At the end of each definition in this Glossary there is a number in brackets. This indicates the number of the Study Session where the term is used and defined in this OpenWASH module.

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degree to which designs, structures and services are usable (accessible) by people who have limited mobility (ability to walk) or other disabilities (1)

accessibility and safety audit

participatory process used to evaluate water and sanitation facilities with the purpose of improving accessibility for people with disabilities and safety for all users (4)

assistive device

device that helps someone overcome or manage their disability including mobility aids (e.g. wheelchair, crutches, cane) and hearing aids; also devices that overcome barriers such as ramps (2)


barrier (to inclusion)

something that prevents or hinders accessibility or the full participation of persons with disabilities (2)


system of writing using raised dots on a page that enables visually impaired people to read (2)


CLTSH (community-led total sanitation and hygiene)

participatory method for changing community behaviour to stop open defecation and encourage good hygiene practices (5)

communication barriers

absence of aids for people with impairments that affect communication, e.g. Braille, signposts, sign language interpreters (2)

community participation

process of involving a community or its representatives in planning and decision-making processes that have direct or indirect consequences on their lives (5)



functional limitation as a result of partial or complete loss of the function of a body part, and the resulting limitations and restriction that an individual has in society; disability results from impairment combined with barriers in the environment (2)

disaggregated data

data about a population that has separate records for different categories or groups of people (2)


environmental barriers

see physical barriers

exclusion (from WASH)

when a person or group of people are prevented from having access to water, a toilet or handwashing facility, or where access is very difficult for them (1)



identity based on the roles in society that are associated with being male or female, both in public and private life (3)

gender equality

principle that men and women have exactly the same status, rights and opportunities (3)

gender mainstreaming

giving equal priority to the interests of both genders at all stages of a process (3)



loss of a function of the body (2)

inclusion (in WASH)

when the needs of all members of a given community, regardless of who they are and their circumstances, are fully addressed in the design, planning and implementation of WASH services (1)

inclusive design

design of any product or service that makes it accessible to and usable by as many people as possible, regardless of age, gender and disability (also known as universal design) (2)


something that can be counted, measured or assessed, and provides evidence of progress towards achieving a specific goal (3)

institutional barriers

policies, programmes and directives that do not include clear statements about inclusion and how it should be achieved; also a lack of knowledge and skills among decision-makers (2)



ensuring that an issue or topic is always at the centre (in the mainstream) of consideration and not left to one side or ignored (1)

marginalised group

people who, in the opinion of others, are considered to be insignificant or not important, and as a result are confined to the outer limits (or margins) of society (1)

meaningful participation

participation in which everyone involved actively contributes to all stages of a project and doesn’t just receive information about it (5)

menstrual hygiene management

systems that enable women and girls to have access to private facilities for the disposal and/or washing of materials used to absorb menstrual blood, and access to facilities for washing themselves (3)


open defecation free (ODF)

situation where everyone in a community has access to a latrine and no one defecates in the open at any time (5)



taking part or being involved in something, usually a decision, process or activity (5)

persons/people with disability

‘those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in a society on an equal basis with others’ (UN, 2006) (1)

physical barriers

natural or technical (infrastructure) barriers that prevent access or participation, e.g. long distances to walk, uneven paths, steps (also known as environmental barriers) (2)



data or indicators not based on numbers but on assessments of people’s opinions, attitudes, values and beliefs (3)


data or indicators expressed as measurable quantities, such as numbers, percentages and averages (3)



gently sloping surface joining two different levels, usually made of cement or wood (2)


social and attitudinal barriers

shame, fear, prejudice against disabled people and the mistaken belief that disability is a curse (2)


transect walk

community process of walking through a village from one side to the other, observing, asking questions and listening to the replies (5)

triple role

three sets of activities typically undertaken by women, namely reproductive productive, and community roles (3)



abbreviation for water, sanitation and hygiene; generally used to mean water supply, provision of latrines and facilities for handwashing (1)

women’s empowerment

giving power to women and girls so that they can play a significant role in society; women and girls participating actively in socio-economic and political processes; finding ways to ensure that women are confident, they are given a voice in society and their opinions are respected (3)

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