Volume 4: Number 1 September 2015 ISSN 2167-2822 (print) ISSN 2167-2830
wH2O Board of Advisors and Editorial Board Management Team
Board of Advisors
Co-Founders Caroline D’Angelo Dakota Dobyns
Kusum Athukorala NetWWater, United Nations
Editor-in-Chief Aishwarya Nair
Managing Director Danielle Gambogi Managing Editor Edita Stuckey
Eugenie Birch University of Pennsylvania Marcia Brewster Nautilus International Development Ruth Horowitz Trustees’ Council of Penn Women Yvette Bordeaux University of Pennsylvania
Gemma Bulos Global Women’s Water Initiative
Stanley Laskowski University of Pennsylvania
Nidhi Krishen Sharon Muli
Afaf Meleis University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Jane Mosbacher Morris To The Market
Katherine Pflaumer Bailey Rowland Priya Sathaye Nathan Sell
Anusa Sivalingam Emily Smithman Jennifer Stuckey Abby Waldorf
Joanne Spigonardo University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School Susan Wachter University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School Margreet Zwarteveen Water Resources Management Group, Wageningen University Pamela J. Lazos U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 3
Biographies of Board Members and Editors are available on our website: wh2ojournal.com All photographs are printed with permission
wH2O thanks the following organizations for their support
Table of Contents
Pam Lazos, The Accidental Alchemist
Joyce Mpalanyi Magala, Community Water Management in Rural Uganda: A Woman’s Predicament
Caroline Vines, Multi-Method Evaluation of a Point-of-Use Water Filtration and Education Program in Rural Guatemala
Pam Lazos and Stan Laskowski, Sex and Sanitation: Women Taking a Stand So They Can Take a Seat
Victoria Cano, The Theatre and The Latrine: Examining Women’s Health Narratives as a Means for Creating Sustainable Sanitation Infrastructure
Sunetra Lala, Aidan A. Cronin, Malika Basu, Jyotsna Nirvana, Conceptualizing a Hybrid Framework to Help Improve Gender Outcomes in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programs in India
Emelder Tagutanazvo, Vupenyu T. Dzingirai, Everisto Mapedza, Barbara Van Koppen, Gender Dynamics in Water Governance Institutions: The case of Gwanda’s Guyu-Chelesa Irrigation Scheme in Zimbabwe
Liliosa Pahwaringira, The Impacts of Water Shortages on Women’s Time-Space Activities in the High Density Suburb of Mabvuku in Harare
Ayoade Adegbite, Salako Sikiru, Okanlawon, Assessment of Water Provision and Associated Risks Among Children in Abeokuta Peri-Urban, Ogun State, Southwestern Nigeria: The Gender Implications Janice Lazarus, Dalit Women and Water Emily Ingebretsen, A Thirsty Third World
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Dear Readers, It is with immense pleasure that we present the fourth issue of wH2O: The Journal of Gender and Water. Our journey to publication has been a long one, filled with cross-continent communication, passionate debate, unexpected delays and countless hardworking individuals. We thank you for your patience, continued support, readership and dedication to the important topic of gender, water, sanitation and hygiene. Even a quick glance at these articles demonstrates the importance of water issues in the global conversation, though a deeper reading convinces of their reality. Our authors bring much needed attention to gender and WASH issues in Africa, Asia, Latin America and beyond, through a unique selection of interviews, case studies, field studies and commentaries on previous research. An in depth interview with Gemma Bulos, past wH2O author and polymath known for her work as founder of Single Drop for Safe Water in the Philippines, as well as leader of the Million Voice Choir, begins our issue. Gemma shares her unorthodox path to activism with Pam Lazos, fellow WH2O author and environmental lawyer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Through Liliosa Pahwaringa and colleagues, we examine the impact of water scarcity and what it means when women must travel longer distances in search of water. Ayoade Adgebite and his team conducted an empirical study on the challenges of water supply during drier seasons in peri-urban areas and how the process affects children (usually girls). Joyce Mpalanyi Magala delves into where power truly lies within community water management associations and the barriers to womenâ€™s participation. Emelder Tagutanazvo and her colleagues focus on how gender dynamics in water management associations could be improved, especially when it comes to access to irrigation. In India, Sunetra Lala and her colleagues take a more technical angle by examining how a gendered approach could lead to success of developing sustainable WASH programs. And what could be a better way than to use theatre to discuss taboo topics! Victoria Canoâ€™s experiences in Bangladesh detail how community-based theatre has helped to give a voice to those that must remain silent. Perhaps a lesson to be applied as we tackle the problems faced by Dalit women, already marginalized within Indian society for their caste, as presented by Janice Lazarus. Meanwhile in Latin America, Caroline Vines presents a follow up to a rural point-of-use water filtration program in Guatemala that was introduced to us earlier by Andi Maddox. Pam Lazos and wH2Oâ€™s very own champion Stan Laskowski examine the use of sex as a weapon by women to gain access to better sanitation in their communities and how you, the reader, could get involved to change the tide. Finally, Emily Ingebretsen shows us how land grabbing by foreign nations affects not just the sovereignty of a country, but ignites violence surrounding water and indigenous land rights in Ethiopia. Throughout the past four years, a diverse collection of authors, editors and contributors has helped craft wH2O Journal. Their hard work and dedication allows us to serve as an international hub for gender, water, sanitation, and hygiene issues. We are continually motivated by the commitment and enthusiasm demonstrated by everyone involved in this project. As the journal continues to evolve, we encourage interested individuals, academic institutions, organizations and businesses to join us in our effort to illuminate issues surrounding gender bias, inequality, water scarcity, geo-politics and climate change. With regards, Aishwarya Nair
The Accidental Alchemist Pamela J. Lazos
The first time Gemma Bulos almost died, she was harnessed to a parasail ten stories above the ocean somewhere in Mexico. The harness had been fastened too loosely under her arms and rather than providing her the soaring experience that she expected for her 20th birthday, with each upward surge, her arms were being stretched so tautly that the pain eventually resulted in loss of consciousness. When she came to, still 10 stories above the earth and in agony, she wrenched her arms free only to find herself dangling from the apparatus by her knees, performing a feat that even a trained acrobat might think twice about. “This is supposed to be fun,” she thought, but only for a moment before a wind gust wrenched her free of the harness. She fell, covering the dizzying distance in moments, perhaps her last, then smacked the water as if it were concrete and passed out again. This time, floating and serene, she was at one with the water that buoyed her even as she lay face down, drowning in it. Perhaps it was those mystical, breathless moments when her bond with water was formed, giving up its secrets to her, secrets that would take years to dissect and disseminate. She could have died there, but instead, water spit her out and told her to come back later. “Water had plans for me,” Gemma says of the incident. Her back was broken, but her spirit renewed. Rescued from certain death and unprepared to face an uncertain life, she took months to heal while the drops of water that would form her path were gathering to create the ocean before her. Fast forward to present, and you’d be amazed at how difficult it is keeping up with this selfstyled “under-achieving over-achiever.” She talks fast, for one. That’s because she spent her formative years in New York City in her past incarnation as a professional jazz singer. Her
Source: Author voice sounds like water running over rocks--not the ones way down in the valley, but those high up in the hills, the headwaters that get the whole river going, first trickling and then racing down the hill, bringing blessings for all. She thinks fast, for another. How else to explain the success of two social entrepreneurial enterprises she has had a generous hand in, A Single Drop for Safe Water, and the Global Women’s Water Initiative. I interviewed the California native by phone, for me, a cold December day in Pennsylvania, for her, a decidedly warmer one in Oakland, California, one of the nation’s most ecologically-minded and sustainable cities.
What’s a typical day look like?
GB: I’m one of those crazy people who sleeps
with the computer and phone next to them. I roll out of bed, check my email quickly and spend the rest of my day working online when I’m in the US. I have a bunch of meetings and conference calls, which is what I end up doing almost every day, keeping track of my projects abroad via email and Skype. I also do a lot of speaking engagements and am co-teaching a class at Stanford University as a Social Entrepreneur Fellow which is great fun. I have an office at the Women’s Earth Alliance in Berkeley and I go into the office sometimes once a week. When I’m in
the field, in Africa or the Philippines, it’s a totally different story.
PL: Sounds like the ultimate telecommuting job GB: It is.
PL: You were the founder and Executive Director
for A Single Drop for Safe Water, headquartered in the Philippines. Tell us about that organization.
GB: First I need to tell you about what came
before A Single Drop for Safe Water [Philippines] and A Single Drop [USA]. I was an aspiring performer, working in NYC before any of this began. I taught preschool during the day and was also a professional jazz singer. I was supposed to be in the World Trade Center on September 11 and would have been getting out of the subway when the planes hit, but instead I didn’t want to go to work, so I called in sick that day. I couldn’t stop thinking of that horror and me - by chance or luck - not being there. Following the September 11 attacks, New York was this amazing place where people showed the best sides of themselves, coming together and supporting where they could. Months after 9/11, I traveled to India where his Holiness the Dalai Lama was leading a world peace prayer, where over half a million people packed into the tiny village of Bodh Gaya to pray for peace. I can barely explain the amazing energy that comes from a group of people all praying for one thing and how I felt like a single drop of water in a sea of peaceful souls. All of us are single drops with an incredible power and when we unite, we can make changes. I was a few days into a silent meditation retreat when a song popped, fully formed, into my head. I wrote, “We Rise”, a song about people coming together and rising from tragedy because that’s what I had witnessed in NYC. I envisioned people around the world singing it together from all over the planet, and the vision to build the Million Voice Choir was born.
PL: To get a million voices together is quite an undertaking. How did that come about?
GB: I recorded “We Rise” and made it available
for free on-line, created a website, and then I sent an invitation to my small following in NYC and LA, telling them about my idea for a million voices all singing together, united in a cause and I asked them to forward the email to their friends if the idea was something that spoke to their hearts. The first week, we got 14,000 hits on the website - and this was before Facebook and Twitter. As people started to make contact, I discovered that they all seemed to want to be part of something bigger than just themselves. So I left my life, quit my job, and my career as a jazz singer, released my rent controlled apartment, gave away all my stuff, and took my guitar and backpack and started to travel around the world, inviting people to be part of this global movement with the single mission of bringing people together. Before I ventured out to build the Million Voice Choir, I had always been a worldwide wanderer and would work to make enough to travel, happy to get myself to my next destination. I’d buy open ended “around the world” tickets so if I ran out of money and didn’t want to go home I’d work wherever I was and earn enough money to keep traveling.
Here I was with this song and this mission, traveling with practically no money, making simple decisions and totally trusting in the grace of the universe to get me to my next destination. I did this for four years building the choir and then another four years when we started to do water projects in the Philippines and Africa. Naturally, with such a big mission, I had many plans and fixed ideas of how things should happen. Many came to fruition, but most did not – and there was a point where I was overwhelmed with exhaustion and doubt. My expectations were not being met, and I could hear my mom’s voice in my head, saying, ‘For God sakes go home and get a job.” That’s when I kind of gave up and decided to pack it in. 7
PL: Wow, hit by the universal “mom” voice. What changed your mind that you decided to stay?
GB: A few days later, a friend called to tell me
my song was playing at the U.N. and that they were calling it “the new human world anthem.” I realized then that this song had a life of its own with its own agenda and I was just the keeper who needed to protect it as it went on it’sjourney. I fancied myself Frodo and the song was the ring!
PL: You went back on the road with no agenda
and no idea about what to do next, just following your intuition? Wasn’t it difficult, living like that?
GB: This was the point where I transitioned
from hope to faith. The difference between hope and faith is that hope has an element of doubt, but faith in its purest sense, is unwavering. I trusted that everywhere I went was exactly where I was supposed to be. Living in the state of pure faith opens up so many possibilities. I’d been traveling for two years when I got invited to sing at the Water for Life Conference hosted by Satish Kumar, a Jain monk in the 60s. When Satish heard about my mission to build the Million Voice Choir, he sat me down and told me about how he had walked around the world in silent non-violent protest for two and a half years to all the cities with nuclear arms. He gave me the same message his guru gave him when he took the first steps on his journey. He told me I would be looked after. That’s when the magic really started to happen. There’s metaphor that I use in “We Rise”: “it takes a single drop of water to start a wave.” That was my invitation to people – to see themselves as powerful drops of water, that when you unite with others, you can create big waves of change. Because of this notion, I became known as the water lady and I was invited to sing the song at the UN Water For Life Conference just a month later. It was there that I learned about the water crisis and that 1.2 billion people in the world had no access to fresh water and between three to five million die each year of water related diseases. Learning
these astounding statistics, my mission evolved again. Water went from being my inspirational metaphor to my cause. It was an intriguing concept, water as a source of peace, unity and equality. I learned everything I could about the water crisis, researching the specific issues people were suffering from and the different solutions people were integrating to resolve it.
I opened A Single Drop (ASD) in the United States with the mission to build the Million Voice Choir as a vehicle to raise awareness of the global water crisis and bring people together through song. The magic continued. People started handing me plane tickets, bus fares, driving me places, giving me money to make sure I got where I needed to be. Random strangers in foreign countries would recognize me as the woman singing for water and would take care of me. “We Rise” had its own life and it was spreading. I met so many amazing people. My journey started out as a mission to get a global choir singing the same song around the world in support of peace and shifted into something completely different. I realized that “We Rise” was the catalyst or the ‘single drop’ that rippled into what eventually became my actual purpose: water projects.
PL: How many years did it take to complete the mission of the Million Voice Choir?
GB: After nearly three years of non-stop
moneyless traveling, the Million Voice Choir culminated on September 21, 2004 with people from all over the globe — over 100 cities in 60 countries — singing, “We Rise,” while I was singing in New York City. Here we were - seven minutes of united song - and you’d think I would be ecstatic. Instead, I was incredibly inspired, but it was bittersweet. Rather than experience that moment of euphoria, I mean, this was the culmination of years of work for me, instead of basking in that moment, I was thinking, what next? What does peace look like on the ground?
PL: Is this when you started A Single Drop for Safe Water?
GB: Yes, but yet again, another step in my
accidental journey. In 2005, I won the CG Vibes award from Queen Latifah and Cover Girl for Women Changing the World Through Music. I took the $10,000 award money, learned how to build some really simple water filters that could be built out of local materials and went to the Philippines to share the technology. While I had been born in the States, my parents were Filipino, and one of the benefits of being a Filipina American was that I had relatively easy access to various government and NGO officials in the Philippines. I literally could cold call UNICEF or the Department of Health so I did. I didn’t know any better. I had only planned on being there for three to six months to teach humanitarian organizations to build the filters. Somehow I got introduced to the Canadian Ambassador who loved our project, teaching local Muslim women-led organizations to build the filters and make money. The Canadian Ambassador offered us $50,000 from their discretionary fund to launch our project, but we had to be a Filipino registered organization in order to receive the grant. So we opened A Single Drop for Safe Water (ASDSW) in September 2006 just to receive the grant and implement the project and next thing you know, we had an organization. A Single Drop for Safe Water started out as a non-profit charitable organization and since has evolved into a full-service water service consulting firm. My partner and I didn’t like the current charity model of “give a person a fish.” We believed not only in teaching them how to fish, but also how to turn their fishing activities into a business. Eventually, our program expanded from creating women-led water projects to community-led water service organizations to forming emergency first response teams for disasters. The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world. In less than a year, we received our first of many awards for innovation – the Echoing Green Fellowship as one of the Best Emerging
Social Entrepreneurs in the world.
As ASDSW started to grow and become selfreliant, I was able to divert some of my energy to building a women’s water training program in Africa through a program called the Global Women’s Water Initiative (GWWI). By 2010 ASDSW was up and running. We had a stellar staff who basically worked me out of a job. ASD in the USA closed down and I was able to put all my energy into spearheading GWWI full time, which was being financially supported by our founding partners Crabgrass [a human rights organization with strong ties to women and water issues], and Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA) [supporting women’s rights through and for the environment]. To date, the work I’ve done with both ASDSW and GWWI has provided over 210,000 people with clean water and sanitation in Asia and Africa. And it all started with one song.
PL: You should be proud of the work you did with ASDSW as a concept and a testament to social change through entrepreneurship.
GB: ASDSW challenged the charity model
by encouraging donors, corporations and humanitarian aid agencies to pay us for our professional services as trainers and consultants. We felt fully confident charging professional fees for our services because ASDSW got a reputation for being professional and sustainable so by year 4 we were no longer dependent on charity to sustain ourselves. We became a hybrid by accident. Some NGOs are just gap fillers. We didn’t want to be dependent and we didn’t want to just be a gap filler, but a force. If we wanted to charge for the services, we knew we had to be worth it. So we went from receiving charity to receiving professional services fees. I didn’t even know what social entrepreneurship was until I started ASDSW and started getting awards. With all the recognition we got for our work, it’s hard to believe I didn’t have any background in water. Year after year we were getting incredible accolades and meanwhile I was wondering when
Toto was going to pull the curtain open and reveal the Wizard [of Oz] behind it. That was probably why I devoured information, learning everything I could from the people most affected. They were not only our clients, but our teachers. Even with all the recognition, it took a while for me to acknowledge that I had any expertise in water or doing anything innovative in social entrepreneurship. To this day, being selected as a Social Entrepreneur Fellow at Stanford, yet never having graduated from college, I sometimes still feel a tinge of being a fraud!
were starting to move into disaster relief mode, you’d have to go to another part of the country with a new disaster, having to split your energies and your manpower. Add to that all the aid agencies having different agendas and response priorities, it made the response efforts even more chaotic. ASDSW spearheaded the training and mobilization of a dedicated and trained team of local organizations that could coordinate the relief efforts making the response flexible and quick.
your accomplishments, I would guess. Was it hard, leaving ASDSW, like you were leaving your family, or was there a sense of “mission accomplished; what’s next”?
GB: Typhoons are definitely getting worse.
PL: What do you think about climate change. Is the weather getting worse?
PL: A feeling that passes when you reflect on
GB: By the time I left ASDSW in the Philippines
in 2010, we had two offices and 29 staff. Our professional fees from our training programs were covering all our operating costs and we were free from financial dependence on charitable donations to run our offices. That same year, we had a snag in our ASD USA office and had to shut down. Because ASDSW was pretty much running on its own and I had already been putting more energy into our GWWI partnership, I resigned from ASDSW to focus on women’s issues and work with GWWI in Africa. The timing was actually perfect. When I left, ASDSW had three main programs running, including designing disaster response programs, creating community driven water cooperatives, and mobilizing municipal-wide government WASH1 task forces. Both the disaster response and government task forces were programs that ASDSW was hired to develop based on our community mobilization model. The Philippines could get one typhoon on one side of the country and then another a few weeks later in another part of the country -- upwards of 20 typhoons a year -- so it was difficult to do a coordinated disaster response because you’d be in one place and then as you 1
WASH stands for water, sanitation and hygiene
There may not be significantly more happening per year but they are causing much more damage. Recently, the Philippines had a big earthquake on one side of the country followed shortly thereafter by Typhoon Haiyan which was one of the the worst in recorded history. Climate change is resulting in huge consequences for the island nations and the Philippines will likely have some of the first climate change refugees. One of our challenges as a culture is recognizing that we are incredibly powerful – like a drop of water. Whatever we do will ripple out and have consequences, whether good or bad. We don’t see ourselves connected to the bigger whole. The water we use upstream will affect everything downstream. It’s amazing to work with people in developing countries who know what climate change is because the first place they see it is in their access to water. Seasons are changing. It’s getting harder to predict when the rains will come and how much it will rain, affecting food, security, water access and health. Meanwhile, here in the US, there are still those denying that climate change actually exists.
PL: I believe it’s our propensity to label things. Speaking of which, would you call yourself a feminist?
GB: Another misconception people have is
that because I’m running a woman’s water program, I have to be a feminist. I am, but that’s not my main motivation nor does it inform why our program is designed this way. The main goal is to make sure everyone has access to clean water and an education. The people who are disproportionately affected by lack of water and sanitation and do nearly all the water-related chores are women and girls. It just makes sense to train those who are deeply affected by the crisis because they will likely be the most invested in the solutions. Our strategy is to train women to build simple technologies and to become local water experts, and to support them in monetizing their services and generating income. Ultimately, as they build their reputation, bringing something that is in great demand into their communities, we witness them stepping into leadership positions, and being invited onto local water boards that influence local policy, for example. In the Philippines, we developed our program around women, but found that there wasn’t a huge gender gap in the country (we had two women presidents within the last two decades). We didn’t have to put much effort into getting women involved because the Philippines was a matriarchal society even before they were colonized by the Spanish. We found as we were establishing these community-based water programs from scratch, that women were being elected as their officers with no influence or encouragement from our end.
