Translating disability inclusive WASH policies into practice: lessons from Cambodia and Bangladesh

WaterAid/Farzana Hossen

One billion people in the world have a disability, and around 80% of them live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Many do not have access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, or have poor quality access. Over the last decade, countries have made progress in tackling discriminatory WASH legal frameworks, but implementing inclusive WASH policies remains a challenge for many. Few efforts to evaluate or document national policies on inclusive WASH exist, nor is there a form of systematic learning that draws together experiences from different countries to determine best practice or identify gaps in inclusive WASH service provision.

To address this, WaterAid is collaborating with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on a research project which aims to help improve disability-inclusive and gender-sensitive WASH policy making in LMICs through policy and practice guidance for governments.

Using Cambodia and Bangladesh as case studies, the overarching research question we hope to answer is: How can national WASH policies more effectively address the requirements of people with disabilities and their caregivers?

To answer this, we are:

  • reviewing Cambodia and Bangladesh's policy documents and evaluating large-scale inclusive WASH interventions;
  • conducting interviews with policy makers at national and district levels;
  • conducting interviews with people with disabilities and their caregivers to understand their requirements for, and access to, WASH services, and;
  • engaging stakeholders to verify findings, reflect on implications and agree key recommendations

Keep this page bookmarked to stay up to date on the research, including journal articles, briefing notes and WASH policy guidance on mainstreaming gender-sensitive and disability-inclusive WASH in policies and practice.

Further reading

Translating disability inclusive WASH policies into practice
With the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, we created this poster to document our research and learnings from Cambodia and Bangladesh

Building evidence on WASH experiences
By collaborating with disabled people’s organisations and the LSHTM, we hope to better understand the impacts of disability-inclusive WASH in Cambodia and Bangladesh, and to apply this evidence in other countries.

Equality and non-discrimination
We embrace the principles of equality and non-discrimination so everyone can unlock their potential, and break free from poverty.

Disability rights during COVID-19
Are the rights of people with disabilities included in international guidance on WASH during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Cambodia and Bangladesh: water, sanitation and hygiene policy analysis
How do WASH policies and programme documents capture the rights of women and girls, and people with disabilities?

Logos of ICED, Australian Aid, LSHTM and Water for Women

Top image: Parul, 60, uses a ramp outside Noapara Community Clinic in Gangni, Meherpur, Bangladesh, assisted by Shirin, 52, an employee of the clinic.