Women’s participation in WASH decision-making in rural communities in the Solomon Islands Open Access

Osada, Chiemi (Spring 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/b2773w74v?locale=en


Background: For women and girls, a lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) affects their economic productivity, educational attainment, physical health, and exposure to violence. However, women are often marginalized in WASH decision-making processes at the community level. In the Solomon Islands, the governments have developed policies and programs to address gender equality in WASH in rural communities, but the implementation of these policies have not been effective. To investigate this issue, a research team led by CARE, an international non-profit organization, conducted a qualitative study among six rural villages in Malaita and Isabel provinces in the Solomon Islands. The research team sought to understand gender disparity in rural WASH in the Solomon Islands, with the goal of providing an analysis of, and recommendations for, improving gender and social inclusion in rural WASH programming in the country.

Methods: This study is a secondary data analysis of the original research project that included 16 focus groups among four different populations: 1) adult males; 2) adult females; 3) male community leaders; and 4) female community leaders. This study examines differences in perceptions between men and women regarding women’s participation in WASH, and impediments to women’s involvement in WASH management in rural communities in the Solomon Islands.

Results: The analysis revealed six themes: 1) responsibility and roles of WASH-related activities; 2) decision making in WASH-related issues; 3) women's perceptions regarding other women's participation in WASH committees; 4) men's perceptions regarding women's participation in WASH committees; 5) challenges of involving women in the committee; and 6) safety concerns. The qualitative data revealed that while women used more water than men due to women’s responsibility for WASH-related household chores (such as collecting water and laundry), decision-making regarding WASH was dominated by males. Further, the study identified four significant barriers to women’s participation in decision-making regarding WASH management: time poverty; conflicts with husbands; gossip and criticism from other women; and lack of education.

Conclusion: From the findings, we concluded that WASH interventions must address power dynamics at the community and household levels for effective and sustainable implementation.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction 1

Chapter 2. Literature review 6

Chapter 3. Methods 25

Chapter 4. Results 35

Chapter 5. Discussion 53

References: 58

APPENDIX A Focus Group Discussion Guide 64

APPENDIX B Code Book 78

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