IWC research: Addressing water, sanitation and hygiene challenges in Pacific Island countries
Addressing complex and challenging issues entails access to credible systems information in the form of systems maps or diagrams. In an article recently accepted by Habitat International, researchers from the IWC “Fostering Sustainable WASH Marketplaces” project describe a participatory action research (PAR) systems mapping activity that was undertaken by an urban informal settlement community in a small Pacific Island country.
A total of 19 households participated in a systems mapping activity to map a household-level water or sanitation system. The individual household systems maps and related data were then used to construct a de-identified community-level water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) marketing systems map which delineated a series of marketing exchanges, and the article also reports on how the mapping activity has assisted the community to address a number of expressed needs.
The effectiveness of WASH marketing systems for achieving WASH outcomes in Melanesian communities, in particular informal urban or peri-urban communities, is unknown. Acquiring this knowledge requires a multidisciplinary study of existing and emerging marketing systems in impoverished communities and their enabling environment. This needs to be underpinned by theories of marketplace dynamics and executed through PAR methods. This project will generate vital knowledge for Pacific WASH practitioners and policy makers wanting to foster marketplace social action in communities.
Published research findings
The published research paper suggests that systems mapping is a valuable activity that communities could undertake to generate credible systems information to inform and empower collective planning and actions. A full version of the paper can be accessed online here.
For more information on Community Water and Sanitation in the Pacific: Fostering Sustainable WASH Marketplaces, visit the project page or contact Dr Dani Barrington, Research Fellow jointly appointed by Monash University and the International WaterCentre.