The Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney (ISF-UTS) and the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) were successfully awarded a grant from the then Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) to investigate success, enablers and measures of gender outcomes in water and sanitation initiatives in the Pacific, to inform policy and practice. The research was carried out from 2009-2011. ISF-UTS and IWDA worked in partnership with Live and Learn Environmental Education (LLEE) in Fiji and World Vision in Vanuatu.
The research focused on two Pacific case studies that incorporate participatory strategies and support community decision making processes as part of water and sanitation initiatives, but were not focused on gender equality as a primary outcome: World Vision’s Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) initiatives in rural Vanuatu and Live and Learns water governance and sustainable communities projects in Fiji.
The field research used a strengths-based approach that was informed by principles of empowerment, appreciation and participation. The intention was for the research to build on existing strengths and be a learning process for all involved. For participant organisations, documenting successes and enablers was hoped to lead to a stronger focus on gender, and increased capability to integrate gender into water and sanitation projects. At a strategic level, the research aimed to support integration of gender in a sector with significant potential to contribute to gender equality.
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