The Institute for Sustainable Futures – University of Technology Sydney (ISF-UTS), University of Rajshahi (UoR), and World Vision Bangladesh (WVB) were invited to lead a webinar with World Vision International (WVI) about Gender Transformative, WASH Governance and Social Accountability on 16th August 2022. Key audiences for this webinar included World Vision’s Social Accountability Community of Practice, WASH Community of Practice and Gender and Social Inclusion Community of Practice. 109 participants joined globally representing National Offices, Support Offices and World Vision International. The webinar was hosted by Sarah Onduko-Obiri, Governance and Social Accountability Advisor and Lindsay Lange, WASH Knowledge Management and Capacity Advisor from World Vision International.

The webinar achieved several aims. First, participants learnt how social accountability can contribute to gender equality, social inclusion and gender transformation. Second, it demonstrated how National Offices can adopt a gender transformative approach to social accountability programming. Third, participants gained a better understanding on the role of citizens and especially women and people living with disability in WASH governance. Fourth, it inspired World Vision staff to adopt the research recommendations and guidance resources.

Abigail Will (Director for Gender Equality & Social Inclusion, WVI) provided opening remarks for the webinar. Samuel Diarra (Technical Director WASH, Quality and Innovation, WVI) explained the relevance of social accountability for WASH. Dr Keren Winterford (Research Director at ISF-UTS) and Professor Pranab Kumar Panday (University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh) shared research findings from the outcome assessment of gender transformative social accountability piloted through the SHOMOTA project, supported by the Australian government Water for Women Fund. Proshanto Sharma Roy (SHOMOTA Project Manager, WVB) gave insights from the SHOMOTA project that aims to equip key stakeholders within sub-national governments, schools, businesses and community-based organisations to improve gender- and disability- inclusive WASH in schools and communities in Bangladesh. A video was shown on the achievements of the gender transformative social accountability model, which was produced by WVB this year. Lindsay Lange (WASH Knowledge Management and Capability Advisor) led the plenary discussion and provided closing remarks.

Participants found the webinar very interactive and informative. The speakers responded to questions about the project model, curriculum and structure of the project team to achieve gender-transformative social accountability in SHOMOTA. SHOMOTA staff implemented sensitisation and awareness-raising sessions on citizen rights and entitlements, with both community members and government stakeholders and other WASH services providers.

In regard to the outcome assessment, the methods and indicators measuring gender-transformative change were discussed. The team shared that they had used CARE’s gender transformative framework which considers change in agency, relations and structures as a framework through which to learn about gender-transformative change.

Besinati Mpepo, WVI’s Technical Director for social accountability, shared that World Vision has now “incorporated stronger gender and social inclusion content in the Citizen Voice and Action Guidance Note – recognising what Keren said – that we need to identify more intentionally marginalised community members and those with multiple vulnerability markers”. WVI shared that Citizen Voice and Action has been applied in fragile contexts such as the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya with strong results in social accountability, however gender-transformative aspects of project design need to the strengthened. The gender transformative social accountability approach has been adopted in a new five-year Canadian funded project ‘Every Girl Can’ conducting innovative research on COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and adolescent girls reporting sexual and gender-based violence incidents at school in Mozambique. This project will be implemented by partners World Vision Canada, World Vision Mozambique, ActionAid Mozambique and HOPEM.

The Learning Paper from the outcome assessment of gender transformative social accountability will be shared on the ISF-UTS website and the Water for Women learning hub in the coming weeks.


Author: Tamara Megaw (Senior Research Consultant, ISF-UTS)