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Building community resilience to disasters in WaSH (water, sanitation and hygiene) during recovery

Krishnan, S; (2016) Building community resilience to disasters in WaSH (water, sanitation and hygiene) during recovery. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Recurring and multiple disasters affect water and sanitation facilities and disrupt services. The frequent displacement and disaster losses influence hygiene behaviour and recovery priorities. Post disaster water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) recovery support by government and NGOs and its linkages with development are under-researched areas. This research explores approaches for building community resilience in WaSH during recovery using two case studies from Eastern India, Assam and Odisha. Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) tools, semi-structured interviews, participant observations, photographs and documents are used to gather qualitative data. The analysis provides an understanding of WaSH during recovery at different scales including households, communities, governments and humanitarian agencies. In Assam and Odisha, there were changes in hygiene practices, access and availability of WaSH facilities, achieved through experiential learning and agency support. Learning within humanitarian NGOs occurred during implementation, mainly from the communities and technical experts. Government agencies in Assam focused on flood protection measures, which forced the floodaffected populations to relocate without any resettlement support. In Odisha, the government undertook effective evacuation and relief measures and planned for reconstruction, but largely ignored sanitation. During recovery water supply was prioritised over sanitation and hygiene, overlooking gender aspects and menstrual hygiene. Thus, an opportunity during recovery to influence WaSH practices and to address open defecation challenge is missed. The humanitarian action is fragmented across sectors that emphasise, prioritise productive assets such as livelihoods, and shelter over WaSH systems. This research argues for longer-term and intersectoral recovery programmes that reflect community priorities through increased participation. This will help in transforming pre-existing WaSH practices and attitudes towards sanitation. This thesis concludes that integrated approaches should consider the pre-disaster practices, recovery and development plans for effective programming. The recovery programmes should factor learning and effective participation for building community resilience and bringing about transformational changes.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Building community resilience to disasters in WaSH (water, sanitation and hygiene) during recovery
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third-party copyright material has been removed from this thesis.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1503507
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