Engaging corporate actors for inclusive WASH-at-work

The objective of the project is to understand current GESI WASH-at-Work and broader water stewardship issues in the tourism sectors of Indonesia and Fiji.

Research partners: Griffith University, University of the South Pacific (Fiji), The University of Udayana (Indonesia) and Institute of Technology Bandung (Indonesia)

Focus: This project will focus on helping hotels implement gender equitable and socially inclusive (GESI) WASH-at-Work programs within a broader water, contributing to sustainable development of the tourism sector and in host communities in Fiji and Indonesia.

Research context:

Inclusive access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is important for the tourism sector to maintain a strong reputation with tourists and social licence to operate from local communities.

Tourism is a key driver of economic development, is geographically dispersed, employs a significant number of women, and is a substantial consumer of water and source of hard waste and wastewater. However, both in Fiji and Indonesia, engagement between government stakeholders and the tourism sector to create effective GESI WASH-at-Work outcomes is informal to non-existent. The lack of engagement provides opportunities to introduce the concept of a value proposition and to improve stakeholders’ recognition of the range of benefits from investment in GESI WASH-at-Work in the tourism sector, then to broader society. The value proposition for this project can be defined as the ways that businesses believe they can add value to their commercial enterprise by improving WASH practices. Underlining the project’s methodology is the concept of Water Stewardship, through which the team will take a whole-of-catchment view to holistically consider the most effective use of water while protecting the environment and ensuring water usage is socially and culturally equitable.

In this research project we will work with government, the tourism sector, and local communities to examine and understand the motivators, benefits, and pathways for supporting GESI WASH-at-Work programs. We will consider both i) GESI WASH in the workspace and ii) the over the fence impacts of improved GESI WASH practices on nearby communities where workers live.

Research project:

The objective of the project is to understand current GESI WASH-at-Work and broader water stewardship issues in the tourism sectors of Indonesia and Fiji. It explores the potential for and develop a value proposition that considers country and sector specific approaches. It will enable the tourism sectors in Fiji and Indonesia to most effectively implement GESI WASH-at-Work programs that contribute to sustainable development of the sector and in host communities.

The project has three research questions:

  1. What is the value proposition, including the business case, for a GESI WASH at-Work program in the tourism sector?
  2. What are effective water stewardship approaches to support the adoption of a GESI WASH-at-Work program in the tourism sector?
  3. What are the barriers to, and opportunities for, engaging governments and civil society organisations (CSOs) to support the scale-up of WASH-at-Work in the tourism sector?

Approach:

The research team is co-designing research tools to assess GESI WASH-at-Work across a range of hotels (small, medium, and large) and different types of tourism (eco-tourism, beachside resorts, or business tourism).

  1. Formative research: We are working with government, the tourism sector and communities to document WASH current practices, and motivations, risks and barriers that may influence support for improved GESI WASH-at-Work in tourism. The formative research focuses on four case studies, two in Fiji (Coral Coast and Suva) and two in Eastern Indonesia (Labuan Baju and Mandalika, Lombok).
  2. Action research – Co-design and validation: Working closely with local actors and specific hotels, we will co-design GESI WASH-at-Work toolkits to improve practices. We will also develop a value proposition for improved GESI WASH-at-Work for the private sector and operators. Following co-design and validation of the toolkits, the team will share toolkits and findings and encourage government to support adoption of the tools in the private sector.
  3. Consolidation and recommendations: Finally, we will workshop with in-country actors to thoroughly disseminate the knowledge, findings, and tools created by the research.

Outputs:

As well as the above mentioned tools, the project will produce a GESI integrated conceptual framework, a research methodology, and tools to gather data to support the articulation of a value proposition for GESI WASH-at-Work in the tourism sector. It will examine links between employees’ WASH practices in the workplace and those in their local communities.

Research outputs will inform:

  • guidelines that provide a context-specific value proposition and tools for hotels to support and deliver GESI WASH-at-Work programs
  • GESI WASH-at-Work guidelines and tools to enable tourism operators to improve their WASH impacts on local communities
  • policy guidance for government to support hotels and the tourism sector in providing effective WASH through a GESI WASH-at-Work program

Benefits of the research:

“Tourism has an important position in the sustainable development of Fiji and Indonesia. I am excited to investigate how we can leverage the sector to improve the water, sanitation, and hygiene outcomes in local communities, working towards SDG 6, and improving the lives of everyone in Fiji and Indonesia.”

Utami Dwipayanti

Indonesian Research Lead

Centre  for Public Health Innovation, Udayana University

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