PL: How is GWWI different from your experience in the Philippines?
GB: Our strategy in the Philippines could not
be cookie-cut into an African water program. Their challenges were so different – climate, culture, tradition, education, etc. Ultimately, we needed to find the best way to institutionalize knowledge about WASH so that good hygiene practices, sanitation, water protection and treatment could be transferred from generation to generation. As women are the caretakers
of their families and do all the water chores, they would most likely be the ones to share this information with their families. So we took some of the sustainable strategies we learned in the Philippines, modified them to fit grassroots women, and the training morphed into a program that fit their level of knowledge, experience, and specific needs. This meant we had to find technologies and products that could be produced without an engineering, construction or manufacturing background, and made with local materials to keep the costs down and infuse the local economy. So we train women to be WASH technicians, trainers and social entrepreneurs. After graduating from our program, grassrootswomen can construct multiple technologies (tanks, filters, toilets), make water related products, and make money doing it. Women get hired to construct, offer WASH workshops, train others, and make and sell products like soap, shampoo, and reusable menstrual pads. We also ensure that the organizations they work for can diversify their income and not be dependent solely on charitable donations. We help them strengthen their proposal writing skills and connect them to international funders to access water grants; qualify for government contracts; professionalize their construction services; start a microbusiness making and selling WASH products; and with a few of our teams in partnership with Kiva2, establish them as a micro-financing institution to self-finance their own micro-loans to community members. Our selection process is very rigorous. We select women-led or women-focused organizations that have a proven track record implementing social programs in their communities. They have little or no background in WASH or construction but have recognized the importance of WASH in the success of their overall programs. So we help them create an income-generating WASH program to supplement their existing programs. Some focus on maternal health, sustainable farming, or vocational training for 2 Kiva is a 501(c) corporation that provides micro-loans to underserved entrepreneurs in 70 countries.
vulnerable women, but all of them know that in order to reach their organizational goals their communities need clean water and sanitation.
This is an intensive three-year training program working with ten different women’s groups in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. We have a staff of three African women who are supporting all ten of the women’s teams. It’s a three-phase program, basically three years of knowledge transfer sessions, dealing first with water access [Phase 1], then sanitation [Phase 2], and finally, water quality [Phase 3]. These women have been meeting and learning from each other over the past three years, they have built an incredible trust and have shared many successes and failures that have helped the other teams
PL: According to an article you wrote for
the WH2O journal [Vol. 2, No. 2, March 2013], worldwide women spend 200 million collective hours fetching water; one in ten girls drops out of school when they start menstruating because of a lack of toilets; and two western toilet flushes, which equals about 8 gallons, may be as much water as an entire family has for use in a day. Given those statistics, do you think it’s more important to build WASH systems or to work with women, and can the two issues even be separated?
GB: There is a great deal of evidence
demonstrating how women are disproportionately affected by WASH issues. The focus at GWWI is to train women to create local WASH solutions while generating income, and get them into leadership positions where they are influencing policy. With this intensive training, we’ve witnessed women evolve from serving lunch or stumbling around a construction site to building a toilet in two days, a roof water catchment and 15,000 liter water tank in four days, and who then train other women to do the same. One woman, Grace, has helped her organization raise enough money to build 12 tanks and she says her husband brags about her to other masons. We were a bit worried about her when
she first came. We conducted the training in English because of the many local languages spoken, and she only spoke Swahili with a minimal understanding of English. When we went back to conduct interviews and check in on their projects, we found that Grace had become the local water hero! Everywhere we went, people had learned about good hygiene practices, how to treat their water, the importance of toilets, etc., and nearly all of them said they had learned it from Grace. Even when she was building tanks, husbands were coming up to her asking her to teach their wives to do what she does. Since going through the training and earning more money, she signed herself up for English classes so she can have an impact on a greater scale.
PL: Is that an isolated incident or do you see all
the women you’re training rising to the challenge?
GB: Definitely not an isolated incident! I’ll
refer you to our website for more stories of some really awesome women3. We treat the program like a scholarship. When the women are selected they are expected to attend our three-phase training over three years and implement deliverables. Failure to accomplish the deliverables at each phase will jeopardize their participation in the program. In short, they come and attend a training in one location, learning side by side, then they go home and write a funding proposal to us. We offer recommendations and advice to help them strengthen their grant writing skills and then we provide them with a seed grant. In addition to financial support through the seed grant, we also provide onsite technical and organizational support by sending our GWWI staff to their respective villages to offer a training for the trainees who will also share their knowledge with other colleagues and villagers. After they have built their first technology with our financial and technical support, but before they can come to the next training, the trainees have to replicate what they learned without our help. Which means that they have to raise their own money and build the technology on their own. 3 http://womenwater.strikingly.com
For example, one of the technologies they learn to build is a water storage tank and rainwater harvesting system. In order to replicate it they have to raise upwards of $1,200 and build another one. The women have become very resourceful because many of the technologies we teach require local materials like sand, gravel, and earthen clay which are things the community can donate with a minimal outlay of cash. Some community members donate supplies, others lunch for the laborers, whatever they have. These women are really demonstrating how water unites people to work together towards a common and achievable goal.
PL: The $1,200 in that example is for a water storage tank. What does a $1,200 water tank look like?
GB: These technologies are not the big
community water facilities you see in the States. We focus on household level technologies.The largest storage tanks that the women build hold about 15,000 liters. It’s basically an above ground giant rain barrel. This particular tank is made out of interlocking stabilized soil bricks or blocks that the women make out of African clay, sand, cement and water. Because the bricks are interlocking and fit like puzzle pieces, the structure is durable, more stable and uses less mortar. And because you use local materials it’s less expensive and you can replace broken parts very easily.
PL: Tell me about your teaching gig at Stanford. GB: In 2013, I was selected as one of three
social entrepreneur Fellows for Stanford’s Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. Of all the awards and recognition I was getting, this was the most shocking. Getting accepted by academia was a HUGE thing for me. My Fellowship required that I co-teach a Social Entrepreneurship class called “Challenging the Status Quo: Social Entrepreneurship and the Advancement of Democracy, Development and Justice.” As a practitioner, I respond
to the lecturer and their theories of social entrepreneurship, demystifying and providing experiential insights about applied social entrepreneurship which translates to: “On paper, this sounds great, but here’s what it actually looks like on the ground.” Before that happened, in my mind, I was still the Wizard of Oz. Then I was put in a position to contextualize our work, and I finally began to realize that what we were doing was worthy of sharing and had teachable elements. Some of my students claimed they changed their course of study because this class changed how they viewed the world. When the class was offered again the next quarter, it doubled in size.
PL: I have a friend who says your name is your
destiny. Your name, Gemma, means precious stone. What does your name say about you as it relates to your work?
GB: In Arabic, Gemma means “come together”! In one of the Philippines dialects, Bulos means “flow” or “pour water”. It’s no surprise that I would end up uniting people through song and be working on water and sanitation!
PL: So you leave me to draw my own conclusions.
To go back to your original point about water having plans for you, there is a man by the name of Dr. Masaru Emoto who developed a way to take pictures of frozen water crystals. He’s taken photos of water from the most holy rivers and from the most polluted ones. He’s photographed water that has been subject to love and hate and everything in between and he found that the most beautiful water crystals are those that are exposed to positive thoughts and vibrations, especially those of love and gratitude. Each of those 200,000 water systems that you’ve helped install in villages throughout Asia and Africa was an incredible gift to those residents. Gifts they themselves worked for, but still gifts. I think how I would feel if I lived there, no longer having to walk five miles a day with a jerrycan on my head, maybe getting a chance to stay in school because of it. I think a sense of love and gratitude would completely overwhelm me, and I’m just an outside observer, 13
so imagine what the recipients are feeling. If Dr. Emoto were around to take pictures of your water crystals, I’m sure even he would be amazed by their beauty. So thank you for all you do.
GB: It’s the end of the world as we know it,
and the beginning of the era of nature and connectedness of everything. As Arundhati Roy says: “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
Pam Lazos’ passions run deep and wide, however for brevity’s sake, let’s just say her family, writing, and the environment. She is the author of “Six Sisters”, a collection of novellas (released January 9, 2015); a blogger (www. greenlifebluewater.wordpress. com); on the Board of Advisors for the wH2O Journal, the Journal of Gender and Water (U of Penn); an active and enthusiastic member of the Jr. League of Lancaster; a former correspondent for her local newspaper (Lancaster Intelligencer Journal); a literary magazine contributor (Rapportage); a former Editor-inChief for the Environmental Law and Technology Journal (Temple Law School); a ghostwriter (Abracadabra); the author of a children’s book (Into the Land of the Loud); and of the novel “Oil and Water”, an environmental murder mystery about oil spills and green technology (due December of 2015); an environmental lawyer for the U.S. EPA in Philadelphia (the opinions of which she does not represent here); and, because it’s cool, a beekeeper’s apprentice. She practices laughter daily.
Source: World Bank, 2015
Community Water Management in Rural Uganda: A Woman’s Predicament Joyce Mpalanyi Magala The following is a commentary by the author on an ethnographic study she completed in 2014. Participant observations, informal and formal interviews were employed during the study. This paper shows the conclusions of the study as well as author’s observations on the implications of the situation in the village and for many African women on a larger scale.
Introduction Traditionally, women are situated as managers of domestic water supply in the developing world. According to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program Report (2012), women bear the main responsibility of collecting water in sub-Saharan Africa. This role extends further to Operations and Maintenance (O&M) of community water sources, and the concept of Community Management has been widely used to promote sustainability of investments in O&M projects such as water supply systems. In Uganda, Directorate for Water Development developed guidelines to facilitate O&M of water sources (GOU 2007). The guidelines included structures such as Water User Committees (WUCs), which emphasise the participation of both men and women, used to define the roles and responsibilities played by each in the management of community water sources. However, there are manifestations of gender inequities inherent in community water management processes that hinder women from effective participation. Joyce Magala, a female PhD researcher from the Water is Life project, conducted an ethnographic study in the Nakanyonyi1 village in southwestern Uganda. The study indicates that power and power relations inhibit women’s participation in community water management. This paper makes an attempt to understand the impacts of power relations, control, and authority on women and water management from a gender perspective. The power issues are reflected through leadership, participation, and financial expectations, which are at the
1 The real name for the village where the study was conducted is withheld for purposes of confidentiality.
core of women’s engagement in the process of community water management (Magala 2014). A reflection on the roles and responsibilities as well as activities carried out in relation to Operation and Maintenance of the water sources is made. The major conclusions indicate that men play a minimal role in community water management, creating a heavier burden on women. Moreover, women’s voices are rarely heard or given adequate attention due to the power dynamics within water management structures. User Committees and Community Water Management
Community water management is explored in order to understand how it influences the lives of women. Water is of critical importance to women, given the social role that women play in domestic water management and related activities at the community level. In Nakanyonyi village, Water User Committees (WUCs) were established as the primary structures to facilitate O&M arrangements for the water sources at the community level. WUCs are elected by the community and require at least 50% of the chosen participants to be female. Women in these roles are encouraged to take on leadership positions (GOU 2007), however, Sultama (2009) asserts that, “while adding women to a project may seem to address gender issues stipulated in project documents, it does not necessarily address power issues between men and women, and among different women.” One of the functions of the WUCs is to mobilize the community members who use water to make contributions in cash and kind, to participate
in community meetings and to ensure proper maintenance of the water sources (UWASNET 2011). The functionality of the WUCs influences women’s engagement and participation in decision making with regards to community water management. Community meetings are expected to occur on a regular basis to enable water users to discuss issues of operation and maintenance of the water sources, and maintenance of water sources is supposed to be a shared responsibility between men and women to ensure a sense of ownership (GOU 2011). In this study, however, it was observed that women’s presence on the committees was more symbolic than functional, as their views were rarely considered during the decision-making processes. It was evident in community meetings that concerns raised by the women were not taken seriously, and although women maintained their positions on the WUCs, they gradually became inactive. Men on the committees in collaboration made decisions with the local leaders who were also predominantly male.
This study also noted that community meetings were mainly attended by women. Men were usually stayed at home or in trading centers while village meetings were taking place. This demonstrates the socio-cultural obstacles to achieve collaborative water management despite efforts made by local leadership to raise awareness about the meetings. The absence of men from such critical forum negatively influenced outcomes such as men not making contributions toward the operation and maintenance of the water sources. This directly contradicts the GOU (2011) guidelines for operation and maintenance, which stipulate that both men and women must be active to ensuresustainable water supplies. Furthermore, the few men who did participate in community meetings presented with authority and dominated the discussions. Despite commanding the conversation at committee meetings, men rarely acted on issues relating to water source management. This reinforces patriarchal tendencies and cultural
values inherent in this society, which promote dominance of men over women. Women struggle with and discuss water issues on a regular basis, which rarely, if ever, translates into practical solutions due to inadequate support from men. However, women and children continue to carry out workloads related to water collection and maintenance, which takes a great toll on their time and activities. However, Magala (2014) noted that without support from men, women’s contributions were not sufficient to effectively maintain the water sources due to limited incomes. Magala (2014) observed that poor maintenance of water sources produced thick vegetation around wells, and paths to the wells became overgrown. Thus, both children and women struggled to access water, which was often unclean due to contamination such as litter and mud. Traditionally, water sources were dug by hand and maintained by the community. Men excavated and constructed water sources to ensure availability of water in the community, while women focused on making water available for domestic use. Increased developments in the water sector during the 1990s introduced new technologies and management structures (in this case, hand pumps and WUCs) to facilitate improved water management. However, the functionality of the WUCs has gradually diminished due to irregular convening of meetings and inadequate participation of members. Additionally, the responsibility for the maintenance of water sources has been increasingly taken over by women, given their cultural responsibility to provide water for household needs. The Contradiction in Community Water Management
The male-dominated decision process and women’s inability to influence it results in an inevitable mismanagement of water resources. Bouwer (2006) indicated that the limited consultation of women, “whether it emanates from gender indifference or restrictions on women’s participation ...can have negative consequences for women.” According to a female
leader in Nakanyonyi village, women’s role was more of a physical presence at meetings without any influence on the decisions made, such as when and how the wells in the community were repaired (Magala 2014). For example, at the time of the study, one shallow2 well remained non-functional because the hand pump broke down frequently and the well was abandoned. The surrounding community gave up collecting water from this shallow well and opted to draw water from other sources, some of which were located far from the households.
For women, issues that were important for discussion during the community meetings were maintenance of the hand pump, children’s behavior at water sources, and matters of leadership and governance. However, the limited involvement of women in decision-making relating to water management prevented appropriate resolution of such issues.
Consistent engagement of women in community meetings and Water User Committees (WUCs) demonstrates their commitment to ensure availability of water at the community level. However, despite constant efforts, their voices are not given adequate attention, especially when making decisions relating to community water management. This paper aims to illustrate a social disorder with regard to women and men’s participation in community water management. The patriarchal nature of this society has led to neglect by men of their responsibility in provision of resources and maintenance of the water sources. Renewed attention from community leaders to increase men’s engagement in community water management would greatly reduce the burden faced by the women and likely provide more sustainable and consistent local water sources.
The study noted that children often assist women in bringing water to homes. However, children were also associated with regular breakdown of hand pumps at the water sources due to their playful nature. The local council members, who have authority over conflictsrelated to water management at the community level, had not intervened appropriately to maintain order at the water sources. This resulted in the failure to maintain reliable sources from which women could access water and thus effectively perform relevant social roles.
As the household heads, men were required to provide resources for the operation and maintenance of water sources, and women in Nakanyonyi village heavily depended on the provision of such resources. However, because of men’s minimal participation in community meetings and the cultural association of water issues as women’s domain, men rarely acted to maintain the water sources. Hence, the burden of making contributions to repair the water sources fell back to the women. 2 Hand dug and a hand pump is installed.
The functionality of a water source depends heavily on cooperation between men and women in a community. Inaction on the part of men pushes women to take over men’s traditional responsibility of providing the resources required to maintain water sources. The limited response by the men towards maintenance of the water sources in this study largely stems from the patriarchal nature of this society, where it is the responsibility of women to provide water for domestic use. Inadequate maintenance of the water sources constrains women’s access to water, leading them to travel long distances to collect water. The minimal engagement by men in water management, coupled with limited support from WUCs, has created additional obstacles to water access for women, as the provision of shallow wells is not in itself sufficient to ensure water availability. It is important to develop meaningful partnerships in community water management to ensure proper Operation and Maintenance so as to provide consistent availability of water within communities.
Works Cited Amadiume, Ifi. Re-inventing Africa: Matriarchy, Religion and Culture. London and New York: Zed Books,1997. Bouwer, Karen 2006. “Women and Water, Peace Review.” A Journal of Social Justice 18, no.4 (2006): 465-467.
GOU. “Water and Sanitation Sector District Implementation Manual,” Kampala: Ministry of Water and Environment, 2007. GOU. “National Framework for Operation and Maintenance of Rural Water Supplies in Uganda.” Kampala: Ministry of Water and Environment, 2011. GOU. “Uganda Water and Environment Sector Performance Report, 2013,” Kampala: Ministry of Water and Environment, 2013. Magala, Joyce M. “Women as Principal Gate Keepers: An Ethnographic Research Study on, Water and Health in Rural Uganda.” PhD Thesis, Dublin City University, 2014.
Sultana Farhana. “Community and Participation in Water, Resources Management: Gendering and Naturing Development Debates from Bangladesh.” Journal Compilation Royal Geographical Society, 34 (2009): 346–363.
UWASNET. “A Summary of Key Legislation and Policies on Water and Sanitation in Uganda,” Kampala, 2011. WHO, and UNICEF. “Global Water and Sanitation Assessment Report” Geneva: World Health Organisation and United Nations Children’s’ Emergency Fund - Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, 2012.
Dr. Joyce Mpalanyi Magala is a Social Development Consultant and Researcher with a background in Sociology, Women and Gender studies. Her work experience extends to water and sanitation, child health, gender and HIV/AIDS, institutional and organizational development. She carried out her PhD studies at Dublin City University in Ireland in partnership with Makerere University-Uganda 2010-14 funded by Irish Aid. Her community-based research work focused on women and water management using qualitative methodologies. She has played an advisory role and provided consultancy services at international and national levels to government ministries, NGOs and the private sector. Dr. Magala can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Acknowledgements The author would like to acknowledge Irish Aid and Higher Education Authority partnership of the Republic of Ireland for the financial support provided to conduct this research through the Water is Life project.
Source: World Bank, 2015
Multi-Method Evaluation of a Point-of-Use Water Filtration and Education Program in Rural Guatemala Caroline Vines Abstract Background: According to recent estimates by UNICEF, more than 768 million people do not have a secure source of safe drinking water, while 2.5 billion-lack access to proper sanitation. Consequently, point-of-use (POU) biosand filters (BSFs) have become a common intervention in resource-limited countries. However, rigorous review of POU filtration programs to document their level of “success” is often lacking, and can overlook the role that socio-cultural, historical, and political factors play in determining program efficacy. Methods: The primary purpose of this project was to design and implement a mixedmethodology protocol for assessing a POU filter and education program in San Martín, Sololá, Guatemala. Quantitative tools included: (1) environmental surveys of the filter setup, and (2) E. coli and total coliform testing of post-filtered water. Qualitative tools involved interviews and focus groups with five key groups of stakeholders: (1) participants, (2) non-participants, (3) local health leaders, (4) community leaders, and (5) in-country project leaders.
