The Sanitation Learning Hub
The Sanitation Learning Hub is a participatory and action-oriented programme aimed at promoting & facilitating timely, relevant and actionable learning and research in the Sanitation and Hygiene sector.
Earlier this year, the Sanitation Learning Hub team published a call for applicants to undertake a gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) audit of the programme to identify how GESI issues are addressed in our activities and internal organisation processes. Over April and May, a team of gender and social inclusion experts from the Water for Women Fund reviewed publications and internal policies, undertook interviews with partners and facilitated the team through a GESI self-assessment tool.
All the data collected was then shared with the team through an online validation, reflection and action planning workshop. The self-assessment tool has now been published for others to use. This blog outlines our experience of the process.
The SLH team wanted to see if we were indeed delivering what we wanted to achieve, see where our strengths were as well as weaknesses and areas which needed more attention and development. In addition, we wanted to see how our activities could better support more transformative change. Finally, we wanted to practise what we preach, and open ourselves up to the type of scrutiny we have in the past proposed for others.
The audit team found we had ‘a clear and long-standing commitment to women’s empowerment, considerable work on disability, a track record in addressing poverty and rural development, and a strong theoretical and practical orientation towards a ‘leave no one behind’ approach’. And encouraged us to continue keep a focus in publications and activities on strengthening opportunities for the empowerment of women in all their diversities.
They also commended our approach to partnership, with a commitment to equality and mechanisms in place to receive feedback. They also highlighted that the IDS strategy was an excellent example of a twin track approach – both targeting and mainstreaming GESI.
It was found that the Hub could do better at mainstreaming GESI across our broader portfolio of work. Racism/decolonisation, age, sexual and gender minorities, urban poverty and sanitation and working with men as role models for gender equality were all flagged as GESI topics the Hub could focus on in the future. The audit team also suggested that the Hub make GESI considerations explicit across all its publications.
A suggested starting point for this was creating clear statements of key terms such as decolonisation, gender transformative WASH and inclusion and then stating publicly what our commitments to them are. We were also challenged to increase our engagement with rights holders’ organisations, strengthen our GESI monitoring processes and do more work to clarify and apply intersectionality into our work.
As a team we agreed to:
What we need to start doing:
If you are interested in undertaking a similar assessment, the Hub along with Water For Women have published the self-assessment tool, to be found here.