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IWC at WASH Futures 2016 conference

The International WaterCentre made a splash at the WASH conference in May, sharing innovation and lessons from many of our capacity building and research projects.
IWC at WASH Futures 2016 conference

IWC staff championed four training workshops, nine presentations and co-authored a poster at WASH 2016

The IWC has been busy since the last conference, working with many partners on applied research and capacity-building projects in the Pacific and SE Asia. During the five-day conference, we championed four training workshops, made six presentations and co-facilitated another three, and co-authored one poster. Here’s some highlights from our training workshops (full workshop reports will be available from the conference website in the coming weeks).

WASH for Informal Settlements

The IWC convened a workshop with Monash University, the World Bank’s Global Water Practice, WaterAid and Kings College (UK) and more than 50 conference delegates to discuss WASH in informal settlements. By exploring case studies of WASH situations in informal settlements in Indonesia, Mozambique, Malawi, Bangladesh, and Melanesia in the Pacific. We learned that the social, cultural, environmental, political and governance situations differ greatly between different settlements. From a WASH perspective, there are typically limited household connections to piped water, sewerage is absent and faecal sludge management is poor, and good personal hygiene is difficult with limited water and sanitation. Common barriers to service delivery and governance of WASH in informal settlements included land insecurity, environmental hazards, poor planning for urban growth, poverty and social/cultural/economic diversity within settlements. Despite these challenges, some successful strategies are emerging, including government-led initiatives in Indonesia, participatory approaches with settlers and enabling actors in the Pacific, and multi-stakeholder agreements between community-based organisations, utilities and NGOs in Bangladesh. 

Climate Change Adaptation for Sustainable WASH and Community Resilience 

This interactive workshop was led by the IWC, Griffith University, the University of Alabama, and the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney. In a strong indication of the growing interest in the topic of climate change and WASH, this workshop was the first of the 18 workshops and training sessions at the Conference to reach capacity during registration, with over 60 delegates attending on the day. The workshop began with small group discussions on the projected impacts of climate change on WASH systems and processes in different national and regional contexts. Incremental changes in the climate system will be felt strongly throughout the water cycle, while extreme weather events and other shocks further threatening to hinder and in some cases reverse progress towards WASH goals under SDG 6. Participants acknowledged the potential for climate change to also generate some positive outcomes, for example, through increased access to climate financing in the WASH sector and more integrated national planning processes. 

Throughout the day, a range of useful data sources and tools to guide climate change adaptation planning and decision-making in WASH were identified, including mobile survey technologies which enable data collection on multiple water source use and management, and Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) modelling to assess adaptation options under different climate scenarios, taking into consideration local knowledge and WASH system dynamics. 

The need to recognise, build on, and compliment traditional knowledge and local adaptation strategies for climate-resilient WASH was a recurring theme throughout the day, with examples from Water Use Master Planning processes in Nepal, and Drinking Water Safety Planning in the Pacific region. The workshop ended with groups developing advocacy plans for WASH and climate change adaptation, using the Theory of Change.

Building awareness of effective strategies for WASH in Schools

Over 40 participants from a wide range of organisations and countries participated in an interactive workshop focused on building understanding and skills for improving WASH in schools. 

In the workshop participants used a simple systems approach to explore the range of issues that can inhibit good service delivery of WASH at school, district and central government levels. The UNICEF bottleneck approach was introduced as a framework to categorise school WASH challenges and to allow managers to prioritise responses in a systematic manner.

The workshop was developed and delivered in collaboration with Unicef, GIZ and Live and Learn Environmental Education. The collaborative approach used for delivery of the workshop allowed the sharing of a wide range of experiences. Brooke Yamakoshi, from Unicef highlighted the evidence for WASH in schools, and called for greater attention to equity in access. An equity perspective demands attention within schools, for girls and children with disabilities, and between schools, such as those in urban and rural areas, in conflict zones and in other challenging environments. Jed Asiaii, shared the experience of GIZ from implementation of the three star approach in the Philippines. Jed highlighted key steps for scaling up school initiatives and critical steps for keeping WASH in schools program simple, scalable and sustainable. Iva Koroisamanunu from Live and Learn shared experiences from taking a bottom-up approach to the bottleneck analysis. In Vanuatu, Live & Learn has used data generated from their bottleneck analysis in schools to engage regional and national level actors and to advocate for minimum standards for WASH in schools. 

The workshop finished with a panel discussion where, with input from the participants, a number of key lessons and follow up action areas were identified. These include recognition of the adaptability of the bottleneck approach to be used in different contexts, at different levels, and that it is not dependent on external support, but rather can be championed directly by schools and education departments. There was strong emphasis on the need to build on existing school systems at all stages of design, implementation and monitoring of WASH in schools.

A workshop report will be made available on WASH 2016 website with links to key resources and case studies used in the workshop. 

Behaviour change and WASH

Together with LSHTM, LaTrobe University, WaterAid and United Church, the IWC convened a training workshop on behaviour change interventions and programs for WASH outcomes, acknowledging that good WASH programs need to address not only access to infrastructure but also the ways humans interact with that infrastructure, in other words, WASH behaviours. We started with a little bit of theory about the fundamentals of human behaviour and strategies to change behaviours. To practice desirable WASH behaviours, people need knowledge about the behaviour, facilities/equipment and opportunity to do the behaviour, and intention to practice the behaviour, which can be influenced by the setting. We discussed six case studies to help us explore how to incorporate emotional/socio-physiological triggers to programs to change WASH behaviours; how to design or adapt behaviour change tools and issues relating to piloting and scaling-up behaviour change interventions. As participants, we used an example of a behaviour we wanted to change in our lives, to better understand behaviour change strategies; which led to some very interesting and entertaining discussions!  

More information

For more information, please contact:
Regina Souter
Director – Research, Training and Capacity partnerships
P: +61 7 3014 0200



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