Results: The qualitative interviews revealed a strong consensus among key stakeholders that the program was beneficial for the health of the community. All participants self-reported increased knowledge of proper sanitation and hygiene practices and expressed enthusiasm for the classes. Also, 19 out of 21 participants reported a decrease in the frequency of waterrelated illness of their families. The interviews indicated that the selection process for the program could be a potential source of tension amongst community members. Out of the 21 filters tested for E. coli, 7 filters levels of E.coli bacteria (<30 CFUs/100 mL), and 5
showed high levels of E. coli (≥30 CFUs/100 mL). Comparisons between the environmental surveys and filter testing results revealed that contamination might be associated with dirty or scratched post-filtration containers, misuse of bleach in the cleaning process, or dipping hands into the container. Discussion: This multi-level approach comprehensively assessed perceptions of the program, changes in health knowledge and habits, changes in diarrheal disease burden, and intra-community relationships. Ultimately, the program was deemed to be a “success” by both researcher and participant standards, although the quantitative evaluation highlighted areas for potential improvement in the filter program. This mixed-methodology protocol reveals the importance of triangulating multilevel qualitative interviews with a quantitative evaluation of the filter technology, in order to obtain a holistic assessment of the efficacy and success of POU programs. Introduction
I. Water, Sanitation, and Disease According to recent estimates by UNICEF, approximately 2.5 billion people lack access to proper sanitation facilities, while regular availability of clean drinking water is unattainable for 768 million people (UNICEF 2014). Consequently, the World Health Organization estimates that 3.4 million people die each year from water, hygiene, and sanitation-related illnesses, particularly diarrheal diseases (WHO 2013). The effects of poor water quality and supply are particularly pronounced in children under five years of age, as well as persons who are malnourished or immunosuppressed. Moreover, water and hygiene-related illnesses have been
associated with decreased school attendance, decreased productivity, and increased rates of malnutrition (Guerrant et al., 2008). Studies have also suggested that malnutrition and recurrent episodes of diarrhea during childhood contribute to long-term epigenetic changes associated with diseases such as metabolic syndrome, as well as decreased cognitive function (Petri et al. 2008; Checkley et al. 1998; WHO/UNICEF 2014).
In Guatemala, approximately 78.7% of inhabitants have access to “improved” water sources, which are constructed to protect the water against outside contamination (PAHO 2014; Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance 2014). Nevertheless, many Guatemalan water delivery systems function erratically, and water may not comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards even if from an improved source. The Pan American Health Organization estimates that although 65% of Guatemala’s “total water volume is available” for use, approximately 40% of this supply cannot be used because of high levels of contamination. In a 2008 water quality survey of piped water systems, over half of the systems sampled had insufficient chlorine levels, and one-fourth showed bacterial contamination (PAHO 2014). Unsurprisingly, diarrhea, intestinal parasites, intestinal amoebas, dengue, and malaria still rank amongst the top twenty causes of morbidity in Guatemala (Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance 2014). II. Point-of-Use Water Filtration and Education Program in Rural Guatemala Program Design Since 2007, the University of Virginia-Guatemala Initiative (UVA-GI) has been working in the Lake Atítlan region of Guatemala to improve health outcomes and “develop mutually beneficial and sustainable relationships” (UVA Center for Global Health 2014). In 2011, UVA-GI students and in-country leadership conducted a water needs assessment survey of three different communities around the urban center of San Lucas Tolíman. Ultimately, the community of
San Martín was selected to engage in a pointof-use (POU) water filtration and education program. Over the next two years, UVA graduate students Andrea Maddox and Amanda Below worked with in-country project leaders and community partners to develop and initiate a health education and POU filter program. Maddox and Below crafted an interactive curriculum that would be taught over the course of 18 weeks, concluding with the distribution of Hydraid BioSand filters to each of the graduating participants. The curriculum was divided into three main units: hygiene, nutrition, and filter use and maintenance. Subsequently, a local nurse, Felipa Archila Julajuj, was hired to administer the curriculum as the health educator (Maddox, 2013). The community leadership committee, the Concejos Comunitarios de Desarrollo (COCODEs), chose the first group of 21 participants, prioritizing families of lower economic status with a greater number of small children. Men were not excluded from participating in the classes, however since women are primarily responsible for water within the home, all participants were women. Evaluating Short-Term Outcomes
At the initiation of the program, Maddox and Below developed and implemented several tools for evaluating the progress of the course and functionality of the filters (Maddox, 2013). Pre- and post-tests were used during each unit to assess any short-term changes in knowledge resulting from the classes. A member of the UVAGI in-country staff also conducted structured interviews with participants in the absence of the health educator, in order to encourage participants to speak candidly about how they felt about the course. Furthermore, the health educator provided monthly reports about the progress of the classes, specifically commenting on the goals reached, problems encountered, and participant attendance. Maddox and Below also assessed the care, maintenance, and effectiveness of the Hydraid filters in each participant’s home. Post-filtered water was tested for the presence of E. coli, total coliforms, and nitrates, with the goal of assessing the functionality of the filter itself. The short-term evaluation revealed
that the first round of classes was generally successful. Participants often explicitly stated that they were learning new information from the education courses, and pre- and post-tests revealed short-term knowledge retention. The overall program received positive reviews, and women generally expressed that the POU filters were a good and necessary project for the community. The primary concern among participants was filter malfunction (Maddox 2013). III. Long-Term Evaluation
The Program Evaluation framework released by the Centers for Disease Control suggests that a more long-term evaluation should be conducted over the life of the program to ensure that the intervention has not just worked, but continues to work (CDC, 2014). In the published literature, many long-term quantitative evaluations of POU water filtration programs have used E. coli, total coliforms, and bacterial testing as proxies for program success. Most of these studies compare E. coli counts in the source water to post-filtered water, in order to assess the efficacy of the filter in removing disease-causing organisms (Sisson et al., 2013; Stauber et al., 2008; Stauber et al., 2006; Huang, 2002). Measures of turbidity in pre- and post-filtered water have been used to estimate the ability of the filter to remove particulate matter (Huang, 2002) . A few studies have used self-reports of diarrheal illness to supplement water testing (Stauber et al., 2008).
In combination, these varied quantitative approaches to POU filter assessment enable researchers to gather data on the functionality of the filter by measuring changes in E. coli concentrations, changes in turbidity, as well as measuring the overall lifespan of the filter. Nevertheless, purely quantitative approaches often ignore other factors that contribute to the success or failure of POU water filtration systems. Without a qualitative evaluation of community members’ perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes, a POU program evaluation lacks the tools necessary to fully understand elements of the quantitative evaluation. In the published literature, the majority of
purely qualitative evaluations of POU filtration programs assess perceptions and attitudes towards the program, as well as overall changes in health knowledge and habits resulting from the intervention. Several studies use randomized interviews with POU technology recipients to elucidate opinions of the program and discuss factors that contributed to the participant’s willingness to use the technology, as well as modifications the participant made to his or her hygiene routine as a result of the program (De Ver Dye et al., 2011; Mosler et al., 2014; O’Reilly et al., 2008). Studies have also correlated, or triangulated, researcher observations with participant responses during interviews, and in some cases have relied on pure observation to further understand changes in health, sanitation, and hygiene resulting from the intervention (Wood et al., 2008). Additionally, several qualitative studies have interviewed various stakeholders within the community aside from program participants, in order to obtain a more complete understanding of the factors that contribute to the adoption and proper maintenance of POU filtration technologies (Dubois et al., 2010; Christen et al., 2011).
Therefore, qualitative studies provide a social dimension to participants’ responses to the intervention, helping to illuminate sources of potential motivation and discouragement for adopting a POU filter system. Furthermore, qualitative assessments can help uncover areas that researchers did not originally anticipate to be impacted by the program, such as selfperceived productivity at work or school and feelings of community empowerment. However, a purely qualitative study’s dearth of quantitative data limits understanding of filter maintenance and functionality, as well as the impact of the program on the community’s waterborne disease burden. While a combination of qualitative and quantitative tools seems to be an ideal method for gauging program success, the number of published studies that use a mixed-methodology for POU filter program evaluation is limited. Duke and colleagues endeavored to evaluate the long-term efficacy of a POU system by correlating
qualitative participant interviews with results of post-filtered water tests (Duke et al., 2006). Nonetheless, even mixed-methods approaches such as this study can sometimes fail to accurately represent key stakeholders within the community, such as non-participants, local project leadership, and community leadership.
Thus, in order to implement a longer-term evaluation of the POU water filtration and education program in San Martín, UVA program leaders developed a set of criteria that could be used to measure program success, including (1) filter maintenance and functionality, (2) perceptions of the education program, (3) perceptions of the filter program, (4) changes in health, and (5) overall perceptions of the program. This study utilizes many of the qualitative and quantitative tools adopted by the aforementioned studies, including interviews, focus groups, and water testing. However, unlike previous studies, this study sought to analyze the program at various levels within the community, in order to obtain feedback from all stakeholders involved, including community leaders. Program leaders also designed the evaluation to include a high number of contact hours with program participants and community members, further differentiating this evaluation from previous POU filter assessments. By pairing new approaches with the methodologies used by previous evaluation studies, the program intended to develop a novel approach for evaluating POU filter programs that will help generate a more holistic understanding of program success.
their homes shortly after graduating from the course. An additional 28 women were enrolled in the second-round of classes. This group graduated from the program and received filters during the third week of the evaluation. Four women initially participated in the first or second round of classes, but dropped out. Out of the 110 families, 57 had not yet been offered the opportunity to engage in the program by the COCODEs, and were considered “nonparticipants” during this evaluation. Quantitative Data Collection
The quantitative evaluation included (1) environmental surveys of the filter set-up and (2) E. coli and total coliform testing of filtered water for first-round participants. Since second-round participants received their filters during the evaluation, it was not feasible to include them in the quantitative evaluation. The environmental survey noted each participant’s process of water collection and deposition into the filter from source to storage container, the timeline and method of water storage, method of cleaning, and potential sources of process-related contamination. Potential sources of contamination were identified prior to conducting the environmental surveys, in order to create a standardized set of criteria. Table 1 contains the sources of process related-contamination, and the rationale for classification. Additionally, post-filtered water was tested
Population San Martín is located in the Sololá department of Guatemala, and is home to 110 indigenous Mayan families, with a total population of 461 individuals. This evaluation took place over a four-week time period, beginning on July 3, 2013. Twenty-one women had completed the first-round education class in November 2012, approximately seven months prior to the evaluation. Filters were installed in
Source: Author, 2014
Table 1. Potential Sources of Contamination in the POU Water Filtration Process Potential Source of Contamination Dirty secondary storage container (e.g., particulate matter, dirt) Scratched secondary storage container Damaged tube (e.g., scratches or breaks) Tube tied to prevent outflow
Rationale May indicate infrequent cleaning, improper cleaning, and presence of contaminants Scratches can harbor bacteria if not sufficiently cleaned.
Scratches or a break in the tube can harbor bacteria if not sufficiently cleaned. Causes “back-up” of water in the filter. Excess water at the top of the filter can kill the biolayer. High flow rate (> 0.8 L/min) May indicate air pockets, or “holes” in the sand or rocks. Water passing through the system too quickly may not be sufficiently filtered. Chlorine used improperly to clean Chlorine used on diffuser plate will kill the biolayer. Not apparatus, or not at all using chlorine to clean increases the chances that existing contaminants continue to survive. Dipping of hands or pitcher into Outside contamination (ie. bacteria or viruses) from kitchen secondary storage container utensils or hands can contaminate the entire water supply in the secondary storage container. *Criteria are specific to the Hydraid BioSand filter systems used in the community of San Martín. for E. coli and total coliforms, whose presence indicates that water may be contaminated by human or animal wastes (EPA, 2014). The day before collection, all households were instructed to clean their filters as normal, and to put water in the filter the next morning. On the day of collection, two 100 mL samples of filtered water were taken from each filter, cultured on separate plates, and incubated. Two plates of bleached water and two plates of bottled drinking water were also incubated to serve as controls. Quantitative Data Analysis
After incubating testing plates for 24 hours, the number of coliform colonies per sample was noted and recorded using pre-established guidelines for interpreting the test results, with consideration of four different factors. First, many rural Guatemalans have an aversion to the taste and smell of chlorine in drinking water, which has been documented in published literature, and was verified by first hand experience in the community (Maddox, 2014; Nagata et al., 2011). While women use chlorine for cleaning, the overwhelming majority of
women in the community will not use chlorine for the purpose of decontaminating water. Second, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water regulations state that water should have 0 colony-forming units (CFUs) per 100 mL of water. However, this guideline assumes that drinking water has been chlorinated after filtration (EPA, 2014). Third, the doubling time of E. coli is short (15 to 20 minutes) in comparison to the average time elapsed between taking the sample in San Martín and plating it, which ranged from two to eight hours. Lastly, while the aim of the program was to ensure the sterility of the equipment, lab conditions were not ideal. These factors were considered in developing threshold levels for filter cleanliness, seen in Table 2. Qualitative Data Collection
The qualitative assessment involved data collection from five key groups of stakeholders: (1) participants, (2) non-participants, (3) local health leaders, (4) community leaders, and (5) in-country project leadership, using both individual interviews and focus groups. The
E. coli Test Results of Post-Filtered Water from Hydraid POU Filter Systems in the Community of San Martín E. coli Test Results
2 Negative 1 Negative, 1 Low Positive (< 5 CFUs/100mL) 2 Low Positive (< 30 CFUs/100 mL)
Need to retest? No No
No E. coli present. Given doubling time of E. coli and potential for lab-related contamination, positive result could be due to human error. Low Levels of With two low positive results, contamination Yes E. coli could be related to the filter or filter maintenance, or due to the lab environment. 2 High Positive (≥30 High Levels of With two high positive results, contamination is Yes CFUs/100 mL) E. coli probably related to filter or filter maintenance. Transtheoretical Model of health behavior change was used to develop the interview questions, and the theory of Community Organization and Community Building helped identify key stakeholders (Glanz, Rimer, and Lewis, 2002).
Program leaders conducted 21 individual interviews with first-round participants, and two focus groups with seven to eight secondround participants. Questions pertained to participants’ opinions of the filter program, the education program, overall perceptions of the program, and changes in health. Program leaders facilitated ten individual interviews with female non-participants, and asked questions about current water usage and hygiene habits, perceptions of the program, the health of their families, and their desire to participate in the program. Community leaders, the COCODEs, local health leaders, including the local physician and community health promoter, and UVAGI program leaders were also interviewed. Program leaders from UVA-GI facilitated two focus groups with the COCODEs, met with Dr. Rafael Tun - the physician at the clinic in San Lucas Tolíman - and interviewed one of San Martín’s health promoters. Program leaders worked closely with the in-country leaders —
Table 2. Guidelines for Interpretation
the filter specialist and health educator— on a daily basis, and often had informal conversations about the program. However, more formal individual interviews were conducted with each person as well. All of these interviews and focus groups inquired about the stakeholder’s perceptions of the program, the need for a POU filter program in the community, changes in community health they attributed to the program, and potential expansion of UVA-GI in San Martín and surrounding communities (see Table 3). Since participants were not familiar with recording devices, program leaders chose not to record the interviews in order to make the participants feel more comfortable. All interviews were conducted in Spanish by undergraduate or graduate students from the University of Virginia. The in-country leaders were present for all interviews, and would translate into the local Mayan language, Kaqchikel, when necessary. Qualitative Data Analysis
Notes from the interviews and focus groups were synthesized and entered into an electronic database. Since the interviews were not recorded, participant responses were paraphrased, not directly transcribed. The questions were divided into four categories:
Table 3. Description of Key Stakeholders and Type of Qualitative Tool Used Key Stakeholder Description of Role in Program or Community
Type of Qualitative Tool Used
Round 2 Participants (n=28)
2 focus groups with 7–-8 women each in the meeting hall at the local school. Filter specialist or/ health educator was present to help translate and facilitate the discussion.
Round 1 Participants (n=21)
Women who completed the education component in November 2012, filters were subsequently installed. Had been using filters for approximately 6 months at the time of the evaluation. Women who completed the education component in July 2013 during the evaluation. Program leaders helped install their filters with the health educator and filter specialist.
Non- Participants Women and men who had not yet been given the (n=57) opportunity to participate in the program. Community Leadership, the COCODEs (n=11) In-country Leaders (n=2)
Community Health Promoter Local Physician
Group of 11 men, chosen by community members, who serve as the community’s governing body. Responsible for selecting the group of families who were given the opportunity to participate in the program. At the time of the evaluation only 2 of the COCODEs had wives participating in program (Round 2). Filter specialist and health educator. Filter specialist conducts follow-up after filter installation. Health educator teaches the course and also helps conduct follow-up filter evaluations.
Responsible for overseeing and monitoring the health of children, and people with chronic illnesses like diabetes. The community health promoter was also a participant in the 1st round. Dr. Rafael Tun worked with the UVA-GI program founder. Sees patients from 26 communities surrounding San Lucas Tolíman.
(1) perceptions of the education program, (2) perceptions of the filter program, (3) changes in the health of participants, and (4) perceived impacts of the overall education and filter program on the community. Since the survey tools were tailored to each stakeholder group, Versus coding was used to highlight common trends in responses between all participant groups. Themes in participant responses were identified based on the aforementioned categories. Stakeholder responses were compared internally first to elucidate common themes or discrepancies between members of the same participant group. Responses were subsequently compared to the underlying themes of all groups, likewise endeavoring to reveal commonalities and disagreements between stakeholders.
Interviews in participant’s home. Filter specialist/ health educator was present to help translate and facilitate interview.
Interviews with a sample of 10 nonparticipants.
2 focus groups in the community meeting hall, and then in the meeting hall of the local school. Second focus group was facilitated by in-country program Director, Jessica OhanaGonzalez. Interviews and numerous informal conversations and interactions. Both the filter specialist and health educator helped program leaders conduct the interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders.
2 interviews in participant’s home —– the first as a round 1 participant, and the second as the community health promoter Interview in office at clinic in San Lucas Tolíman.
This protocol was approved by the University of Virginia’s Institutional Review Board SBS #2013019900. Results
Quantitative Results In accordance with the established guidelines, the houses of 7 first-round participants had postfiltered water that was clean, and the remaining 14 houses yielded either high and low levels of E. coli contamination (see Table 4 and Figure 1). The test results were subsequently correlated with the environmental surveys, looking for any patterns in the potential sources of contamination for a filter system, and the level of E. coli present in post-filtered water. Specifically
Table 4. Post-Filtered Water E. coli Test Results for First-Round Participants E. Coli Test Results 2 Positive 1 Positive, 1 Low Negative (< 5 CFUs/100mL) or “Mixed” 2 Low Positive (< 30 CFUs/100mL) 2 High Positives (≥ 30 CFUs/100mL)
Interpretation Clean Clean
Number of filters (n=21) 4 3
Low levels High levels
Figure 1. Post-filtered Water E. coli Test Results of First-Round Participants (n=21) Subdivided by Household
* Houses 1, 3, 4, 12, 13, 14, 15 = Clean; Houses 7, 9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 = low levels of E. coli; Houses 2, 5, 6, 8, 11 = high levels of E. coli
noted were houses with a dirty or scratched secondary storage container, misuse or non-use of bleach, damaged tube, tied tube, high flow rate, and using a hand or pitcher to dip into the secondary storage container, comparing the number of potential sources to the actual E. coli results. Ultimately, 28 out of 35 total incidents of process-related contamination were documented at houses with two positive E. coli test results. (see Figure 2).
Qualitative Results See Table 5 for a summary of themes that emerged from stakeholder responses.
Figure 2. Potential Sources of Contamination in the San Martín POU Filter System, Correlated with Results of E. coli Testing of Post-filtered Water
Damaged tube Tube tied to prevent outflow High flow rate Dirty secondary storage container Scratched secondary storage container Open/dip into secondary storage container Did not use, or misused chlorine
2 Positive Results Mixed (n=14) Results (n=3) 5 1 2 0 2 0 10 1 3 0 2 1 4 2
2 Negative Results (n=4) 0 1 0 0 1 0 0
*The numbers indicate the number of households where the process related contamination was observed. The colors are meant to help visualize the frequency, with darker red indicates higher frequency of process-related contamination.
