IWA Publishing

Water, sanitation and hygiene for homeless people


Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This short communication provides insights into water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for homeless people through a scoping study conducted in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It investigates homeless access to WASH through the lens of a rights-based approach. It demonstrates that homeless people's denial of their right to WASH reflects their marginal position in society and an unequal distribution of power and opportunities. The study ultimately suggests a rights-based approach to work toward dealing with the root causes of discrimination and marginalisation rather than just the symptoms. For the homeless, who not only lack substantive rights, but also the means through which to claim their rights, an integrated rights-based approach to WASH offers the possibility for social inclusion and significant improvements in their life conditions. Given the unique deprivation of homelessness it is argued that in addressing the lack of access to adequate WASH for homeless people the immediate goal should be the fulfilment and protection of the right to adequate shelter.

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