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We are Elrha, a force for change in the humanitarian community. The research and innovation we support equips the humanitarian community with the knowledge of what works, so people affected by crises get the right help when they need it most.
Our purpose is clear: to empower the humanitarian community to improve humanitarian response. We make this happen by supporting and championing the outcomes of robust research and proven innovations.
We empower the humanitarian community. Find out how we can support you...

What humanitarian need is being addressed?

In 2015 Humanity & Inclusion found that 75% of people with disabilities believe they are excluded from humanitarian responses to emergencies like natural disasters and conflicts. There is also evidence to suggest that people living with disabilities and older people are at a disproportionately greater risk of not having adequate access to water and sanitation.

The research undertaken in this project will addresses the need for better understanding the barriers for disability and older age inclusive WASH provision in humanitarian settings.

This examination of evidence will equip humanitarian actors to address technical issues and strengthen organisational confidence around investing in inclusive WASH. Conducting a situational analysis in the affected areas will feed service providers with a sound understanding of the needs and gaps regarding inclusive WASH. Further, through building the capacity of Organisations for People with Disabilities (OPDs) and Older People’s Associations (OPAs) the research will provide a practical example of how to secure meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities and older persons in inclusive WASH.

What is the innovative solution and how will it improve existing humanitarian practice?

This solution is in the problem recognition stage of the innovation cycle, where the team aims to better understand and define the issues that need addressing.

This research will be conducted using a social model of disability framework. Through this, it will examine three types of barriers to inclusive WASH faced by persons with disabilities and older persons:

  • Environmental
  • Attitudinal
  • Institutional

There is significant evidence to demonstrate the prevalence of environmental barriers (e.g. physical access to facilities and services). Yet, there is still limited understanding of the underlying factors that hinder the provision of inclusive WASH. The research will use situational analysis to holistically explore how the different barriers are operating, and how they are understood by various actors including older persons and persons with disabilities, as well as WASH service providers.

The identified barriers will be analysed using the nine key Humanitarian Inclusion Standards to achieve a robust understanding on why inclusive WASH is not yet established.

The research involves meaningful participation of persons with disabilities and older people in building their capacity to better engage with the WASH sector and self-advocate their rights to inclusive WASH.

Expected Outcomes

The expected outcomes of the project include:

  1. Research design and instruments which are participatory, accessible and relevant for WASH sector.
  2. Project team and local partner organisations are up-skilled with sufficient knowledge and skills related to the research topic, approaches, and ethics.
  3. Project technical reports with relevant recommendations for policy makers and practitioners at all levels.
  4. Practical tool/brief on inclusive WASH focused on gaps identification in different contexts.
  5. Broader local and national practices are informed by advocacy on inclusive WASH with the meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities and older persons.
  6. Validated and peer reviewed documentation of key findings, disseminated at regional and global Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) or humanitarian response related conferences and consultation forums.
  7. Persons with disabilities and older persons have the skills needed to advocate, promote and influence inclusion in the WASH sector.
Members of an OPD delivering hygiene promotion sessions for community members, Mantikole Village in Sigi, Central Sulawesi. Credit: Dwi Oblo for ASB Indonesia and the Philippines.
An IDP woman with a disability enters an accessible latrine built by ASB in Bamba Palu, Central Sulawesi

Related Resources

Report COVID-19, Disability & Older Age Inclusion, Water, sanitation & hygiene

Rapid review of disability and older age inclusion in WASH

Feature Photo: Members of an Organisation of Persons with Disabilities-OPDs delivering hygiene promotion session for community members of Mantikole Village in Sigi, Central Sulawesi. Credit: Dwi Oblo for ASB Indonesia and the Philippines.

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