Table 5. Themes in Stakeholders’ Responses to Questions Regarding the Education Program, the Filter Program, and Overall Changes in Health Perceptions of Education Program • • • • • • • • •
Participants enjoyed classes Participants learned new information about nutrition, hygiene, bacteria, filter maintenance, how to care for children and household Information is important and necessary to learn Classes have benefitted participating women Class structure is good as it is (e.g., hour, time commitment, information, exams) Husbands do not always understand why their wives need to attend the classes Unclear how well women have retained the knowledge More review sessions should be implemented to reinforce the knowledge More follow-up should be done
Perceptions of Filter Program • • • • • • •
Perceived Changes in Health
Overall Perception of Program • • • • •
Program addresses longstanding need to improve the quality of water within the community Community members expressed interest in partnering with UVA-GI in the future, namely to move the source pump on Lake Atítlan The involvement of foreigners does not undermine the success of the program The selection process is a potential source of tension amongst community members Goal of the program has not yet been achieved because some families still lack filters
Using the filter greatly increases the quality of water Some women no longer have to buy water — filter has saved them money If a participant is experiencing a problem (e.g., low flow rate, worms/ dirt at top of filter) she continues to use filter Women are discouraged from using the filter by negative stories about filter problems from others Many women would feel uncomfortable addressing a problem with the filter on their own Filter delivery and installation process can be a source of tension between community members and UVA-GI Some community members think that in order to solve their water problems, the source pump should be moved in addition to continuing the filter program
• • • •
Program benefits the health of the community Decrease in the frequency of diarrheal illness amongst participating families Fewer people need medication for treatment of diarrheal illness, and fewer people have been visiting local clinic because of waterborne illness Health of participating families has improved
Perceptions of Education Program Before entering the community, program leaders discussed the education program with the health educator, Felipa Archila Julajuj. During these conversations, she highlighted the importance of the program as a necessary supplement to receiving a filter. Before taking the class, she said that many women did not know why drinking unclean water was harmful to their health, nor did they understand the importance of hygienic behaviors and maintaining a clean household. Since the first round of women graduated, Julajuj said she has noticed a difference in the cleanliness of some of their households when she conducts home visits. She has also noticed that one of the participating women has started to sell healthier snacks to children coming home from school – instead of selling packaged foods, she now sells cut mango and other less processed foods. She thinks that this change reflects the new knowledge about proper nutrition that the woman learned during class. However, Julajuj is concerned that women are not retaining all of the information they learned. She held a meeting with the first-round women three months after the filters had been installed in their homes, and organized some games designed to quiz the participants about the course information. She reported that some women recalled a lot of the information, while others did not. She wants to conduct more follow-up evaluations of knowledge retention. An interview with the local physician underscored the importance of conducting follow-up evaluations as well as having “refresher” courses for community members. Dr. Rafael Tun stated that education is an important part of the program, but also highlighted the benefits of covering the information more than once, in order to ensure that the information is properly relayed. Julajuj also mentioned that the classes deter some women from participating in the program. A few women in the first and second round of classes dropped out, and she thinks it may be related to the time commitment. Some people want shorter classes, especially at the beginning
of the education program when they have just started to take the class. She also said that the class is hard to schedule because of women’s extensive duties in the household. Originally she told women that they couldn’t bring their children to class, which also may have discouraged them from participating.
Additionally, in her experience working with families in San Martín, she found that sometimes men do not understand the importance of taking the class, and think that it detracts from their wives’ household responsibilities. This topic was addressed this in a conversation with the COCODEs, a group of 11 male community members, wherein the leader responded that many women have time commitments both internal and external to the home, including selling goods during market days in nearby cities. Accordingly, the class can be difficult to schedule, and can detract from a woman’s commitment to fulfill her familial responsibilities. However, two members of the COCODEs had wives participating in the second round of classes, and expressed that the classes made their wives more animated, and actually increased their productivity in the household. Accordingly, program leaders wanted to gauge the participants’ perspective about the structure of the classes and the time commitment. All 21 first-round participants and all second-round participants in the focus groups said that the class was good or excellent, and they would not change anything about the structure of the course. One woman said that the classes took time away from her other commitments, but she still said she would not change the course.
The majority of participants stated that they enjoyed the class, and learned new information, particularly about nutrition, hygiene, bacteria, and caring for their children. Several secondround women now tell their children to buy healthier snacks when at school. Women in both the first and second round also thought that the class taught them how to be organized and on time. A few women even expressed interest in having longer classes. Finally, program leaders interviewed non-participants about
barriers to program participation related to the education course. One woman said that she would be interested in participating, but may not be able to because she has to travel; another non-participant said that she is not interested because her family is moving. Perceptions of Filter Program
All stakeholder groups viewed the filter program as beneficial for the community, and the quality of drinking water. First and second-round participants, the COCODEs, and the community health promoter stated that this program has been the first to address the water problem within San MartĂn. Families without filters must use approaches such as boiling, buying water, or collecting water in rain barrels. Buying water is cost-prohibitive for the majority of families, and boiling water can also be expensive because of the cost of firewood. Accordingly, all of the participants use the filters that have been installed in their homes, and nine out of ten nonparticipants expressed interest in participating in the program, sometimes citing the high price of firewood as a reason. None of the first-round participants experienced difficulty in using their filters; however seven participants stated that they would need outside help if they experienced a problem with their filter, either from a neighbor or from the filter specialist, while 11 felt confident that they could fix the problem on their own. The filter specialist and health educator originally suggested that if one woman experienced a problem with her filter, other participantsâ€™ opinions and filter usage could be impacted. However, when first-round participants were asked similar questions during the interviews, none of the participants said they would be affected. A few women declared that they would try to help the person experiencing the problem. Others said that some women do not take care of their filter, so it is not unreasonable to expect that they would have problems. While the filter specialist explained that he would not change anything about the installation process, the health educator said
that the filter delivery and installation process could be a source of contention within the community. After women graduate from the education course, they expect to receive a filter. However, for both the first and second-round participants, the filters arrived much later than expected. The health educator said that she felt uncomfortable entering the community when the filters were late, as the participants often blamed her, even though she had no control over the delivery process. Moreover, the filter installation process can be problematic, as some women blame filter problems on the person who installs it. For this reason, the health educator felt that filter installation should be a thoughtful and well-planned process, to minimize the potential for future problems. Perceived Changes in Health
Before using the filters to purify drinking water, participating families - children in particular - suffered from diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, amoebas, skin allergies, and the flu. Only one first-round participant said her family did not get sick often before the filter installation. This baseline level of illness was confirmed by interviews with second-round participants, nonparticipants, the community health promoter, and the local physician.
Since the installation of the filter, all but one first-round participant reported a decrease in the frequency of sickness of family members, and seven first-round participants explicitly stated that their health was better because of the filters. The community health promoter stated that fewer people approach her for advice or medication for diarrhea and vomiting. The local physician, who usually treats patients for giardia, ascariasis, and amoebas, also said that he has seen fewer patients from San MartĂn since the filters were installed. Overall Perceptions of Program
All key stakeholder groups, including nonparticipants, felt the education and filterprogram was beneficial for the community. During the focus groups with the second-round participants,
one woman stated that the program had “improved the quality of life” of community members. Furthermore, second-round participants said that the program has changed the way women think about water, and how they use it. The filter specialist and health educator both thought that the program was the right, or appropriate, project for the community.
When asked about the goals of the program, common responses included: making the water cleaner, helping the community become healthier, providing Second Class Closing Celebration, Source: Author, 2014 filters to each family, and overall community betterment — all of which closely align with The health educator also said that families who the goals of UVA-GI and program leadership. have filters can become “proud” once they get However, many stakeholders felt that the project their filter, which can upset those who do not yet goals had not yet been achieved, because many have filters. families still lacked a filter. When asked about the presence of foreigners in the community, no Discussion participants expressed concern that the success of the program had been negatively impacted by The quantitative metrics helped gauge the the involvement of American students. cleanliness of post-filtered water, and also highlighted certain steps in the filtration Although the COCODEs thought that the process that could serve as potential points program responded to the community’s of contamination. Seven of the 21 first-round need for clean drinking water, they felt the households generated post-filtered water that problem could not be completely resolved was clean. These households typically adhered until the source pump on Lake Atítlan was to the recommended cleaning process, using relocated. Accordingly, they expressed interest soap and water, and sometimes chlorine, to clean in partnering with UVA-GI to investigate the the tube and storage container. Correlating the infrastructure of the source pump, as well as environmental survey and filter results of the possible solutions. other 14 houses — which yielded two positive E. coli results — revealed potential markers Nonetheless, interviews with non-participants, for contamination, such as a scratched tube or as well as the health educator, unearthed several storage container, and/or deviation from the criticisms of the program. First, the overall recommended cleaning protocol. These filters, selection process seemed to be a source of particularly the five households with high community strife. Due to the staggered nature levels of E. coli (≥ 30 CFUs/100 mL), were not of the classes, women who are not offered the functioning at optimal capacity, probably due to opportunity to participate in a given round can process-related contamination. Ultimately, by get upset. Two non-participants said that they pairing water quality testing with an evaluation had been involved in health efforts within the of the each household’s filtration system, community before the program started, and UVA-GI program leaders were able to make were upset that they had not been chosen for recommendations for participants regarding the first rounds of classes. One wanted to be their filter systems, which were delivered by involved with the program in the future, but the the local program leaders. It is likely that the other stated that she did not wish to participate. adoption of a standardized cleaning process,
combined with the replacement of scratched storage containers and damaged tubes, will decrease the number of water systems with high levels of E. coli and total coliforms.
While the quantitative results suggest that the filter program should be modified and improved to minimize the number of houses with positive E. coli results, the qualitative results indicated that all key stakeholders regard the program as generally beneficial for San Martín. All groups of stakeholders noted how the program addressed the community’s need for cleaner water, and had improved the health of community members. Moreover, while some community leaders thought the educational component required anexcessive time commitment, interviews with program participants indicated that the women enjoyed the classes and felt that they learned new information pertaining to hygiene, nutrition, and caring for the health of their families. The qualitative results also revealed that the process of selecting participants could be a source of contention amongst community members. Originally, UVA-GI deferred to the community leaders, the COCODEs, to select the first, second, and last round of participants, in order to avoid conflict. However, a few nonparticipants felt they had been passed over, deterring some from future involvement in the program. Since this project evaluation preceded the last round of the program, it was undetermined if the attitudes of some nonparticipants would change if they were given the opportunity to participate. Moreover, the individual interviews with firstround participants showed that the lifetime of the filter was a potential point of concern. A few women indicated that they were satisfied with the program, but were worried about what they would do if they encountered a major problem with the filter when the filter specialist was no longer coming into the community on a weekly or monthly basis. Additionally, a few women asked what would happen when the filter “expires” after its ten-year lifespan.
Correlating the quantitative results with the qualitative interviews enabled program leaders to achieve a holistic idea of the program’s impacts on the community. From this midterm evaluation, the program was regarded as a success by both researcher and participant standards, although the quantitative evaluation highlighted areas for potential improvement in the filter program, and the qualitative assessment suggested the need for modifying the participant selection process and follow-up protocol.
By using both qualitative and quantitative methods to evaluate the POU filter program in San Martín, this study differentiates itself fromprevious POU filter research, which typically relies exclusively on one type of tool. Furthermore, this study used a high number of contact hours to interview key stakeholders at multiple levels within the community, which also distinguishes this evaluation from prior studies. Working closely with local program leaders improved facilitation of interviews with community members, and also ensured that the results of the water testing and suggestions for the households would be communicated in a way that was meaningful for program participants. Engaging program leaders in the evaluation process guaranteed that the evaluation informed future decisions about the program as well. Limitations
From a quantitative perspective, a primary limitation of this study was the inability to test the functionality of the filter itself. Given the recent installment of the filters compared with their ten-year lifespan, program leaders assumed that the filters were removing 99% of the bacterial, viral, and parasitic contaminants of pre-filtered water. Accordingly, high E. coli counts in post-filtered water was presumed to be process-related — essentially the “fault” of the participant. There was also substantial variation in the amount of time from collection to plating for post-filtered water, which undoubtedly influenced the results of the E. coli testing. Moreover, the lab used for plating and incubating the samples was not without limitations, which
may have resulted in contamination of the samples in some cases.
The qualitative results could be impacted by self-reporting bias, especially the data concerning changes in health. While the program uses stool sample testing before and after filter installation to gauge changes in waterborne illness, program leaders were unable to access the data, making it impossible to verify self-reported changes in the frequency of diarrheal and other water-related illness. While changing health knowledge is also an important goal of the program, program leaders did not identify an effective way to evaluate long-term changes in health behavior. Since the health educator and filter specialistdo not live in the community, it is difficult to use observation as a consistent and valid tool for analyzing behavior changes. Moreover, giving written posttests is complicated by low literacy rates. Additionally, program leaders’ association with UVA-GI may have influenced participant responses. Generally, participants may have been less inclined to give negative reviews of the program if they thought they could continue to benefit from the program in the future. Global Implications
This evaluation demonstrates the importance of triangulating various sources of data to obtain a multidimensional assessment of the efficacy and impact of POU filtration programs. Gauging the success of POU water filtration community engagement programs should involve qualitative interviews and focus groups with community members at multiple levels, which seek to evaluate (1) perceptions of the program, (2) its effect on intra-community relations, and (3) self-reported and observation-based assessment of health and behavior change. Furthermore, a quantitative assessment should endeavor to (4) evaluate the functionality of the intervention, and (5) verify self-reported changes in health and behavior. Finally, the evaluation process necessarily involves extensive time working on-site and a high number of contact hours with local stakeholders to enrich the interview
Acknowledgements First and foremost, I would like to thank the community members of San Martín for welcoming us into their homes, and for their participation and feedback concerning the program. I also would like to extend special gratitude to the UVA-GI staff members who have proven to be invaluable mentors throughout this process: Felipa Archila Julajuj, Marcos Sicay, Jessica Ohana-Gonzalez, Kent Wayland, and David Burt. Furthermore, this evaluation is based on the hard work and dedication of previous UVA-GI members Andi Maddox and Amanda Below. Finally, I would like to thank my fellow project teammates Gabe Planas, Lydia Prokosch, and Cameron Elward, and my thesis advisors Dr. Paige Hornsby and Dr. Wendy Novicoff.
Caroline Vines is originally from Richmond, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia Master’s in Public Health Program in 2014. Before doing research in Guatemala, she spent time working and volunteering in Honduras and Panama. Since June 2014 she has been working in Thomassique, Haiti as a Global Health Fellow at St. Joseph’s Clinic, where she is responsible for the oversight and evaluation of the Clinic’s programming, including the water purification, traditional birth attendant, and infant malnutrition programs. She is interested in water, sanitation and hygiene practices, particularly as it impacts maternal health and chronic malnutrition in under-resourced settings. Ms. Vines can be reached at email@example.com.
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Sex and Sanitation: Women Taking a Stand So They Can Take a Seat Stan Laskowski and Pamela J. Lazos
Since the days of the ancient Greeks, women, as the weaker sex, have had to devise clever and unique ways to achieve their hearts’ desires. Whether it was stopping a war, bringing down a dictator, or buying a new refrigerator, the method has always been the same: convince the men. Here are a few stories of modern women warriors still engaged in the struggle, some of whom are banding together in support of one of the most basic human needs: sanitation and the ability to WASH. When Mary Barra, a 30-year veteran of General Motors, the American multinational behemoth and America’s largest car company, took the helm as CEO of the ailing manufacturer, she made history as the first woman to head up that particular All Boys Car Club. Barra, number seven on the 2014 Forbes annual 100 Most Powerful Women list that includes such energetic and enigmatic personalities as Angela Merkel, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie, is not even a year into the job, and already her guidance is changing GM’s presence in the manufacturing world. Under her leadership, GM recalled the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, whose faulty ignition switch resulted in 31 accidents and 13 deaths, and dealt quickly with the federal litigation, paying a penalty in the amount of $35 million and agreeing to submit monthly safety reviews as part of the settlement. For years, the Cobalt safety issue had been pushed under the rug, but Barra looked at the entire mess as “an opportunity to accelerate cultural change”(Muller, 2014). Barra is a forerunner of the type of social change that is not only welcome, but necessary if our society is ever to enact the kind of dramatic redistribution of power that will help us manifest a peaceful and abundant 21st century as opposed to what we now have: myriad regional conflicts spattered across the globe, swelling numbers living below the poverty level, even among developed nations, and one impending environmental disaster after another, threatening to sink us. Where women are involved in decision-making,
force, intimidation and scare tactics are generally traded in favor of options that include cooperation, consideration and empathy. As CEO, Barra brought her woman’s sensibilities with her and a woman behaving as a woman in a man’s world is not only refreshing, but necessary1. Barra, Merkel, Winfrey and others of their ilk are a change from the status quo, one to be emulated and admired. However, throughout history, conditions have not been as favorable and some women were forced to use the only weapon available in their arsenal: sex. Think Cleopatra who used her feminine wiles to coerce a general (Marc Anthony) (Goldsworthy, 2010). Think Coco Chanel who had a 10-year plus relationship with a Nazi intelligence officer (Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage), and in the process secured her fashion queendom (Vaughan, 2011). Think “Lysistrata,” a fictional character in a play written by the Greek comic playwright, Aristophanes, and performed in Ancient Greece circa 411 B.C.
Lysistrata successfully organized the women of Greece to forego sex with their husbands in an effort to end the 27-year long Peloponnesian War (a war between Athens and the Peloponnese states led by Sparta). Had Lysistrata been a 1 Worldwide, women account for a paltry 3% to 4% of CEOs,
despite strong statistical evidence to support the fact that women may be better leaders. For example, women scored higher than men in overall leadership effectiveness, and on 12 out of 16 “leadership competencies.” Why Women are More Effective Leaders Than Men, Business Insider, January 24, 2014. http://www. businessinsider.com/study-women-are-better-leaders-2014-1
man, she may have been a general in the very war she was trying to stop. Alas, she was born a lowly woman, a second class citizen by gender, meaning Athenian society would never care much about what she thought. Lysistrata’ssuccess lay in banding the women of Greece together to speak with one cohesive voice. Like a fabric of many threads, together the women were strong and durable, but when threads are pulled or broken, so is the strength of the garment. The Athenian women agreed to forego sex out of necessity (although they weren’t happy about it), but what they didn’t realize was that this one small detail of organizing into a cohesive group could revolutionize how society interacts as a whole.
There are many take aways from the almost 2500 year old play — the imbalance of power between the sexes; the fact that many women can’t be upfront about what they want, but have to almost trick men into giving it to them; the notion that a woman who speaks her mind is seen as aggressive and overreaching — but the one we like best is that it’s important, imperative for women to become involved even when society acts as if it doesn’t need them. Maybe it’s a result of biology or some kind of hard-wired call to action, but men are not always, shall we say, comfortable allowing the situation to unfold in other than the most direct, in-your-face manner. Not every man and not every situation, mind you, but if jungle rules apply, and mostly they do, the guy with the biggest stick is the guy who makes the rules. What if there isn’t room for jungle rules in this new millennium? What if there is only room for cooperation? The old adage that behind every great man there is a great woman is certainly true in more situations than history has recognized, but what is fascinating as we pick up speed in the second decade of the 21st century is how many women are still content to be seen and not heard. Lysistrata, rightfully, noted that men’s causes are women’s causes and since you can’t have cause without effect, it’s generally women who are left to pick up the pieces of a bad situation, women who are left husbandless and childless and living in poverty. Why pick up pieces when you can
create the world you want in the first place? It appears that pockets of women across the globe are asking themselves that very same question.
In Liberia in 2003, under the leadership of Leymah Gbowee who won a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts, Liberian women staged a monthslong sex strike, combined with additional efforts such as asking Muslim and Christian women to come together to pray for peace, that resulted in the end of a 14-year long civil war (Ahmed, 2014). Gbowee admitted that the strike had little practical effect, but it did get people’s attention, which is required with any kind of social change. In Pereira, Colombia in 2006, women held a tenday sex strike to end gang violence. It worked, and the murder rate dropped by approximately 26 % (Ahmed, 2014).
In the Philippines in 2011, due to the unsafe conditions on the main road to the market, women devised a sex strike at, of all places, their sewing circle. After a few weeks, the road was reopened and safe for travel (Ahmed, 2014).
In August 2012, in the small African nation of Togo, female members of a group called “Let’s Save Togo,” went on a sex strike in an effort to denounce a four decades long rule by a single family in what was purportedly a democratic country (Ghitis, 2014). The head of the group told the Togolese women to “keep the gate of your motherland locked up for a week.” Unfortunately, it was not successful and the Gnassingbé family is still in control of the country today, but it drew people’s attention to the problem. Sometimes baby steps are progress. In the U.S. in 2012, the “Liberal Ladies who Lunch” organized a sex strike from April 28 to May 5 in support of the contraception mandate that had drawn heavy fire on Capitol Hill and which was requiring that some contraceptive costs be afforded health care coverage (Ahmed, 2014). The conservatives were laughing their heads off since abstinence has always been their preferred conservative method of birth control and here “liberal” women were abstaining voluntarily, but the women had the last laugh
when Congress approved the contraception mandate. In October 2013 in the small town of Barbacoas, Colombia, women went on their second sexstrike in two years, called the “crossed legs movement” (Global Post, 2013). The women resorted to abstinence in order to get repairs made to some of the more remote roads where it could take hours to travel a few miles and where a pregnant woman and her baby died from complications related to childbirth. The first strike in 2011 only resulted in minor improvements so the women were at it again.
