WASH Programmes should be based on a needs assessment that identifies the specific needs, vulnerabilities and capacities of distinct socio-economic, gender, ethnic and age groups within a community.
Groups at risk in emergencies include the elderly, disabled people and people living with HIV and Aids (PLWHA). In certain contexts, people may also become vulnerable by reason of ethnic/tribal origin, religious or political affiliation, or displacement. WASH programmes should take steps to ensure the participation of vulnerable groups:
- Specific vulnerabilities influence people’s ability to cope and survive in a disaster; those most at risk should be identified in each context.
- Consult with different groups (elderly, disabled people) separately.
- Make consideration for understanding the needs of groups who are consistently away from the household (e.g. for livelihood purposes), or not immediately visible (e.g. people with mental and physical disabilities)
- Make consideration for understanding the needs of people with disabled people such as the deaf, blind and those with mental disabilities.