Practical Guidelines for Co-researching with Persons with Disabilities: Reflections and lessons learned in participatory research on Inclusive WASH in humanitarian responses

In 2020-2021, Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) Indonesia and the Philippines co-researched with persons with disabilities from the Working Group of Organisations of Persons with Disabilities in Palu, Sigi and Donggala (Working Group of Pasigala OPDs), Central Sulawesi. The research was intended to understand the barriers of ensuring disability and older age inclusion in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services following the earthquake, tsunami, and liquefaction disaster in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, in 2018.

From the experience of conducting this participatory research with persons with disabilities, ASB developed guidelines that chronicle the experiences of co-researching with persons with disabilities in the research process through documentation of reflections, lessons learned and examples of practices. Such documentation is essential given the lack of research practices that prioritise the meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities in all stages and key processes of research. Thus far, the roles of persons with disabilities in research have mainly been limited to being the research objects or enumerators.

In fact, research on disability subjects should always be conducted with persons with disabilities. Their involvement is imperative for upholding the principle of direct representation of persons with disabilities in matters related to them and the principle of ‘nothing about us without us.’ When persons with disabilities get the opportunity and support to become co-researchers, they bring many benefits to the research process and empower them.

These guidelines provide tips for participatory research with persons with disabilities. To learn more about these guidelines, download the documents here.

This research is part of the “Investing in Inclusive Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)”  project, funded by Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF).


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