Uncovering WASH Realities Through Photovoice

SLH Learning Papers 9
June 2020

With PhotoVoice research participants can express themselves in a visual medium instead of using words, which is beneficial for those who can’t communicate their WASH needs as easily or find it difficult to speak about taboo issues.

This SLH Learning Paper explores the potential of an innovative participatory visual method known as photovoice to help to achieve universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) by 2030. The paper outlines what photovoice is, and shares learning relating to its use in the WASH sector around the world for research, programming and advocacy.

It draws on lessons learned from these experiences to show how PhotoVoice can be used for learning in WASH, how it can be used with other methodologies to explore topics which are neglected or taboo, and the benefits and drawbacks of photovoice to consider. It includes practical recommendations for using photovoice in WASH and the ethical considerations to make when it is used. The paper reflects on how photovoice is important for exploring new frontiers in WASH, and can help us gain a deeper understanding into how people experience, interpret and respond to their realities.

Additional details

PublisherInstitute of Development Studies
CountryGhana, Pakistan, South Africa, Vanuatu
ThemesDisability, Gender, Incontinence, Leave no one behind, Menopause and perimenopause, Menstrual health and hygiene, Older people
ApproachesLearning approaches, Visual methods

Bhakta, A. (2020) ‘Uncovering WASH Realities Through PhotoVoice, SLH Learning Paper 9, The Sanitation Learning Hub, Brighton: IDS


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