Inclusive research: working with organisations of persons with disabilities in WASH research

Data collection trial
Conducting a research was not a familiar thing to do for most members of the Working Group of Organisations of Persons with Disabilities in Palu Sigi Donggala (Pokja OPDis Pasigala). But through one of ASB’s research project “Investing in inclusive WASH: Identifying barriers and values,” they have been introduced to research activities. 25 members of Pokja OPDis Pasigala are currently taking part in the preparatory stage of data collection activities.

Aimed to explore the underlying factors that hinders inclusion in humanitarian activities, particularly in the provision of WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) services, this research project is being collaboratively conducted by ASB, Pokja OPDis Pasigala, and Gadjah Mada University. Working area of the research are 20 villages in Sigi and Donggala District of Central Sulawesi Province. This project is funded by the Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID). More information about this project is available

Previously, a series of 10 online trainings on various themes related to introduction and basic principles of research have been conducted from May to June 2020. A dedicated session on how to ethically interact and engage with persons with disabilities in research setting has also been carried out. Earlier in July, members of Pokja OPDis Pasigala performed data collection trials. This activity was aimed not only to prepare the members of Pokja OPDis Pasigala, but also to ensure the usability of the data collection tools.
The trials were undertaken in 9 villages, involving 6 persons with disabilities and 6 older persons as respondents. Through this initial process, members of Pokja OPDis Pasigala have already acquired important learning points. Arta, a member of Pokja OPDis Pasigala, was worried if she meets a Deaf respondent who is not familiar with Sign Language. But when she actually had to interview a Deaf respondent without Sign Language, she came up with a practical solution to use written messages, and her communication with the respondent went smoothly. Similar to Arta, other Pokja OPDis Pasigala also faced some challenges when conducting the trials. Kusmiran who has mobility limitations had to deal with inaccessible environment. She even had to climb a gate when she visited a respondent in Kaleke Village.
Despite the challenges that they already face in the initial process of the research, members of Pokja OPDis Pasigala showed great enthusiasm during their involvement in the training and trial activities. They also provide applicable inputs to ASB and the Gadjah Mada University research team to improve and adjust the tools, methods, and approach in order to make the research more relevant to the context and impactful for future WASH provisions. Pokja OPDis Pasigala will also be utilizing the results and findings of this research, and lead an advocacy effort to foster the inclusive provision of WASH services, particularly in humanitarian response setting. (Rizma Kristiana)

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