We’ve all read the WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) statistics. In the 21st century in some developing countries, women walk miles — on average 6km in Africa and Asia — to gather water (UN Water, 2014). They carry their jerrycan — a 40-liter bucket that, when filled, weighs about 44 lbs. — and lug it back to their homes on their heads. Years of carrying this weight results in spinal column injuries, but if you’re a woman, what can you do, since it’s your responsibility to collect water? Perhaps you’ll bring yourself, your clothes, your dishes, and whatever else needs washing to the water source, a pond or a river, and you’ll bathe yourself and clean your clothes and dishes and then you’ll defecate in that same water body. In the U.S., that’s unthinkable, but in some parts of developing nations, it’s standard operating procedure. E coli and waterborne diseases are rampant and approximately 750,000 children under the age of five die from diarrhea caused by these diseases each year (UN Water, 2014). Or perhaps you’re the one out of three woman who risks physical or sexual assault because you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night outside of your home (Unilever, 2006). Statistics say that more than a billion people defecate in the open every day (UN Water, 2014). At night, the danger intensifies, as the world witnessed recently when two teenage
Source: World Bank, 2015 girls from the Uttar Pradesh state in India were raped and hanged. The girls had gone to the open fields to relieve themselves and instead, met an abhorrent and untimely end (BBC News, 2015). So instead of relieving yourself, you learn to suppress your urges, otherwise you may get more than relief from your bathroom break. If you’re a girl and you’ve just begun menstruating, it’s likely you will stay home from school since there are insufficient facilities for bathing during the day (Unilever, 2006) (Mcmahon, 2011).
Thankfully there are people working to generate solutions. NGOs and for profits can make inroads where governments sometimes fail, working hard at simple solutions: to bring flush toilets to even the poorest houses, and simple water sanitation systems that enable entrepreneurs, generally women, from these poorest areas to provide clean water for their townspeople and make a bit of money as well. The change is slow, but brilliant minds are at work and with the seeds planted and just the right amount of good clean water, there can be positive change. Yet more is necessary if change is to be long lasting. Women need to be part of the conversation, for while threats, violence and fear campaigns may keep people in line for a time, they will never work over time. By excluding
women from the conversation, you are excluding one half of the world’s population, the yin half, the receiving, soothing, welcoming half. A worldview based upon a fire mentality — the yang, masculine side — that does not include a tempering water element — the yin, female side — is a world destined to burn itself out. By all indications, the world stands balanced now, on the head of a pin. Climate change, rising sea levels, melting polar ice caps, species extinction, overpopulation, any one of these might be enough to take us out, but all at once is an epic crisis. Maybe it’s time for women to take a cue from the gay rights movement and come out of the closet with their opinions and ideas, or perhaps it’s time to storm the citadel, a call to arms using our weapons of choice: women’s words and women’s wisdom. One such positive step could be a call to action to fix the sanitation issues that plague billions by treating WASH as the battle cry through two words - WASH Me. Imagine the power emanating from two little words with one voice of millions of women behind it. Throughout history, women as the fairer sex have had little clout, but history is changing in unprecedented leaps, moment to moment. There are women who have been collecting water for most of their lives who need to have a say, women innovators and engineers,hydrologists and hydrogeologists, doers and thinkers who should be key parties with standing in the decision-making, women who have the knowledge and experience to formulate workable solutions, ones best for each of their communities, for every community is different, and who knows home better than women?
World Toilet Day is on November 19, 2015. Why not join forces with the World Toilet Organization (WTO), an NGO dedicated to improving sanitation worldwide. You can donate your time, or money, organize your block, or your state. No effort is too big or too small. How about a race to the pond? People like to run, and fitness first is in so why not organize a race in your town or state? Money raised through pledges could go toward simple water solutions in underserved areas.
The Millennium Development Goals — one of which is to halve by 2015 the amount of people who lack access to WASH — are to be met by December 31, 2015 (UN, 2014). What can you accomplish by then? Better yet, what could you accomplish if you knew you could not fail?
Take the pledge. Join an online chat group and engage in a dialogue dedicated to working on world water issues. Submit your name, location, and email address to the wH2O Journal blog, who will keep a running tab of participants and submit your ideas to the U.N. before 12/31/15. Share your ideas with like-minded collaborators and let’s create the kind of world we want to live in, one where women and men work side-byside, creating global solutions.
The time for conflict has passed; the time forcooperation is here, and that is where women excel — cooperatively. Set them loose on these issues, modern women versus modern problems of water, sanitation and hygiene, and the world will see how well women WASH.
Need some inspiration to get things moving? Here are a few additional ideas:
Do you live in an area that does not have access to basic sanitation? Why not organize your own “crossed legs movement,” or any other kind of movement, really, for one month. Anything to get the conversation going and to move it from talk to action. 37
Stan Laskowski has been a senior executive, leader, teacher, scientist, advisor, and mentor during his career in environmental protection. Currently he is a lecturer/advisor at the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn he develops and teaches environmental management and policy courses and advises students and professors in many Departments. His areas of special interest include issues related to the attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals for water and sanitation, US and global environmental management and policy, environmental regulation, and making Penn’s campus more sustainable. He has been and continues to be active in support of various nonprofit organizations. In 2006, Mr. Laskowski, with other environmental leaders, founded the Philadelphia Global Water Initiative www.pgwi.org, a Regional network of organizations dedicated to helping to provide water and sanitation services through projects in the developing world and through education and research. He was also instrumental in establishing the Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership at Wharton/Penn and remains active in their efforts regarding business and the environment. In 2009 he received the LPS Distinguished Teaching Award for Non-Standing Faculty. Mr. Laskowski is a former Senior Executive at the US Environmental Protection Agency where he served for over 31 years including 15 years as the Deputy Regional Administrator for the Middle-Atlantic States for which he was awarded the Presidential Distinguished Executive Award.
Pam Lazos’ passions run deep and wide, however for brevity’s sake, let’s just say her family, writing, and the environment. She is the author of “Six Sisters”, a collection of novellas (released January 9, 2015); a blogger (www.greenlifebluewater. wordpress.com); on the Board of Advisors for the wH2O Journal, the Journal of Gender and Water (U of Penn); an active and enthusiastic member of the Jr. League of Lancaster; a former correspondent for her local newspaper (Lancaster Intelligencer Journal); a literary magazine contributor (Rapportage); a former Editor-inChief for the Environmental Law and Technology Journal (Temple Law School); a ghostwriter (Abracadabra); the author of a children’s book (Into the Land of the Loud); and of the novel “Oil and Water”, an environmental murder mystery about oil spills and green technology (due December of 2015); an environmental lawyer for the U.S. EPA in Philadelphia (the opinions of which she does not represent here); and, because it’s cool, a beekeeper’s apprentice. She practices laughter daily.
Works Cited Ahmed, Maureen. “Women Around the World Are Using Sex Strikes to Create Social Change.” World.Mic. February 19, 2014. Accessed October, 2014. http://mic.com/articles/82137/women-around-the-world-areusing-sex-strikes-to-create-social-change
BBC News, India, Why India’s Sanitation Crisis Kills Women, May 30, 2014. Half a billion Indians, representing almost 50% of that nation’s population live without basic sanitation and must defecate in the open.
Ghitis, Frida. “A Nation’s Sex Strike for Democracy.” Cnn.com. August 29, 2012. Accessed September 1, 2014. http://www.cnn. com/2012/08/29/opinion/ghitis-sex-strikes/ Goldsworthy, Adrian, Antony and Cleopatra, pub. Yale University Press, September 28, 2010.
Mcmahon, Shannon A. et al. “The Girl with Her Period is the One to Hang Her Head, Reflections on Menstrual Management among Schoolgirls in Rural Kenya.” International Health and Human Rights, 11.1 (2011); 7 International Health and Human Rights, 2011. Web 27 May 2014. Muller, Joann, Power Shift, Forbes, June 16, 2014.
Vaughan, Hal, Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War, pub. by Vintage Books, a Division of Random House, September 2, 2011.
Unilever, We Can’t Wait. Rep. WaterAid, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, 2006. Web. 26 May 2014. UN.org, Millennium Development Goals and Beyond 2015, January 1, 2014. Accessed January 1, 2014. http://www.un.org/ millenniumgoals/bkgd.shtml UN Water, Access to Sanitation, UN, 26 May 2014. Web. 26 May 2014. UN Water, Human Right to Water, UN 5 May 2014. Web 26 May 2014.
“Women in Columbia Hold a “no Sex” Protest until Road Is Fixed.” Voxxi.com. November 18, 2013. Accessed September 1, 2014. http://storyful.com/stories/5859-women-hold-legs-crossedsex-strike-over-road-repairs; http://voxxi.com/2013/11/08/ women-colombia-hold-no-sex-protest/
The Theatre and The Latrine: Examining Women’s Health Narratives as a Means for Creating Sustainable Sanitation Infrastructure Victoria Cano Abstract In the summer of 2013, I traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh to directly observe the relationship between gender advancement and national improvements in sanitation practices. My research and experiences in Bangladesh have led me to the conclusion that, while a great deal has been accomplished in terms of improved sanitation, further improvements cannot be made unless the critical importance of Bangladeshi women, including their sanitation needs and their pivotal position as role models of sanitary behavior, are placed at the forefront of Bangladesh’s, and the world’s, sanitation stratagem. I believe that one of the most effective tools to support this empowerment of women and to further Bangladesh’s sanitation development is the use of community-based theatre as a means for creating powerful, positive, and sustainable change. Introduction
It’s a dangerous business going to the bathroom. At least in Bangladesh it is. Since its first days as a newborn nation Bangladesh has been embroiled in a war, a war for the health and well being of its population. This struggle has not been fought on battlefields but in the fields of rural communities, and in the confines of latrines. Over the past forty years Bangladesh has had a great many victories in the ‘War for Sanitation,’ successes earned through increasing access to health education, latrine construction, and community development programs encouraging better sanitary practices. Yet, even though Bangladesh has been a leader in achieving the Millennium Development Goal to improve sanitation practices, the war is not yet won.
Sanitary practices relating to personal hygiene, waste management, and environmental cleanliness are the intimate by-products of any nation. Only twenty years ago, 34% of Bangladesh’s population practiced open defecation, using nearby fields instead of latrines (UNICEF/WHO, 2014).
Today Bangladesh has reduced open defecation rates to less than 3% of the population (UNICEF/ WHO, 2014). According to the United Nations Development Program, Bangladesh is on track to have 100% of its population using an improved drinking water source and using improved sanitation facilities by 2015, fulfilling an MDG that many neighboring nations will fail to reach (UNDP, 2013). This accomplishment is especially impressive given that the United Nations estimates that 2.5 billion people in developing countries still lack access to improved sanitation facilities (United Nations, 2014). However, sanitation improvements require 100% community participation in order to be considered both sustainable and successful. Bangladesh, while a leader in the sanitation movement, still suffers a loss of U.S. $4.2 billion a year because of health related causes resulting from inadequate sanitation (Barkat, 2012). How has Bangladesh managed to achieve such a momentous level of success while still experiencing a deficit? How can such progress be reconciled with such loss and what can be done?
Intrigued by this paradox of struggle and success, I traveled to Bangladesh in the summer of 2013, looking to understand the source of this dichotomy. After spending some time meeting and interviewing key figures in the sanitation movement, I realized that one of the deeper issues was not one of success, but the cultural
context within which success was being measured. Sanitation is often considered in terms of the ‘average’ person’s experience and interactions. However, the ‘average’ person upon whom these measures are taken is based upon the needs and experiences of only one of two parts of Bangladeshi society: the male part. It is through a male lens that daily life and health and sanitary needs are measured and addressed. It is the male experience that defines the concept of improved sanitation. However, sanitation does not exist in a genderless vacuum and as such, it must also been seen through the lens of women, and not just men. While there have been significant improvements, my time in Bangladesh revealed this to be at the heart of what limits the total success of Bangladesh’s sanitation efforts. Understanding the Challenge
Sanitation is a central component of the daily lives of women. It is not just about access to latrines; it’s about who is actually able to use the latrines. Sanitation is not just about clean drinking water, it’s about clean water for cooking, clean water for laundry, for personal washing. Sanitation is not just about defecation, it’s also about menstruation. Sanitation is first and foremost an issue crucial to women.
For women, sanitation does not stop at the bathroom door. Rather it is a socio-economic, political, and cultural issue, which drives all aspects of society for women. Lack of access to toilets can limit girls from attending school, which further limits their access to financial independence and political influence. It increases the risk of gender-based violence, and leads to increased disease for both women and the rest of the community. These factors are
Source: Michael Foley, 2010
all well known, and many point to the advances Bangladesh has made towards gender equity. Yet there remains a telling fact: women comprise only 14% of the leadership in the water and sanitation sector (Cavill, Parkinson, and De Vette, 2012). While conducting my research, the problematic nature of this statistic made itself evident. Almost unilaterally across the organizations I met with, both governmental and private, the leaders of each project were male. In our discussions, the issues belonging to women were bundled up into comments about the community at large, but problems involving women’s health were not mentioned; words like menstruation were avoided at all costs and any indications regarding the personal hygiene standards of women were glossed over. When attempting to address the complexities surrounding sanitation, women are swept up as a part of the larger project, rather than seen as a distinct priority. Projects in this space are plentiful, while those that focus only on the relationship between women’s needs and sanitation are much more sparse. Despite the well-established sector connection between societal gender roles and sanitation, the processes and issues regarding women’s needs specifically remain a taboo subject.
Even though Bangladesh has acted as a leader in women’s empowerment, sanitation is still viewed in terms of the male experience (Khatiwada, 2014). Men and women do not experience sanitation in the same way, as there are both biological and sociological differences. Men have priority access to latrines, and often will not use a latrine that a woman has used because menstruation makes her, and thus the latrine, unclean. Men do not risk gender-based violence by using a community latrine, nor do they have to feel shame if there are cracks in the walls of the latrine from which they can be seen. Men certainly do not have to address the issues of how to clean and dry rags that are used in lieu of sanitary napkins. These and other issues directly relating to women are sometimes swept under the rug of ‘total sanitation access’. Yes, the village has a latrine, but are women able to use it whenever they want or need it? Are the issues of menstruation and other female bodily functions incorporated as a key element in sanitation programs? Though women are being included, their specific needs and issues oftentimes remain unaddressed. Previous studies clearly demonstrate that women’s involvement correlates to successful and sustainable programs. For example, a study performed by the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) of community water and sanitation projects in 88 communities in 15 countries, found that women’s participation in these projects was strongly related to the effectiveness of said projects (UNWater, 2006). However, the sanitation movement needs to push beyond working toward women’s participation to mandating women’s leadership in directing the purpose and deployment of sanitation initiatives. Sanitation projects are launched with the aim to benefit the communities within which women reside, but are often not created for the specific benefit of women. This means that women’s sanitation and health needs are considered of secondary importance to the needs and health of the community at large.
As one Bangladeshi government official confided to me, for the success of a sanitation initiative, it is essential that women’s issues come first. That means more than including them, it means more than putting toilets in the community. It’s not enough to only give women clean drinking water and latrines, for this will only address the symptoms, but not the larger illness that remains. For example, even though a woman is provided arsenic free water and a latrine, her sari will drag on the ground and could pick up the germs off the latrine floor. It will trail behind her in the mud and the dirt. She won’t mind that her hem is dirty; after all, her hands are clean. But she will trail this sari throughout the house and she will use it to wipe her children’s face and even to clean her own face and hands. When this happens, all the effort that went into building that latrine and all the education about hand washing will be for nothing simply because no one thought about a woman’s sari when creating programs for better sanitary practices. This issue reflects the deep failure to look at issues like sanitation through gender analysis. The issues around sanitation are not limited to just giving a latrine or two to the community, but more how does a woman’s lifestyle, her roles, and her cultural interactions interplay with her needs. Gender equality in sanitation is not created by ignoring the differences between men and women but by honoring the difference in their needs and experiences, particularly understanding the sanitary requirements of women (Fong, Wakeman, and Bhushan, 1996). Unfortunately, these are highly taboo subjects. How do you discuss and break stigmas that are not talked about but must be talked about in order to move forward? How do you operate within cultural norms without disrespecting them? You have to have a platform that adapts to the individual environment, a platform that is flexible and able to internalize change as fast as the world within which it operates. Theatre is one surprising secret weapon that is emerging, a tool that may serve to help other nations struggling with sanitation.
Facilitating Change Through A Creative Solution: Theatre Time and time again, theatre has used to provide a forum wherein difficult and even taboo subjects can be broached, where ideas can be formed, and where change can begin. The theatre can help people ask forbidden questions, consider the world from a different view, and give a voice to those who traditionally cannot speak. Too often, sanitation education initiatives attempt to reach out to communities via the men of the household. While these programs are successful in creating informative programs for these men, there is no trickle down effect for the other members of the community. In rural areas, Bangladeshi men have a higher tendency to travel for work and are often away from the house for extended periods of time. They do not experience the consequences of the sanitation status of their villages and homes the way women do. They also have social priority. Village latrines may exist, but the community often only permits the men to utilize them. So it is the women who still struggle.
In Bangladesh, one of the most impactful organizations I met with was not an aid organization or a government program but a children’s show: Sisimpur. This TukTuki, Source: Author wonderful program is a part of Sesame Street Workshop, the global extension of the Sesame Street program in the United States. Sisimpur is the Bangladeshi branch and they produce television and live theatrical. One of the main characters of Sisimpur is a girl muppet named TukTuki. According to the team at Sisimpur, outside of America, nobody watches Sesame Street more than the Bangladesh people. They especially
watch TukTuki. When I spoke to community leaders at Sesame Street they explained to me that TukTuki was so significant because she was able to break down barriers. By placing a female muppet at the center of their program, they could teach people about sanitation as a whole by teaching them about sanitation for women, shifting the focus to topics such as food handling, child care, women’s health issues, etc. The taboo could be spoken of, the unmentioned could be mentioned and thinking could change. TukTuki allowed the audience to see women as the central point in the war of sanitation and that a community’s health is determined by the health of its women. A significant component of Sisimpur’s outreach efforts includes taking the stars of their programs, such as TukTuki, on live performance tours throughout Bangladesh’s regional villages. These productions consistently result in a major turnout from the local communities. Whole families attend; mothers, fathers, grandmothers, and the children, both boys and girls. What occurs during these performances is a feat unmatched by any of the pamphlet or literary or material driven sanitation campaigns: a successful reeducation of the population. The reason behind this success is very simple; it’s because those attending the performance don’t see themselves as attending an informational session. They are simply going with their children to see the famous TukTuki and friends live; they are just watching a children’s play. Embedded in this is the immense power of theatre for young audiences, of it’s potential for accessibility, transformation, and emulation. In this setting, gone are the stigmas surrounding the topic of sanitation and the social constructs that prohibit education from being evenly demonstrated across the community. Sisimpur’s live performances offer a safe communal forum where the whole family, the whole village unit, come together to change their mental paradigms regarding sanitation as a whole community. All this with TukTuki at the helm. At Sisimpur, defecation and menstruation are topics spoken of with ease and importance. The inability to speak something, whether it be
an idea or a word, gives it power. Sisimpur, a children’s program, speaks aloud what many aid and governmental workers cannot bring themselves to openly discuss. They are the craftsman of a space that allows adults and children to learn and evolve together. As a theatre maker and a proponent of the social obligation of theatre, I think that Sesame Street and friends are demonstrative of theatre at its finest. They are so much more than a kids show, they are a revolutionary force for a better world. The power behind Sisimpur is its recognition of theatre as a neutral forum where individuals come together to form temporary communities. This muppet show is not simply a form of colorful entertainment, it defies social convention by acting as a place where the masses come to experience and redefine the personal. It is the neutrality of the theatrical environment that allows it to serve as a tool for creating positive sustainable change.
In the theatre, there is no question of a right or wrong performance. It is not a place for condemnation or judgment. In fact, the theatre is one of the few sacred places in the world that universally promotes dialogue and growth. Theatre not only encourages us to admit our weaknesses, it shows that those weaknesses are part of what makes us people. No individual, and certainly no nation, is without its weaknesses or mistakes.
Conclusion At its inception, Bangladesh was described by the US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, as a ‘basket case,’ nation (Nasir, 2010). Forty years later, Bangladesh is still here. It is not a failed nation, but it is failing in the same way so many nations across the globe are failing: it is failing its women. While Bangladesh has made significant strides in gender equality and education, there is a difference between the story the statistics tell and the real world experiences of Bangladeshi women. This is not just a Bangladeshi problem but a global one. The road to empowerment starts with the basics, it starts with sanitation, and it starts with muppets on a stage. The missing stories of Bangladesh’s women means half of the country’s story is missing. Sisimpur is working to create a narrative for these women and to give them a voice. For Bangladesh to continue its success it needs to speak of the women who have been harmed, held back and chained into poverty because they don’t have a socially acceptable place to go to the bathroom. Theatre is the tool for telling those stories. It is the tool for change.
