Conflict and WASH

When working in conflict contexts, it is important for projects to be sensitive to their impact on the dynamics and drivers of the conflict. In the case of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects it may be possible to design activities to have a positive impact on the conflict itself, rather than just on WASH needs.

Tearfund's conflict-sensitive approach to WASH in conflict-affected and fragile states is based on a growing understanding of the contribution of WASH service delivery to peacebuilding and state-building. WASH programming can provide a key entry point for capacity building (strengthening governance and accountability) and infrastructural development, as well as acting as a vehicle for citizen engagement, community mobilisation and empowerment.

‘ ...Given the prominence of WASH needs in fragile and conflict-affected states, such programmes will remain essential and therefore should be designed to take advantage of these opportunities. They should not only deliver basic services, but also contribute towards building peaceful and stable societies.’

from Double Dividends report

Our guidance notes on Fragile and Conflict Affected States & WASH 

WASH Tool for conflict sensitivity programming (PDF 821 KB) A step-by-step guide to the project cycle for a conflict-sensitive WASH project.

Double Dividends: Exploring how water, sanitation and hygiene programmes can contribute to peace and state-building (PDF 2.2 MB) Both WASH and peace and state-building outcomes must become explicit objectives or dynamics to be monitored within service delivery. This integrated approach can support the sustainability and resilience of WASH service provision.

Relationships between WASH service delivery, peace-building and state building (PDF 719 KB) This literature review explores the ways in which water, sanitation and hygiene services can contribute to the process of peace-building and state-building in states affected by conflict.