Workshops available from Dr Amita Bhakta

I can provide training to build the capacity of WASH sector professionals. I offer two bespoke live-taught online courses for groups of professionals to address the hidden WASH needs of perimenopausal women at a community level, and to use PhotoVoice to understand the cultural legacies attached to sanitation from a user perspective. These workshops can also be taught in person.

The hidden WASH needs of perimenopausal women

Duration: 4 hours

As part of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda and taking into account an ageing population, particularly in the global South, it is important that the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs of the increasing number of older women who are making the transition to menopause, or are  perimenopausal, are met if we are to leave no-one behind. The perimenopause usually happens to women in their late 40s and 50s. In recent years, the WASH sector has explored  how to ensure effective menstrual hygiene management for adolescent girls in low- and middle-income countries, but the needs of perimenopausal women who have irregular and erratic menstruation patterns, have been neglected. As the first form of training on this topic  in the WASH sector, this half day capacity development workshop uses empirical findings from Ghana and the UK to introduce the ‘hidden’ WASH needs of perimenopausal women, expanding current understandings of equity and inclusion. In this workshop, we explore what the perimenopause is, women’s hygiene needs during this lifestage and why they are hidden, and identify infrastructural issues faced by perimenopausal women from a WASH perspective. This workshop also helps participants to identify and implement the key infrastructural and software solutions needed to address the needs of perimenopausal women through WASH programming.

You can read a student blog about the workshop which was held in person at CEPT University in India in early 2023 here.

Cultural legacies attached to sanitation:  seeing through the eyes of the user through PhotoVoice

Duration: 2 hours

Sanitation has been traditionally hailed as a taboo and stigmatised topic, but in light of an increasing focus on inclusion of marginalised groups in infrastructure provision, we can learn from users about issues which are hidden within sanitation design and use. ‘Cultural legacies’ are related to people’s experiences of using sanitation infrastructure, and the way in which particular ‘hidden’ user needs have been and continue to be neglected in sanitation design through generations. Drawing on research from Ghana, Malawi, Nepal, and Pakistan using PhotoVoice to explore topics ranging from disability and WASH, incontinence, the WASH needs of women during the perimenopause, and acceptability of shared toilets, this workshop demonstrates the importance of PhotoVoice as a method to explore taboos and cultural legacies left by users’ interactions with sanitation. This two-hour session will explore the concept of hidden knowledge and the importance of understanding hidden issues through PhotoVoice in providing inclusive sanitation for all.  Participants will be able to engage with and analyse photos from previous PhotoVoice work to understand why photography is important in understanding taboos in sanitation. Practical lessons on using PhotoVoice to learn about sanitation will be provided, and participants will be able to understand the relevance of this method for their research and sanitation programming and the practical aspects to consider.

You can read a series of blogs about teaching this course at CEPT University in India, which provide insights into:

For a course brochure and to book the workshops for your team or institution, contact me.