How to better understand the experiences of children who wet themselves

Claire A. Rosato-Scott, Dani Barrington

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference presentation/ephemerapeer-review


Sometimes children wet themselves. This can be because they have the medical condition of urinary incontinence; or it can be because they don’t want to use the toilet facilities available or because they can’t use the toilet facilities available. Without adequate support, the physical health of children who wet themselves can suffer; they can miss out on educational and livelihood opportunities; and they have increased protection risks due to the stigma of self-wetting.
Understanding of the experiences of people who wet themselves in emergency settings is still in its early stages. A research partnership between University of Leeds, The University of Western Australia, University of York, Plan International UK, Plan International Uganda, UNICEF Bangladesh and World Vision Bangladesh has been aiming to better understand the barriers to inclusion that children (aged five to 11) living with self-wetting and their caregivers face, so that more holistic, effective and inclusive WASH programmes can be developed.

A story book methodology was developed to engage children based in Cox’s Bazar refugee camp (Bangladesh) and Adjumani District (Uganda) in discussions of self-wetting. The participation of children in research conducted in humanitarian contexts to understand how they experience their own health (rather than asking an adult proxy) is not commonplace. The project team would like to present a) why this is the case; b) how we developed research methods to ensure the ethical participation of children in the research; and c) preliminary lessons learned from the project.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
EventColorado WASH Symposium - Boulder, Boulder, United States
Duration: 11 Mar 202112 Mar 2021


ConferenceColorado WASH Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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