What is essential about the theatre is that it creates a temporary, intimate microcosm that teaches us where to go and how to improve from those mistakes that make us all so very human. Bathroom behaviors are a very private and intimate act. So are our bathroom spaces. A latrine is not simply a latrine, it is a political space, a political body. And women are being denied access to that body.
Theatre can be used globally as a tool to for women to reassert their autonomy to that body, to their bodies. 43
Victoria Cano is a recent Northwestern alumna, where she graduated with a double major in Theatre and English, a minor in Gender Studies, and a concentration in playwriting. Recently, Victoria returned to Philadelphia where she served as an assistant to the Artistic Associate at Theatre Horizon, and as a collaborator on ‘The Imagine No Homelessness’ project. Victoria has worked abroad in numerous countries. She worked as development associate for a production company at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she also earned a certificate in ‘Business in the Arts’ from the University of Edinburgh. In 2013, Victoria traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh on a grant from Northwestern University to investigate the relationship between gender and sanitation development. From her research, Victoria developed a play, ‘Converting to Bangladesh’ which will have its world premiere with the Artemisia Theater Company in Chicago in September 2015. Victoria will be pursuing an MA in Classical Acting for the Professional Theatre at the London Academy of Music and Drama in the fall of 2015. Victoria’s words to live by are “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Works Cited Barkat, Abul, et al. “Economic Impacts of Inadequate Sanitation in Bangladesh.” 2012. Accessed June 19, 2014. http://www.wsp. org/sites/wsp.org/files/publications/WSP-ESI-BangladeshReport.pdf. Cavill, Sue, Jonathan Parkinson, and Kirsten De Vette. “Meeting the Water and Sanitation Millennium Development Goals: A Study of Human Resource Development Requirements in Five Countries.” 2011. Accessed June 28, 2014. http://www.iwahq. org/contentsuite/upload/iwa/all/A Development/Documents/ HR capacity gaps/Synthesis Report-2.pdf.
Fong, Monica S., Wendy Wakeman, and Anjana Bhushan. “Toolkit on Gender in Water and Sanitation.” Gender Toolkit Series No. 2 (1996). “Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability.” UNDP in Bangladesh. January 1, 2013. Accessed June 17, 2014. http:// www.bd.undp.org/content/bangladesh/en/home/mdgoverview/ overview/mdg7/. Inter-agency Task Force on Gender and Water. “Gender, Water, and Sanitation: A Policy Brief.” UN-Water and the Interagency Network on Women and Gender Equality. 2006. Accessed June 29, 2014. http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/pdf/un_water_ policy_brief_2_gender.pdf. Khatiwada, Sameer. “A Quiet Revolution: Women in Bangladesh.” International Labour Organization. January 29, 2014. Accessed July 1, 2014. http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/ newsroom/comment-analysis/WCMS_234670/lang--en/index. htm?%C8%C4%A5%09
Nasir, ABM. “The Myth of “International Basket Case” Bangladesh News 24. October 6, 2010. Accessed December 17, 2014. http:// opinion.bdnews24.com/2010/10/06/the-myth-of-“internationalbasket-case”/. Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: 2014 Update. Switzerland, 2014. 22.
“United Nations Millennium Development Goals: Goal 7.” United Nations Millennium Goals News Center. Accessed July 12, 2014. http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/environ.shtml.
Conceptualizing a Hybrid Framework to Help Improve Gender Outcomes in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programs in India Sunetra Lala, Aidan A. Cronin, Malika Basu, and Jyotsna Nirvana
Abstract Developing and managing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs in a sustainable manner contributes to gender equity by improving menâ€™s and womenâ€™s access to services and benefits. A gender-sensitive approach to ensure equity in WASH programs can achieve positive outcomes including participatory decision making, empowerment of women, and sustainable programs.
Gender analysis frameworks have a long history in development practice to guide strengthened gender outcomes, and opportunities exist to learn from such frameworks to support implementation of WASH programs in developing countries, including India.
This paper reviews seven well-established gender analysis frameworks from the Indian WASH context vis-Ă -vis six key categories, viewed as critical components to gender outcomes and vital to the sustained success of WASH programs, to develop an improved compilation, referred to as the hybrid framework. The hybrid framework combines the strengths of the seven previously established frameworks for optimizing gender outcomes and aims to identify the opportunities for both men and women to shape WASH programs to meet their intended gender and equity objectives. Lastly, this newly developed framework provides a potential platform for
Source: Michael Foley, 2009 local-level processes to use a comprehensive set of quantitative and qualitative indicators under each of the developed six categories provided further field testing and appropriate modification.
Key words: gender framework, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), India, indicators, hybrid framework Acknowledgement
The authors would also like to acknowledge the valuable review comments offered by Carol Wrenn, Seema Kulkarni and Sue Coates. Locating Gender in Development Programs Widespread recognition of the importance of gender in development has led to intensifying
The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their affiliated institutions.
efforts to mainstream gender in development programs, as evidenced by the increased number of gender strategies of development actors, mainly for the purpose of increasing the priority of gender integration and tracking progress on these issues (UNICEF, 2011) (CGIAR, 2012).
Despite the paradigm shift, relevant gains have not translated into the desired outcomes of greater gender equality and inclusion in India (UNICEF, FAO, SaciWATERs, 2013; Prakash et al., 2015). A gender focus is commonly misperceived as seeing women as target beneficiaries and involving them in limited decision-making processes (Kulkarni, 2011). However, gender is not just about women, as it includes how men and women interact in a development context guided by social institutions, norms and embedded cultural values (Zwarteveen et al., 2012). Over the years, several gender frameworks have been developed with the aim of supporting development programs become more gender-sensitive and inclusive. To date, none of the frameworks relate exclusively to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programing specifics. Therefore, a WASH specific gender framework is required to ensure that aspects of both equity and equality are factored in while designing WASH interventions. An understanding of gender in terms of social relations and hierarchical regimes of power is imperative to gain a better understanding of the social positioning of women in the gender structure. This has implications in everyday life, including division of labor (inside and outside the home), access to resources (e.g. land, credit), education and training, opportunities for professional advancement, and a voice in the policy-making processes. Unless development practices recognize and address the underlying causes of gender disparities/inequalities, transformational change is unlikely. In the context of the WASH sector, gender differences carry important implications. For instance, across the South Asian region, water determines livelihoods and in some cases
survival. For instance, in several parts of India, women travel long distances to carry water, which places a huge burden on their health. At the same time, unequal access to water creates exclusions. For example, women may not derive any direct financial benefit from their waterrelated labor, as they often work on land allotted to male members of the family. Gender also intersects with other axes of social difference such as class, caste, ethnicity, age, and religion to shape water access, use, and management practices (Zwarteveen et al, 2012). As such, objectives around gendered outcomes in WASH must also take these factors into account. Given the gender inequalities that prevail in India, it is essential for WASH programs to take these issues into account by examining existing social and institutional barriers and problems related to implementation that contribute to continuous failure of gender mainstreaming. The government, for example, can take steps to orient its own officials, including engineers, to incorporate gender perspectives and communication strategies to develop a â€œgender understanding of WASH issuesâ€? (UNICEF, FAO, SaciWATERs, 2013). There has been a growing effort to involve both men and women in the WASH sector to ensure equitable and sustainable development. This has come from the recognition that as a result, the delivery of WASH services can become more efficient, user-focused, financially viable, and sustainable; evident from a large scale water project evaluation across several countries, finding that effectiveness increased six to seven times when women were involved, compared to projects that did not include women (WSSCC, 2006). This evaluation also found womenâ€™s involvement increased transparency and improved financial management outcomes (WSSCC, 2006). This same work also showed that water and sanitation services are generally more effective and sustainable if women are allowed to play an active role in designing, planning, operating and maintaining WASH facilities and programs. Women play a significant role in educating their families and the community about the importance of WASH practices. Involving women in WASH programs
also empowers them and sets an example for others to follow.
Improved WASH efforts can have a significant impact on girls and women if programing is focused on transferring real responsibility to women and girls rather than assuming they will benefit. The key issue is to overcome prevailing patriarchal attitudes and social norms (Agarwal, 1994). To address such concerns, gender analyses are undertaken aimed at redressing inequalities and inequities by examining the barriers to participation, and envisioning potential outcomes of development interventions. A gender analysis is a set of tools and processes used for understanding and assessing the differences in the lives of women and men, their participation in social and economic life, and the differential impacts on their lives of policies, programs, and services. Successful development programs need a systematic approach to analyze gender that looks at the impact of gender on opportunities, social roles and interactions. The following section highlights the importance of undertaking gender analysis in WASH programs. Gender Analysis for WASH Programs
Integrating an inclusive gender approach helps to accelerate the achievement of efficiency, equity, and equality goals, in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for WASH. Gender considerations are critical in WASH as women and girls bear most of the burden of carrying, using, and managing water, including the highest adverse impacts of poor sanitation and hygiene facilities (Lala et al., 2014). As the understanding of the gender roles in WASH has strengthened, it has influenced the gender agenda in WASH (Kulkarni, 2011), which is now perceived as a prerequisite for WASH initiatives to be successful (UNICEF, FAO, SaciWATERs, 2013). This has included a conscious effort to include women not only as beneficiaries but as active participants in the life cycle of WASH programs (Kulkarni, 2011). A gender-centric approach to WASH programming is meant to achieve gender
balance and reduce the inequalities suffered by women and girls, supporting equal distribution of men’s and women’s roles and responsibilities and oriented to facilitate improved implementation. This type of approach can be used at various levels to inform processes regarding the distinct impacts of WASH activities on women and men, girls and boys, and diverse communities and groups.
The interdependence of gender and WASH is now well-recognized among WASH practitioners. The importance of incorporating a gender inclusive perspective is based primarily on the following observations: • Women and girls are most often the primary users, providers and managers of water in their households. In situations where there is lack of water or access, women are the ones known to travel long distances to meet their families’ water needs (WSP, 2010). • Sanitation and hygiene improvements are often low on the list of family/ community investments. Women and girls, especially those belonging to marginalized communities, suffer more indignity as a result, as their privacy and security are determined by ease of access to, and location of sanitation facilities. In village primary/ middle schools, toilets are often inadequate to serve the needs of girls, resulting in nonattendance during menstruation (UNICEF, 2011).
• Women and men have different roles and responsibilities, access to, and control over water resources, e.g. who draws water for household and other purposes, who owns land and, therefore, makes critical decisions with regards to how water resources (available on the land) are to be utilized. Common societal practices that determine men as property owners, heads of households, and main decision makers in the public sphere often result in marginalizing the views and preferences of women and girls. Hence, it is imperative to define and safeguard land and water rights for women if
full gender equity in resource allocation and use is to be achieved (IFAD, 2007).
• Gender stereotypes concerning abilities and interests of men and women often create non-equitable and non-representative decision-making in the WASH sector.
• Improved access to water is seen to improve families’ livelihoods through cooking, keeping livestock (tasks usually undertaken by women) while supporting small businesses, and agriculture related activities including irrigation. • Increased involvement of women can result in both improved access to water and more equitable distribution of productive resources, as well as also improved performance and sustainability of community groups e.g. Water Users Associations (WUAs) - (Meinzen-Dick and Zwarteveen, 1998; Kumar, 2010). Although women may receive training, they may be prevented from putting their new skills and knowledge into practice by cultural or social factors. For example, women belonging to underprivileged communities or castes may not even be included in training programs.
A gender inclusive approach ensures participation, particularly of women (from diverse communities), as decision makers and investors. WASH sector analyses have found that when women and men are equally involved, there is a positive correlation with improved sustainability of water supplies, and improved transparency and governance in management (Narayan, 1995) (WSP, 2010). Thus, when women and men are equally and meaningfully involved in WASH programs, the program results are more sustainable. This type of participation can also improve community and family relations, the status of women and men, the value placed on their opinion and work by other community members, and community decisionmaking processes. Gender analysis in WASH programs support equitable access and ensure that interventions
do not disadvantage women or users of different groups or castes. Specifically, a gender analysis will help to acknowledge the disadvantages faced by women and girls across caste, class, age, disability, marital status, etc. by drawing attention to the interfaces between institutional, socioeconomic and cultural systems that impact their roles and positions (UNICEF, FAO, SaciWATERs, 2013). In addition, it will help women to assess their specific needs and the likely impact of policies, programs, and services on them. This helps them articulate their viewpoints and add their input, which is a critical part of policies, programs, and services. Previous studies have looked at gender frameworks and indicators for water and gender. For example, the Gender and Water Index (GWI) has been proposed at the river basin level with an international focus (Van Koppen, 2003). Additionally, Kulkarni (2012) distinguishes four main ways in which water control is contested; including resources and rights which impact income, rules and norms, the role of authorities, and access to knowledge and inputs to the related discourse. Kulkarni also outlines potential indicators for each category. This paper, building on the analysis of a number of approaches for gender analysis in the context of WASH in India (e.g. Lala et al., 2014), examines well-established gender frameworks to produce a holistic tool that may help to better capture the key desired gender outcomes over the entire WASH intervention cycle. Gender Analysis Frameworks – A Review
A review was completed of seven well-known framework analyses that originated between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, (March et al., 1999) including the Harvard Analytical Framework (Overholt et al, 1985); People Oriented Planning (POP) Framework (Anderson et al, 1992); Moser Framework (Moser, 1993); Gender Analysis Matrix (GAM) (Parker, 1993); Capacities and Vulnerabilities Analysis Framework (Anderson et al, 1989); Women’s Empowerment Framework (Longwe, 1991); and the Social Relations Framework (Kabeer, 1994). These seven frameworks have influenced the emergence of subsequent frameworks
for assessing gender issues such as the Gender Equality Framework (USAID, 2008); Performance Assessment Framework (AusAid, 2005); Good Practices Framework (CARE, 2012); and the Gender Analysis Tool (Status of Women Canada, 2013). These are important gender mainstreaming and programing tools that can help guide practitioners to undertake a systematic analysis of gender relations and related issues in their program areas and have been commonly used for designing development interventions. The seven frameworks are analyzed while keeping important WASH indicators in mind as applied to the Indian context. Six broad categories were identified to capture key issues: Participation, Access to Services, Control over Resources, Benefits/Outcomes, Governance/ Decision-Making, and Operation and Management (O&M). Each of the six categories (Table 1) is further divided into sub-categories to highlight the specific determinants of that category, and a cross-comparison is carried out against the seven frameworks reviewed. For example, in a WASH program, participation is a key category under which there is a need to gauge participation in terms of: quality of process (i.e. there is a gender balance in participation); planning process (i.e. gender balance has also resulted in gender-sensitive decisions); enabling networks (i.e. women have access to formal or informal networks/groups); ensuring inclusion (i.e. different user groups in a community are included in WASH program without any discrimination); and community power dynamics (i.e. it does not stand to disadvantage women or any other marginalized groups). Each of the frameworks presents a focus on factors that influence or perpetuate gender differences. Specifically, some frameworks focus more on the impact of structures, institutions, or service delivery in terms of gender, while some pay more attention to gender roles within the family, and others concentrate on women’s empowerment and transforming unequal gender relations.
For instance, the Harvard Analytical Framework focuses on the socio-economic activity profile of women and men in terms of who does what, when, where, and for how long. It also focuses on the access and control profile, i.e. who has access and control over resources and benefits (Overholt et al, 1985). In addition, it focuses on the influencing factors (i.e. what enables or facilitates the socio-economic profile as well as the access and control profile).
The POP Framework (Anderson et al, 1992) is based on three major components: determinants analysis, activity analysis, and use and control of resources analysis (which is geared towards understanding equal distribution of goods and services). This framework focuses on the “whowhere-when” questions, including how resources are utilized, and places a strong emphasis on understanding control of assets to ensure derived benefits are equitably accrued by both men and women. The Moser Framework uses two main tools for the purpose of gender analysis. These are gender roles identification in terms of women’s triple role: productive, reproductive, and community; and gender needs (or interests met) assessment in terms of practical gender needs and strategic gender interests. In this regard, the framework primarily captures the control over resources and touches briefly upon benefits and participation (Moser, 1993). The Gender Analysis Matrix is an analytical approach that helps communities themselves to analyze gender issues and is built upon a participatory methodology. Each project objective is analyzed at four levels of society: women, men, household, and community, by various groups of stakeholders. The analysis is carried out by discussing each project objective in terms of how it impacts men’s and women’s labor practices, time, resources, and other sociocultural factors, such as changes in social roles and status (Parker, 1993). The Capacities and Vulnerabilities Framework (CVF), aimed at humanitarian emergency
intervention, is built on two core concepts, ability and vulnerability. While vulnerability is linked to how people can be affected by a disaster, ability is more allied to their capabilities in terms of resources (e.g. material, physical or social). CVF includes control over resources and some governance aspects but it does not pay sufficient attention to benefits (Anderson et al, 1989).
The Women’s Empowerment Framework puts forward five levels of equality including control, participation, conscientisation (i.e. attaining equal understanding of gender roles and a gender division of labor that is fair and agreeable), access (i.e. equal access to the factors of production by removing discriminatory provisions in the laws), and welfare (i.e. having equal access to material welfare--food, income, medical care). The Women’s Empowerment Framework, like other frameworks, captures control over resources and resultant benefits but, more importantly, it captures governance issues (Longwe, 1991). Finally, the Social Relations Framework analyses existing gender inequalities in the distribution of resources, responsibilities, and power. This helps to evaluate relationships between people, their relationship to resources and activities, and how the relationships are reworked through institutions, to emphasize human well being as the final goal of development. The Social Relations Framework is one of the most comprehensive frameworks that take social relations and power dynamics into account to explain how social relations and power dynamics play a significant role in highlighting gender aspects (Kabeer, 1994). Analyzing the Gender Frameworks
An analysis of the seven frameworks vis-à-vis the six categories (Table 1) provides insight into both the positive and negative attributes of each framework. Accordingly, the Harvard Analytical Framework appears weak on participation and governance indicators. The POP Framework does not take quality of process, quality of representation, and household decision-making
into account. The Gender Analysis Matrix (GAM) does not capture access to services, although it partially looks at participation and benefits. The Capacities and Vulnerabilities Framework does not pay sufficient attention to benefits; similarly, the Moser Framework partially covers benefits, but has missed important indicators such as access and participation.
While most of the frameworks appear to touch upon an important category of WASH i.e. Operation and Management, they do not give prominence to contribution, maintenance, and monitoring aspects. These are key indicators that make programs gender-inclusive (Zwarteveen et al., 2012). Further, intra-household decisionmaking (e.g. who collects, stores, utilizes, and manages water for domestic activities), an important unit of inquiry, is reflected only under Moser, GAM and the Social Relations Framework.
Frameworks such as the Moser and the Social Relations help to address issues of gender balance in participation. Most existing frameworks also help to understand the inclusiveness of the program by looking into different demographic compositions as well as the social capital aspects (e.g. networks, women’s groups) that enhance women’s engagement in community activities. However, what is lacking in most of the frameworks is a focus on participation in terms of representation leading to gender-sensitive decision-making. All the frameworks include indicators such as control over land and water sources, but to understand the intra-household management and distribution of water, the Moser, GAM and the Social Relations Framework provide the most insight. The POP and the Capacities and Vulnerabilities Framework are useful in drawing attention to various aspects of access to services in terms of hardware access, coverage, and the distance covered to avail the services. All of the frameworks, except for the Capacities and Vulnerabilities Framework, help to draw a benefits checklist in terms of health, livelihoods, etc. Of all the frameworks, the Social Relations best draws attention to institutions (at different levels) and how they influence or govern gender
It is evident from Table 1 that none of the frameworks reviewed comprehensively capture all of the important aspects of the six identified categories for WASH programs. Proposing a Hybrid Framework for WASH in India
Each of the reviewed frameworks were developed at a particular point in time with specific development objectives/programs in mind. Therefore, they do not necessarily reflect or capture the complex and often location-specific gender dynamics in a WASH program, especially in the Indian context. Thus, standing alone, the individual frameworks may not be fully adequate to analyze the gender inclusiveness of WASH programs in India. Therefore, a new framework is proposed to best capture the important components of all six categories. A composite approach, inspired by multiple frameworks, has been developed and is referred to as a hybrid framework (Table 2). The hybrid framework is inclusive of the six components and attempts to cover several aspects of the typical WASH program. To help make a WASH program more gender-inclusive at field levels, a number of indicators – both quantitative and qualitative – have been identified. These indicators are specific to men and women, within households and at the community level, and act as a check-list to ensure the gender sensitivity and inclusiveness of a WASH program. Table 2 provides an overview of the determinants, which can ensure gender sensitivity of a WASH intervention. This table shows progress in terms of remaining gender inclusive through various stages. It also draws attention to the required interventions if the program deviates from its goals of equity and equality.
