In order to leave no one behind in rural water supply, it is essential to make extra efforts to include everyone, across all their life stages from birth to old age. Many people in rural communities face multiple barriers to using reliable water services even when water supplies exist in their communities. These include physical barriers – where services are difficult to use for people with disabilities, older people or children. Some people also experience social barriers, when they are stigmatised or marginalised for some reason, which makes it difficult for them to take part in planning and managing services. Institutional barriers also create barriers when the way services are planned and delivered systematically exclude the perspectives of people who are marginalised because of age, gender, or disability. And of course many experience economic barriers if they are not able to afford the tariffs for water. Throughout a life time many people will experience.

This topic explores ways to analyse and address the barriers faced by different groups in rural society. Discussions and webinars on this topic are an opportunity to share ways of designing inclusive services to make sure everyone can access safe drinking water, without discrimination.


Aim by 2030 (end of SDG period) Understand how to dismantle barriers preventing access to everyone across all stages of life, including disabled, older and other marginalised people in communities.

Expected Outcomes by 2023 (end of strategy period) That inclusion of people across all stages of life including those with disabilities, older people and others are systematically taken into account across all themes of the RWSN.

Activities planned 2018-2020:

  • Knowledge sharing and networking:
    • Sharing experiences
    • E-discussion in RWSN community
    • Promoting guidelines and tools
  • Inspiring and embedding:
    • Sharing examples of inclusive designs
    • Developing policy with governments
    • Influencing investments to make services inclusive

Key Publications



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