of new evidence,
innovation and practice in sustainable and inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and, in doing so, contribute to improved learning and practice globally. 

Led by the University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Sustainable Futures this Innovation and Impact project is expanding on the research, learning and impact of CCRIW which explores the different approaches for assessing and addressing the multiple intersecting impacts of climate change on WASH services, gender equality and wellbeing of communities. The project will bring this learning to a global audience by developing an online course and targeted training to materials for multiple UNICEF country


Learn more


Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney
Plan International Australia

Photo: Community members collecting water prior to having access to reliable services, Timor-Leste. (WaterAid/Tom Greenwood)

Contact Us