The hybrid framework is a structured approach to gender and equity in WASH programs, and can potentially lead to improved outcomes by
assessing inclusion and exclusion parameters to explore the underlying connections between exclusion and gender. The framework helps to understand the complexity of gender relations in the context of social relations, and how this constrains or provides opportunities for addressing gender inequalities in WASH. It helps in identifying who has access to and control over resources, assets, and benefits, and in understanding the barriers and constraints to women and men participating in and benefiting equally from WASH programs.
The hybrid framework collects sex-disaggregated data relevant to WASH programs and evaluates gender division of labor and patterns of decisionmaking. Monitoring participation, benefits, the effectiveness of gender equality strategies, and changes in gender relations, while also assessing the gender-sensitive aspects of WASH programs are all areas, which may be strengthened by the framework. In addition, the framework helps build capacity and strengthen networks for women. The indicators that the hybrid framework proposes under different categories are likely to enable program and field staff involved in the design, implementation and/or evaluation of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs to work effectively with both women and men. More importantly, analyzing a WASH program through a gender lens with these indicators is more likely to yield the following key outcomes:
• Participatory decision making wherein women and men make meaningful contributions to discussions and decisionmaking relating to WASH in their communities • Empowering women through increased voice in the community and participation in WASH management • Protecting dignity of young girls and women by recognizing their needs and making possible improved water access and quality, sanitation, and hygiene • Improving community relationships, not only between men and women of the community, but also between program staff and the
community, as well as between different members of the community • Improving accountability and transparency in all aspects of the program, leading to better technical design and planning of WASH programs • Efficient and sustainable programs due to better operation and management based on community participation, contribution, maintenance, and monitoring • Increased awareness around best water, sanitation and hygienic practices, thereby helping ensure improved health in communities The hybrid framework may be populated via focus group discussion, spatial mapping, secondary information from government sources, and field observations (Kulkarni, 2012). This may be achieved at each of the three stages of the WASH intervention; the first stage, Planning & Institutional (Capacity) Building, is particularly important (Lala et al. 2014). Specifics of the local area and the aims of the WASH intervention may allow further refinement and consolidation of the hybrid framework to balance data collection practicalities with need for data. The expectation is that practitioners will further develop and modify the hybrid framework for gender analysis in WASH programs to lead to improved gender outcomes.
To date, the hybrid framework has not been field-tested and requires further dialogue with those implementing both government and civil society WASH programs. Current efforts are underway around Gender Budgeting (MoF, 2007) and structured approaches to WASH in India (e.g. Biswas, 2012) to complement such efforts. The tool, in conjunction with a structured process for gendered outcomes (e.g. Lala et al. 2014), can help strengthen understanding of gender interventions in the Indian WASH context, while recognizing that it is still at the conceptual level and would require adaptation for application, depending on context specific issues. Conclusions
Effective gender-sensitive WASH programing requires the use of gender-inclusive participatory tools that have been designed to engage both women and men. This includes a conscious effort to ensure the inclusion of women not just as beneficiaries, but as active participants in various stages of WASH programs. Currently, there is little evidence to suggest that such participatory and holistic tools are widespread in the Indian context. A hybrid framework has been developed by drawing upon seven well-established general gender frameworks in development practice to structure desired outcomes under six key categories. The resulting framework has developed indicators (quantitative and qualitative) to help assess differences in participation, benefits, and impacts of WASH programs on men and women, including the progress towards gender equality and changes in gender relations. The hybrid framework is conceptual, but potentially a dynamic tool to help assess changes in WASH over time, as it also can take into account process and representation and opens up a scope for active women’s participation across different communities and social classes.
In addition, the hybrid framework has the advantage of including community dynamics and networks from the very beginning of the process. It also makes a clear distinction between two kinds of decision-making processes, within the household and at the institutional level, both of which are important to facilitate women’s empowerment. The framework helps to identify priority areas for action to promote equality between women and men, and most importantly, it can enhance the sustainability and effectiveness of WASH programs. The tool, however, needs field validation in order to maximize its utility and ensure it practical implementation. The hybrid framework not only draws from the seven development frameworks described above, but also includes specific factors essential for equitable WASH programing. Such a framework for the WASH sector is currently missing, and thus may serve as an important tool for WASH interventions with further refinement based on field level
application and learning. Accompanying tables and figures can be viewed here. Sunetra Lala holds a postgraduate degree in Environmental Management and Environmental Law and a graduate degree in Biological Sciences (Zoology Honours). In the past, Sunetra has worked with the UNDP, Afghanistan with the Communications Unit. Prior to this, she led a team on Corporate Sustainability Management (CSM) with the Confederation of Indian Industries. Sunetra has also been an Editor for the Penguin Publishing Group India, and has worked with the Education Department of Sikkim, Centre for Environment Education, and Centre for Science and Environment. She now works with the UNICEF Odisha Office, India as the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Officer. Malika Basu holds a PhD in Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague. A social development specialist and gender analyst, she has over 18 years of experience in research, evaluation and policy analysis covering rural, social and gender issues. Starting with MARG, a Delhi-based NGO, she later worked in project support and advisory roles for national and international organisations on issues of participation and inclusion of marginalised communities, women’s empowerment, selfhelp groups, livelihoods, development-induced displacement and related problems. In 2008, she joined the Solution Exchange initiative of the UN Country Team in India to head the Gender Community of Practice, undertaking knowledge management to provide knowledge-based services to development organisations and practitioners. Jyotsna is a postgraduate in Development Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She has worked with Centre for Equity Studies on the issue of Bonded Labour and has experience of engaging in movements, campaigns and seminars, and has conducted several workshops with adolescent girls in several villages of Osmanabad district, Maharashtra. She is deeply interested in conducting feminist research and strengthening participatory research methodology especially in the areas of gender, caste, performance and intimacy. Aidan Cronin is the Chief of the UNICEF Indonesia Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program and prior to this he worked with UNICEF India at State and National level. He has also worked with UNHCR as a Water and Sanitation
advisor in their Public Health Section in Geneva and as a Senior Research Fellow at the Robens Centre for Public and Environmental Health, University of Surrey, UK where his research focus was on the impact of anthropogenic activities on water quality in the EU and developing country settings. He is a qualified civil engineer with an M.Sc. in Environmental engineering and a Ph.D. in water resources. His interests are in understanding the impact and contribution (health, nutrition, economic and social) of WASH provision and the policy and governance processes needed to achieve these.
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Gender Dynamics in Water Governance Institutions: The Case of Gwanda’s Guyu-Chelesa Irrigation Scheme in Zimbabwe Emelder M. Tagutanazvo, Vupenyu T. Dzingirai, Everisto Mapedza, and Barbara Van Koppen
Abstract The need to incorporate women in development interventions has widely been highlighted in development literature. Despite recent attempts to include women in such efforts, the FAO’s 2011 State of the Agriculture Report points out that gender imbalance is still a major concern. This study focuses on the Guyu-Chelesa irrigation scheme in Zimbabwe in an attempt to understand women’s involvement in water governance institutions that are set up around these schemes. At one level, women are well-represented in these institutions. Nonetheless, despite their representation in positions of highlevel decision making, their actual decisionmaking power is limited. For this reason, this paper argues that women, in water resource infrastructure management and rehabilitation, may be represented in form only, with highly circumscribed powers. This study makes recommendations on how to understand and take into account the differential gender power dynamics which are at play in such irrigation schemes. In particular, the study recommends that access to irrigation be linked to control of the benefits from irrigated agriculture. These calls for a valuation of women’s contribution and the need to engage in broader societal changes as far as gender relations — well beyond the irrigation schemes — are concerned. Such a dialogue would also entail engagement of both men and women. Key words: gender, institutions, water governance, representation, decision-making, irrigation
Source: Author, 2014
Introduction This study defines gender as the socially ascribed rights, responsibilities and identities assigned to men and women. Such roles and responsibilities shape access to, and control over, resources; division of labor; interests; and needs, and affect security at both the household and institutional level; nonetheless, they are receptive to changes in cultural beliefs and practices (Ogato et al 2009). Van Koppen (1998) observes that the importance of women’s involvement in water governance institutions has sometimes been noticed in the developing world. The intention behind the existence of institutions that incorporate women in management is to alleviate poverty through gender-sensitive property relations and tenurial rights. This prowomen stance, as supported by Meinzen-Dick and Zwarteveen (1998), is observed by Begum and Yasmeen (2011) in Pakistan, where women’s inclusion in many spheres of natural resources
management overshadowed that of men, particularly in situations where the inclusion is mandatory and influenced by more indigenous parameters (Berry and Mollard, 2010). An irrigation project carried out in Peru’s coastal region demonstrates the participation of women in water resource management and is supported by the institutions in question (Sultana 2002). In Zimbabwe, Manzungu (2002) highlighted the fact that efforts are being made to involve women in water governance, yet contended that women have been always involved in both domestic and productive water management in a holistic manner. Gender and Water: A Review
The transfer of certain powers from the central government to the lower tiers of governance aims to broaden participation as postulated by Agrawal and Gupta (2005) and enable more socially just outcomes (Brown and Purcell 2005); a mechanism which Khan (2011) asserts as being accommodative for both men and women. In Southern Africa, as in other developing regions, natural resource policy provisions have allowed women to be incorporated into agriculture and water governance through institutional transformation (Rukuni et al 2006). For example, Rukuni et al. (2006) provides that the institutional structure of water management in Zimbabwe has been streamlined with the formation of sub-catchments, which according to Nyikadzino et al. (2014) is designed to be inclusive of women through decentralization. Moreover, the policy framework in South Africa supports the recognition of traditional water governance structures, increasing the social adaptive capacity for integrated water resource management (Schreiner and Van Koppen 2003). The aim of the reforms, in theory, is to broaden participation of all end users, especially women, in the decision making process (Ribot 2003). Thus women have been given the platform to participate in decision-making about infrastructure in multipurpose water resource management (Beneria 1999).
Despite the inclusion of women, as noted by Sikole and Van Koppen (2004), Harris (2005) and Sultana (2002) indicate that in many instances the exclusion of women in developing countries has been noticeable, and - when it comes to decision making - the involvement of women in water resource and irrigation management is limited.
Dupar and Badenock (2002) consider there to be marked disparities when it comes to infrastructure management. Bennet (1995) says that the major reason why women have low involvement in water resource infrastructure management is that their voice is not recognised on decision-making platforms. Singh (2012) says that, in India, one of the pretexts for not including women in local water governance is that the feminine anatomy is not considered suitable for managing irrigation fields and maneuvering field gates — which is “a man’s job”. The work of Zwarteveen (1997) on women and masculinity confirms that irrigation is also usually considered to be a “man’s world”. Ahlers and Zwarteveen (2009) indicate that women have been excluded from projects, and more often than not from water resource infrastructure management, in India. According to these authors, this exclusion has led to the development of hand pumps that were, ironically, perceived as too heavy for women to operate. A similar observation by Robinson (2003) indicates that in most Southern African countries, such as Zimbabwe, women have often been left out of the social, economic, and political arenas of water resource infrastructure management, particularly in irrigation schemes. In most cases, women have been relegated to domestic water committees, which are often led by males.
In support of the above view, Ahlers (2002) points out that the patriarchal system has resulted in the promulgation of gender inequalities in terms of participation in these institutions. Robinson (2003) shows that in Zimbabwe, the role of women in decisionmaking positions in water resource management institutions remains unacknowledged, especially
at the local level, where societal norms reinforce gender inequality in participation in the public arena. Sullivan (2009) demonstrates that water resource use and governance remains under the control of men, and women are sidelined to being household suppliers. Mollinga (2008) observes that neither traditional nor modern institutions recognize women’s unique knowledge and experience in regulating and managing water resource infrastructure.
Much of gender literature (for example, Zwarteveen 2006a) argues strongly for a more meaningful inclusion of women in water resource management institutions, whilst at the same time showing the barriers that exist to women’s participation in decision-making in these institutions. In one example given by Ahlers and Zwarteveen (2009), women attended irrigation meetings in Aden in Yemen, but the community members questioned their moral uprightness; they were perceived as deviant women who wanted to “become” men. According to Crow and Sultana (2002), even when women are involved in water resource infrastructure management, they are often assigned tasks that provide little opportunity to exert real influence over water infrastructure governance. Zwarteveen (2006b) illustrates that in situations where water user institutions are required to have a quota of women, membership is given to members of local (female) elites at the expense of poor, marginalized women. While studies by Van Koppen (1998) and Sikole and Van Koppen (2004) indicate an increase in the involvement of women in water resource infrastructure management institutions, Harris (2005) and Singh (2012) claim that there is still a disturbing level of exclusion of women in decision making around infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance. Zwarteveen (2006b) shows that the involvement of women in water resource infrastructure governance remains minimal, especially in Southern Africa and in the developing world at large.
These different views from the literature reflect tensions around issues relating to women and water, and hence, a greater precision is called
for in evaluations of how different members of the community, including women, are involved in water resource infrastructure management. Using the case of Guyu-Chelesa, this paper analyzes how women are involved in irrigation management structures, and if they are involved, what power they wield in decision making. Guyu-Chelesa Irrigation Scheme (Zimbabwe)
The Guyu-Chelesa Irrigation Scheme was first launched in 1965 with funding from the European Union. The scheme is located in Ward 14, Gwanda District, in the Mzingwane Catchment, which is part of the Limpopo River Basin in Matebeleland South Province, Zimbabwe. Ward 14 falls under the Nhlamba Chieftainship. A total of 150 plot holders are theoretically recorded as irrigators (plot holders using the scheme’s water resources for crop production); however, there are only 120 irrigators on the ground, pointing to the fact that some plot holders have access to more than one piece of land through leasing or as inheritance. The scheme’s main industry is crop production and dairy farming.
The irrigation design is an overhead sprinkler system. Water is pumped from the Thuli River using a sand abstraction method. There are two booster engines and two overnight storage tanks, as well as water pipes, hydrants and sprinklers. The study area is drought prone, falling under farming region five, which has an annual rainfall of between 250 and 350 mm. Research Methods/Methodology
In order to understand the gendered nature of irrigation, the participants were deliberately stratified — grouped into gendered strata by function and level of the management committee in which they participated as members. Data were obtained through documentary research, interviews, questionnaires and non-obtrusive observation. Documentary evidence from reports, registers and constitutions enabled the researchers to determine the nature of gender representation in water governance institutions. Data on the impact of gender imbalances in
management were obtained through randomly distributed questionnaires to plot holders, and key informant interviews targeting committee members and office bearers in various institutions surrounding water governance in the area. The non-verbal cues that elucidated culturally defined gender roles in decisionmaking were observed unobtrusively during field interactions. For instance, observing unobtrusively the patterns of representation and participation by gender during four consecutive irrigation scheme meetings and two village meetings on crop and livestock production, as well as the division of labour on management of different sections of infrastructure. Data were analysed through Microsoft Excel, which provided the frequency distribution that depicted the nature of gender representation in various management committees. Relationship maps were designed to help the researchers understand the nature of gender-related similarities and interactions amongst the various committees. Content analysis of documentary data and interview transcripts was also used to systematically derive aspects of gender patterns from various participants.
farming. Women are the irrigators on the ground and they are the ones who must often confront issues of infrastructure maintenance. Due to their larger representation in the scheme, women provide cheap labour, and repairing underground water pipes is labour intensive. This work, which requires long hours in the field under difficult conditions and often with poor tools for doing the job, has negative impacts on the women, who are often burdened with other domestic responsibilities. Most of the tools for fixing irrigation infrastructure are owned by men. Women often have no option but to use cheap and inefficient tools. The human costs of rehabilitating small water infrastructure are considerable. Thus, having mostly men in infrastructure management positions presents a situation that does not accommodate the interests of the women, who are conscious of and have direct interaction with the material goods on the ground and are dependent on these goods for their livelihoods. (b) Women’s participation as members of Water Users’ Associations
(a) Women’s participation in irrigation farming on the ground Women in Matebeleland South Province of Zimbabwe are the majority in the farming arena, which in this area is culturally identified as the place for women. Field data on women’s engagement in labour-intensive farming tasks obtained from Guyu-Chelesa irrigation scheme shows that, out of every 100 labourers, 75 are women. However, women seldom benefit much from their agricultural outputs since men usually make decisions on the fate of these outputs in their own interests. For instance, data from interviews held on 15 September, 2012 indicated that men in Guyu-Chelesa often opt to invest in tasks such as cattle management, an activity that can increase a man’s status in the community, despite the fact that a significant amount of the money that is needed for these perceived “bigger” investments comes from
Source: Author, 2014
Usually, in patriarchal societies within Southern Africa, the criteria for membership in Water Users’ Associations (WUAs) are male biased as indicated by Derman et al. (2005). However, in this particular case, many women have managed to satisfy or get around the male-biased criteria.
According to the Guyu scheme plot allocation register, out of 150 plot holders, 105 are women and 45 are men. There are also more women than men currently practicing irrigation farming, showing an average representation of 67 in every 100 water users. This is an indication that the study area is female dominated, a shift that has seen the involvement of women as water users and to a certain extent as managers. (c) Membership in all committees of the Water Users’ Association
There is less gender balance at the committee level, involving the following institutions: Irrigation Management Committee, Cropping Committee, Disciplinary Committee, Marketing Committee and Advisory Committee. Women’s representation in these committees seems to vary by institution and level of decision-making, and the percentage of women on the committees is still not proportional to the number of women conducting irrigation farming. In the GuyuChelesa scheme, the Irrigation Management Committee consists of four women and three men. The Cropping Committee is made up of five members, and of these, four out of five are female. The Advisory Committee comprises four members, one female and three males. Men have also been dominating the Disciplinary Committee, with only one female on the fourmember committee. The Marketing Committee comprises two women. In total, the committees show a representation of 12 women out of 22 irrigation committee members. Thus, women comprise the majority of the committee members, and could be said on that basis to be well represented in management, even in the highest committee where the chairperson is a woman (Mrs. Ndebele). Even though women’s representation in water resource infrastructure management has significantly increased, the belief is that this increase is a result of circumstantial necessity or coercion by the males. Men are often absent from the farming arena due to death, migration or giving low priority to irrigation farming; in this way, the outright responsibility to take care of water resource infrastructure ends up
falling to the women. For instance, out of nine widowed irrigation committee members, eight were women. During an interview held on 19 September, 2012, Mrs. Nyati, a secretary for the dairy committee, (subcomponent of the cropping committee), indicated that some of the men have been driven away from the area due to economic hardships.
“Some of the men have moved to other places … far away … to search for work,” she said.
The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency’s (2012) figures reflect this gender distribution pattern, showing Matebeleland South Province, where Guyu is located, as composed of 48.2 percent males and 51.8 percent females. Men abdicate management responsibilities through death or by choosing to leave and find work elsewhere, which creates circumstances where women engage in management positions by default and as a gap-filling strategy. The committee meeting attendance register indicated that on average, any given man will attend only 35 percent of the meetings, while any given woman on average attends 65 percent of the meetings. While some men participate in irrigation farming, they prefer not to attend management meetings and have their wives attend the meetings on their behalf, as indicated by the engine operator (Mr. Sengo) during an interview held on 20 September, 2012:
“I do not attend irrigation scheme meetings because I will be busy doing other major things elsewhere … I normally send my wife to represent me.” Thus, the absence of men during meetings and in irrigation farming practice leaves the women with uncontested space in the management arena while the decision making power still stays with the men. Nonetheless, such circumstantial entry by women into management provides a basis for renegotiation of gender roles where women are able to make decisions in situations previously controlled by men. Thus the coercion can be used by the assumed weaker group,
the women, as a weapon in the struggle to redefine gender roles and responsibilities. The perception by people in the WUAs that women’s responsibilities and positions of authority are imposed by men or occur by default compromises women’s authority in decision making even in situations where women have legitimately entered decision-making platforms. During an interview held on 18 September, 2012, a key informant from the sub-catchment council, representative Mr. Ndebele, stated,
“Women are now occupying higher positions in the management of water resource infrastructure. They are forced into these positions by men even though traditional local culture does not allow them to be leaders.”
