‘Do No Harm’ for Inclusive WASH: Working Towards a Shared Understanding

December 2019

This brief offers reflections and recommendations from the Water for Women Fund’s South Asia Regional Learning Event.

To understand Do No Harm, it is important to recognise:

  • Harm occurs on a continuum from smaller, every-day forms of discrimination to more egregious harms.
  • Discriminatory attitudes are the underlying cause of harms, which is why the concept of ‘transformation starts with ourselves’ is key.
  • Violence, or the threat of violence, is a daily reality in the lives of women and marginalised people. Our programming actions can alleviate or exacerbate this harm.

Recommendations from the event include:

  • In the face of harmful norms, doing nothing to challenge inequality does harm. Do No Harm requires a proactive not passive approach.
  • A genuine commitment to Doing No Harm demands that we, as development practitioners, look at our own conscious and unconscious attitudes, and the way we use our own power.
  • It is more constructive to focus on harmful norms as the problem that needs to be changed – not the groups harmed by those norms.

Additional details

PublisherWater for Women Fund
ThemesBehaviour change, Challenging contexts, Gender, Leave no one behind, Social marginalisation, Social norms

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