Improving WASH in Pacific Island schools by embracing local epistemologies

Michelle Redman-Maclaren, Dani Barrington, David Maclaren, Humpress Harrington, David Cram, Jeanette Selep

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim for universal water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) by 2030. It is widely accepted within the sector that we have already picked the “low hanging fruit”, and that as we get nearer to universal coverage it will become more and more difficult for remaining communities to attain safely managed WASH. To inform the programming of Adventist Development and Relief Agency’s (ADRA’s) programmes to bridge this gap in WASH infrastructure, education and behaviours, we were commissioned to prepare a synthesis of the literature relating to improving WASH in schools for girl students and students with disabilities in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). The review of the literature highlighted a lack of published information on relevant interventions or practices in PICTs, despite the availability of information on WASH in schools globally.

However, this is not indicative of a lack of knowledge within the PICTs context. The literature that is available highlights the importance of student-centred or student-led approaches to improving WASH, suggesting that the contextualisation of programs to local socio-cultural conditions is key to success. Based on the authors’ experiences of participatory action research and indigenist research approaches, we suggest how local knowledge and practices can be incorporated into processes for learning from, and improving WASH for, girl students and students with disabilities. Such a methodology would benefit from giving primacy to local epistemologies, while being informed by published literature as a source of useful information.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventWASH Futures - Brisbane Convention Centre, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 5 Mar 20189 Mar 2018


ConferenceWASH Futures


Dive into the research topics of 'Improving WASH in Pacific Island schools by embracing local epistemologies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this