Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney  

(Type 2) Research: WRA034

Research Focus: Gender equality and women's empowerment in WASH: strengthening civil society partnerships, workforce development and impact measurement 

Locations: Indonesia, Cambodia, Timor Leste and Nepal 

Partner CSOs: SNV, Plan International Australia, WaterAid, iDE and Thrive. 

Key Research Questions: 

How can CSOs more strategically engage with civil society, government and private sector actors to achieve gender and inclusive WASH policy, practice and outcomes? 

a) What are the drivers, benefits, and challenges of coordinated engagement between WASH organisations and women’s rights and advocacy organisations? 

b) How can women better participate in and benefit from contributing to the WASH workforce including enterprises and government institutions? 

c) How can a multi-dimensional index, complemented by qualitative approaches, generate evidence on attributable impacts of WASH on gender equality?    

Research Description: 

Despite increasing attention to gender equality and women’s empowerment in the WASH sector, there remain gaps in evidence and guidance for practitioners and policy-makers. This is particularly true as regards the three key areas addressed in this research: women's leadership and voice, intersectionality and empowerment. 

This research has three research components that will support improved CSO implementation as follows: 

  1. Civil society partnerships: The research will inform more effective, mutually beneficial partnerships between WASH CSOs and gender and women's rights organisations at national and local levels.
  2. Gender equality in the WASH workforce: The research will contribute to CSO empowerment outcomes for female entrepreneurs and support more inclusive program implementation by local and national governments.
  3. Impact measurement: The research will contribute to improved CSO partner monitoring of gender equality outcomes as well as broader sectoral monitoring efforts.

Taking a collaborative, co-design partnership approach, including in-country researchers and specialist agencies, the research will contribute to global evidence and practical guidance for CSOs and wider development partners. 

This research will help provide credible evidence to support advocacy of improving STBM GESI regulations at the national level while supporting the improvement of GESI WASH implementation at the local level. In addition, this research will help us [Plan Indonesia] improve our methods of partnership with gender, SGM, DPO and women’s right’s organisations

- Silvia Landa, Project Manager for Plan Indonesia’s Water for Women project

Photo: Women in the WASH workforce and community engaging in discussion and decisions on access to WASH services. (Credit: ISF-UTS Juliet Willetts)

Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney
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