This super-interactive session aims to increase participant understanding of how  WASH interventions may lead to inclusive and transformative social and equality outcomes and a validated theory of change.

The session is anchored on a presentation of emerging findings from a large Campbell Collaboration mixed-methods systematic review. Read more on this project and the methodological plan for this review. The session will emphasize key gaps identified in the review and form the basis for discussion in breakout groups.

The first breakout group will discuss implications of review findings and gaps. Three groups focusing on gaps for research, policy, and implementation and evaluation of WASH interventions will be formed to address different implications of the findings and moderated by experts in these three areas. 

A second breakout group discussion will focus on a theory of change developed iteratively in the review that describes how WASH interventions lead to social and gender equality outcomes. See the initial theory of change . The discussion will aim to further modify and improve this theory of change drawing on participant experiences and explore its use and potential applications in participant activities. 

Evaluation in the WASH sector has traditionally focused on infrastructure, service levels or public health outcomes. This session aims to increase awareness about the importance of evaluating social and equality outcomes linked to WASH interventions. This is critical to ensure that the interventions accommodate the needs of people with different gender and social identities (including people with disabilities, differing age, religions, ethnicities and genders), but also contribute to transformative development by addressing unequal power relations, structures and norms.


The session has the following format: 

  • Introductory remarks, aims and format of session (5 minutes)
  • Presentation on findings from a systematic review with an emphasis on key identified gaps for the sector (15 minutes)
  • Breakout group 1 (20 minutes)

Discussion on implications of review findings and gaps. To focus on gaps for different areas of practice, participants will be able to select from three groups focusing on: gaps for research, implementation and evaluation of WASH interventions, and policy implications. 

  • Plenary reporting back (10 minutes)
  • Breakout group 2 (20 minutes)

Discussion and modification of the theory of change developed in the review, describing how WASH interventions lead to social and gender equality outcomes drawing on participant experiences. This discussion offers the opportunity to advance the theory of change further and explore its use and potential applications in participants’ activities. The groups will be divided to allow a focus on different outcome types with mixed representation from research, practice and policy communities. 

  • Plenary reporting back(10 minutes)
  • Concluding remarks (5 minutes)

Session convenors

  • SEI  
  • Water Aid
  • Department of Sociomedical Sciences,Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
  • EPPI-Centre, Social Research InstituteUniversity College London
  • Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia  
  • Social Research Methodology Group Social, Methodological & Theoretical Innovation ‘ Kreative (SOMETHIN’K), Centre for Sociological Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium  


The session is open to all registered participants of ‘World Water Week 2021’. Register below to attend.

Register for World Water Week 2021