Statements like this rob women of their legitimacy in leadership; however, it is important to notice that the source of this observation is also a man, probably applying stereotyping towards female leaders — inevitable bias encountered when eliciting gender-related data. In Guyu, the patriarchy system still orders relations between the sexes and between generations, and on specific lines. It divides infrastructural management into masculine and feminine spheres and into decision-making circles, with men holding most of the power.
Hence, women’s involvement in institutions that manage water resources remains incomplete. Moreover, there are challenges that make it hard for women to participate in management, such as level of technical expertise, level of management, and culture. A case in point: from 20 survey responses on engine operation and installation, 17 responses were from men while three were from women, a pattern attributed to patriarchal responsibility. Yet an examination of the irrigation committee records indicates that women performed 15 out of 20 hydrant pipe maintenance operations recorded over the last three years. Thus men dominate the engines level, where fundamental water flow management occurs, while women’s presence
is felt at the peripheral components such as hydrants. Culture also shapes water resources management, as indicated by Mrs. Sibanda, a plot holder, on 21 September 2012,
“The home belongs to the man … he makes the rules and enforces them himself … culturally, men have [more] decision making power than women … even in the scheme, women are in management but when it comes to critical issues, men are always recognized.” This implies that the household gender power hierarchy is observed even in the irrigation contexts where the same men and women interact. Moreover, such a statement indicates the incapacitation of women as a result of cultural adherence, a tool for suppressing female power. Obviously this authority or lack thereof has an impact on water resource infrastructure management. (d) Women’s voice in the committees
There are power struggles between men and women when making decisions in management positions, and women’s voices often are not listened to regarding infrastructure management. In Guyu, even though men rarely attend irrigation meetings, they make binding decisions, sometimes in absentia, which they impose upon the women; meanwhile, women who are always attending meetings lack the power to make binding decisions. An observation made on 18 September, 2012, at the Agritex offices indicated that three male non-irrigators had come to give the Agritex officer a word of advice on the best way to remove the sand that had clogged in the irrigation pipes — knowledge they obtained through their wives. That meeting resulted in the men informally deciding that a new engineer was to be hired to redesign the scheme, and the decision was adopted by the Agritex officer, who later instructed the irrigators to hire the required technician. While conducting this research in Guyu, it was observed that the views of women, even when they were voiced, were not as well accepted as the views of men. At the four consecutive management meetings held,
a total of 26 motions were made; 14 were from men while 12 were from women; yet of the 16 accepted motions, 12 of them were from men, while four were from women. This suggests that, even though there are more women in the irrigation management team than men, both men and women are unlikely to accept motions made by women. Participation by women does not seem to have an outstanding impact as a result of gender power relations.
was left for men to decide. Thus the committee had to wait for the vice chairman to come and give them the decision, since he was perceived to be the community’s real opinion leader.
Thus men use institutions to create public space for women, portraying this as equality in decision-making, yet at the same time manipulating the same institutions formulated through male ideologies to deprive women of From our observations, potential benefits — men executed three out of institutionalizing the four water-management continued suppression Source: Author, 2014 decisions in the Guyu-Chelesa of women. For instance, scheme. The presence of though women are highly women often reinforces the decisions that have represented in committees, they act more as been made by men, as the women are called implementers of decisions made by men. In this upon to vote on the decisions, whose outcome way, men create opportunities to concentrate women have little or no chance to influence. their locus of control in institutions, while For instance, male candidates were nominated women are made to appear unskilled through for disciplinary committee posts. Even though strategically designed gender insensitive there were no female candidates, and men had infrastructure. In Guyu such a scenario was nominated the other candidates, the women at observed during engine operations where the meeting were required to cast their vote for women appeared technically excluded. For the nominees. By virtue of their large numbers, instance, the engine near the river has an women reinforce the election of men into underground operating handle which can be positions. There is a token representation of reached using an unsecured ladder down a women, while men dominate the committee. narrow opening, a setup which is culturally perceived as not suitable for female irrigators. Women’s ideas regarding infrastructure management and rehabilitation are accepted As a result of cultural adherence, women are depending on the level of complexity of excluded from operating this particular engine; the issue. For example, women are given as a consequence, they have limited decisionthe opportunity to participate more when making authority toward such infrastructure. putting across ideas to do with the peripheral Despite women’s exclusion from infrastructural maintenance of the infrastructure and with technical operations, the survey results show financial contributions than when providing that 30 in every 100 women have knowledge technical expertise on the management of about operating engines; however, they tend the infrastructure. For instance, when funds to be involved with the booster engines, whose were needed to repair the Scheme’s engine, operating handles are easily accessible (above the chairperson (Mrs. Ndebele) collected the the ground) and which are perceived as suitable money from the plot holders on 22 September for women. Thus, even when women are largely 2012, but failed to decide on the requirements represented in management, that is not an end for fixing the malfunctioning engine, a task she in itself, since they still face challenges in access acknowledged as a man’s place and which then and, to a certain extent, in capacity for making
decisions regarding some components of the infrastructure, such as engines. Men, therefore, continue to exercise power and authority over women in water management. Conclusions
Women in the Guyu-Chelesa irrigation scheme constitute the large majority of farm decisionmakers, and are even relatively well represented as members of the WUA. However, in leadership, men are disproportionately represented as committee members, and even more dominant as decision-makers, especially in technical decisions, an area from which women are deterred culturally and which they therefore have little knowledge. The reason for this ‘bottom-up’ gender analysis is that women’s exclusion in committees is quite normal (and difficult to overcome) in “male farming systems” the world over, where men also dominate all the farming. However, in Africa women are the majority of farm human capital, and they are still excluded from leadership. Having at least proportional representation of those who do much of the farming at each higher level of decision-making serves both equity and productivity. Given this huge diversity in the gendered organization of farming across the world (and even within countries), women’s involvement in water governance structures is highly contextual.
In Guyu, regardless of the fact that many women hold high levels of formal decision-making authority, men still dominate the decisions made in these institutions. The research findings at one level suggest that women are highly represented in water resource institutions. However, their decision-making capacity is not recognized in these institutions. In the end, there is no substantial participation by women in water resource infrastructure management and rehabilitation. Despite progressive mechanisms that promote women’s participation, their meaningful inclusion in water resource infrastructure management is yet to be realized in the face of gender power relations.
Gender relations can be meaningfully addressed by engaging both men and women in real representation and in decision-making — particularly by reducing the perceived knowledge and skills gap by facilitating equity in decision-making capacity. This can be done partly through water resource infrastructure management skills training, especially for the women, which can involve blending contemporary skills acquisition processes and traditional culture. There is also a need to address the fact that men seem not to appreciate women’s capability in management even when they are capable; this might be changed through structural gender-based reform mechanisms such as restructuring the existing institutions as well as reconstructing and redefining the societal position of women in water resources management. This would allow both men and women to be engaged in critical decision making in a gender-sensitive way.
Emelder M. Tagutanazvo is a research intern at IWMI-Pretoria where she is working on Gender and Water Resources Management Institutions. She also worked with IWMI under the CPWF challenge programme (20112012) focusing on “Gender Dynamics in Water Governance Institutions”. Ms. Tagutanazvo graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a Master of Science Degree in Social Ecology in 2013 and is a holder of Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Psychology with the same University. Before interning at IWMI she worked for the ministry of Education as Science teacher. She can be reached at email@example.com. Vupenyu T. Dzingirai, Professor (University of Zimbabwe), CASS Department, Box MP 167, Mt Pleasant, Harare, firstname.lastname@example.org Everisto Mapedza, Researcher—Social and Institutional Scientist, International Water Management Institute, Cresswell Street, Weavind Park, 0127 Pretoria, South Africa, email@example.com Barbara Van Koppen, Principal Researcher, International Water Management Institute, Cresswell Street, Weavind Park, 0127 Pretoria, South Africa, B.VanKoppen@cgiar.org
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The Impacts of Water Shortages on Women’s Time-Space Activities in the High Density Suburb of Mabvuku in Harare Liliosa Pahwaringira, Lillian Chaminuka, and Kwaedza Muranda-Kaseke
Abstract The purpose of this study was to assess how water scarcity affects women’s time-space activity. Time-space activity refers to the lateral distance between locations. In this context time is taken when traveling to and fro collecting water. Space refers to the radius covered. The study was carried out in Mabvuku, a high-density suburb of Harare, Zimbabwe, following observations and reports of serious shortages of water in the area. A case study approach was employed for the study and respondents were selected using purposive and snowball sampling. Data was collected using questionnaires, structured interview guides, and observational surveys. The study showed that there was a widespread water shortage in the suburb and women walked long distances to collect water while men rarely participated in such activities. The impacts affect various household activities, time for socialization, prevalence of waterborne diseases, and personal hygiene. Some of the recommendations include adding more potable water sources in the area, emphasis on education and awareness of water conservation within the household, and setting up water sources committee management in urban areas. Key Words: conservation, water borne diseases, women’s time space activity, sanitary scarcity, snowball sampling, purposive sampling, Mabvuku, Harare, Zimbabwe, water management, water shortage Background The availability of safe and clean drinking water is a basic necessity for all living beings. The Accra Declaration (2001) affirms that water is
Source: World Bank, 2015
a fundamental human right, essential to human life to which every person, rich or poor, man or woman, child or adult, is entitled. Access to it is critical for human development. This is in line with one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): Goal 7, Target 10, which aims to reduce the number of people without access to safe drinking water and sanitation by half by 2015 (UN, 2006). About 1.1 million people in the world are still using unimproved water sources (WHO and UNICEF, 2010). Projections by the United Nations Development Programme show that Sub-Saharan Africa would only reach the MDG targets for water services by 2040, and those for sanitation by 2076 (UNDP, 2006). In 2009 the Asian Development Bank (ADB) singled out government crisis, which is often associated with how countries manage their water resources, as the major limitation. The situation in developing countries is further aggravated by urbanization, a major challenge for Sub Saharan Africa. Political interference and low tariff policies have led to inefficiency and chronic financial weakness of public utilities. The inability of water and sanitation utilities
to maintain and extend services has typically led to situations where subsidized services are in fact reserved for those privileged to have a network connection, while most of the poor have to rely on more costly and lower quality alternatives (Kriss, 2002).
Zimbabwe’s deteriorating water situation in urban areas is similar to that occurring in other parts of Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa, coverage of piped water has declined to 39% from 50% in the early 1990s due to increasing population (WHO, 2006) Rapid population growth has resulted in an enormous strain on basic services such as provision of clean water supply. In Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, the current population is 2,098,199, with an estimated 2% population increase per year compared to the national growth rate of 1.1% (ZIMSTAT, 2012). Other reasons have been cited as contributing to the problem, such as insufficient planning by municipal authorities, decaying water and sanitation infrastructure, and poor municipal governance (Manzungu, 2012). Urban residents in Harare (and other cities in Zimbabwe) frequently experience water shortages and are exposed to poor quality drinking water. The water shortage has caused residents to resort to using alternative water sources such as shallow wells, deep wells, and boreholes to meet their domestic needs. Some of these may be unsafe but continue to be used due to lack of a better alternative, a contributing factor to the cholera outbreak in 2008. During August 2008–June 2009, an estimated 95,531 suspected cases and 4,282 deaths due to cholera were reported. The breakdown of both potable water and sanitation systems, and the widespread contamination of available drinking water sources were considered responsible for the rapid and widespread distribution of the epidemic throughout the country. The principle cause of the outbreak was the collapse of the urban water supply, sanitation, and garbage collection. Municipal water supplies were often cut off for days, leaving no chemicals in the country to treat the urban water supply. Urban populations resorted to collecting surface water, but with the onset of
the rains in November 2008, raw sewage was washed into water sources used for drinking water. When the epidemic started, there was a shortage of emergency purification tablets for household water treatment. In the high density suburbs, few households could afford fuel (wood or charcoal) to boil their water. Additionally, lack of education on how to prevent cholera influenced the spread of cholera to the rural areas when city dwellers visited their rural homes at Christmas, fanning out to each of the 57 districts in the country. At this point the economy collapsed with hyperinflation at 231 million percent (WHO, 2009).
The inefficiency of water utilities is magnified in urban areas due to limited alternatives, such as wells and boreholes. Existing water services in many African cities and towns are characterized by intermittent supplies, frequent breakdowns, inefficient operations, poor maintenance, and depleted finances. Women and children usually bear the burden of water collection, walking kilometers to the nearest source, which is often unprotected and likely to make them sick (WHO, 2010). Unimproved drinking water sources include unprotected dug wells, unprotected springs, and surface water. In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year walking for water (WHO, 2006). According to the UN MDGs 2012 report, 71% of the burden of collecting water for households falls on women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa. The time they spend walking and the water-borne diseases they may contract from the water keep them from attending school, going to work, and taking care of their families. Along their long walk, they are subjected to a greater risk of harassment and sexual assault. This assertion is true especially in countries where there are conflicts and wars (IRC, 2001). Additionally, hauling cans of water for long distances takes a toll on the spine and causes many women to experience back pain early in life. Medical research has documented cases of permanent damage to women’s health attributed to carrying water. Problems range from chronic fatigue, spinal and pelvic deformities, to effects on reproductive health such as spontaneous abortions (HABITAT, 2000). In some parts of Africa, where women spend
as much as 85% of their daily energy intake collecting water, the incidence of anemia and malnutrition are very high (SIDA, 1997). Introduction
Water crises are common in most of Zimbabwe’s urban areas, especially in the high-density suburbs. Mabvuku is one such old residential suburb, which has been severely impacted by these water problems. The water shortages date back to 2008, when the municipal water supply began to deteriorate, and it became common for the suburb to be without tap water for extended periods of time. Both Harare and Mabvuku have seen large population increases, resulting in increased strain on water supply infrastructure. Women seem to be more affected by water shortages and their time-space activities are usually disrupted. This prompted the study, which was carried out to assess the impacts of water shortages on women’s timespace-activities in the high-density suburb of Mabvuku in Harare. Time-space activity refers to the lateral distance between locations. In this context, time is taken when traveling to and fro collecting water. Space refers to the radius covered. The study was conducted to investigate the following objectives:
• To establish the existing methods used by women to source water; • To determine the distance traveled and time taken to access water from its source; • To investigate the extent to which women’s socioeconomic activities are being impacted on by water collection. Study Area
Mabvuku is a high-density suburb located 17 km east of Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe. The area lies between 1,500 - 1,600 meters in altitude. Relief consists of gently undulating ground interrupted by granite outcrops and
balancing rocks. The altitude makes pumping water from Prince Edward Dam and Morton Jeffrey Waterworks to Mabvuku difficult. Mabvuku lies upstream of Cleverland Dam. About 644,440 people live in Mabvuku and the population has been rising at an average of 7.5% per year (ZimStat, 2012). The rate is higher than that of the capital city, Harare, which is growing at 2%.
Figure 1: Mabvuku, Source: Google Earth (2013) The problem of water shortages dates back to 2008, when people resorted to using unprotected water from shallow wells, which caused a serious outbreak of water borne diseases. Unprotected water sources include exposed dug wells, springs, and surface water (rivers, dams, streams) that may be influenced by dangerous environmental conditions. To help solve the problem, UNICEF installed boreholes in the area. However, there were not enough boreholes installed and people sill endured long distances of about a kilometer in search of water. The women, responsible for sourcing water for their households, were affected the most. Institutional Responsibility
The municipality of Harare manages the water supply in the city of Harare, whose population currently stands at 2,098,199 (Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency- ZimStat, 2012). The source of the water is Lake Chivero, which is along the Manyame River (Fig. 2). The treatment plant for Harare is at Morton Jeffrey Water works. The municipality of Harare’s aim is to
Figure 2. Lake Chivero, Source: www.geocities.ws meet the full demand for treated water by providing water connections to all residents. Water is also provided through various organizations such as UNICEF and USAID that have endeavored to assist with the water crisis in the area. UNICEF has provided assistance in the form of boreholes, while USAID installed 5000-liter steel water tanks to the needy1 around Mabvuku. However, the impact of this assistance is limited by the higher demand of the growing urban population. Methodology
This research was based on a study conducted using Mabvuku High Density area of Harare as an exploratory case study. Where considerable uncertainty exists about program operations, goals, and results, the exploratory case study helps identify questions, select measurement constructs, and develop measures; such studies also serve as a first orientation before investigating in larger studies. The study was conducted from January to May 2013 and it was self funded. Respondents were selected using purposive and snowball sampling. Purposive or judgmental sampling entails the use of an expert to identify respondents who may have intrinsic knowledge or experiences relevant to a particular hypothesis (Neuman, 2000). 1 Needy people are defined as people without possessions or wealth and in need of help from others.
The area was purposely selected as it has a long history of water problems as mentioned earlier. Snowball sampling was used to gather sources of other relevant and insightful information as one participant referred the researchers to the next relevant informant. A snowball sample is a non-probability sampling technique that is appropriate to use in research when the members of a population are difficult to locate: the researcher collects data on the few members of the target population he or she can locate, then asks those individuals to provide information needed to locate other members of that population whom they know. In Mabvuku researchers asked individuals to locate the closest borehole or house with a water-harvesting tank.
Data was collected using field observations and key informant interviews, and multiple researchers recorded the observations and performed interviews. The researchers visited all the sites and, using purposive sampling, only spoke with individuals they saw at the site. Baseline information about the Mabvuku district was gathered through review of relevant materials and documents such as the recent National Census Survey of 2012. After this, researchers visited the district to inform key stakeholders about the study and agree on convenient dates and times. During the survey, researchers documented field observations of water points, and photographed the water points and households, which had water harvesting tanks. Boreholes and houses with water harvesting tanks were identified through the snowballing process. Key informant interviews were qualitative in-depth interviews with women who were experiencing problems associated with water shortages. The interviews allowed interviewers to establish rapport with respondents and provided opportunities to build a relationship with key stakeholders in the community. Researchers could clarify questions, raise awareness around a certain
issue, and easily contact informants for further clarification. Interviews were completed at the boreholes, homes and offices of the Sister in Charge of Mabvuku Clinic and the Chief Clerical Officer from the Harare Municipality Mabvuku District Office. Respondents were interviewed in a local language, Shona. The total number of boreholes in Old Mabvuku is seven. A total of 21 people were interviewed. Findings
Findings show that most households had an average of six people. These households go for months without tap water. The women in the area indicated that they used between 20 to 60 litres of water daily for household purposes such as washing clothes, cooking, bathing and washing dishes. During the research fieldwork, it rained and the residents were harvesting rainwater in dishes and 25 liter buckets. The respondents said that they were happy because it was raining and they had the chance to do a lot more laundry. Around Mabvuku, people even had a chance to wash some blankets, which lessened the burden of collecting water from the local boreholes on those rainy days. The findings are discussed in the paragraphs below. Existing Methods Used by Women to Source Water In Mabvuku, a range of water sources are available. These include boreholes, deep and shallow wells, water tanks, and rainwater. UNICEF drilled the boreholes and steel tanks used to harvest rainwater. Researchers observed that women and children collected water from boreholes more often than men, citing long queues of more than 20 women getting water and less than 5 men collecting water (4:1). This was observed for a period of two hours when the researchers spent time at the water sources. This trend was observed over the duration of the study, from February to May, and serves as evidence of the disparity between men and women who collect water from communal water sources. Mabvuku residential area has 27 of the 5000 liter steel tanks which were installed on some
of the houses by UNICEF to harvest rain water. These tanks were installed primarily in areas with high numbers of widows, orphans, and vulnerable children (OVC). The harvested water was meant to be shared between neighbors, but the study showed that the residents were not willing to share the resource, thus creating conflict within the community. Some were actually said to be selling the water at $1/bucket. Those who had no tanks relied on smaller 20 to 25 liter buckets and dishes to harvest rainwater. This was said to be difficult at times because some houses did not have gutters to collect the rainwater into the buckets. Interviews with authorities from the municipality of Harare revealed that UNICEF had previously been charged with maintaining the boreholes, but now the municipality is responsible for maintenance of broken down boreholes. The study showed that very few households have their own deep wells, which are randomly located and some of which are not protected, which makes the water unsafe to drink. Unprotected water sources are sources that, by nature of their construction, do not protect the water from outside contamination, in particular from fecal matter. Some of the well owners were unwilling to share the water, forcing their neighbors to walk to the distant community boreholes.
In Mabvuku, clinics played a crucial part in water and sanitation by dispatching their health workers to educate the community about water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). This is in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Health workers also distributed water treatment tablets (Aqua tabs) and other water purification chemicals such as Water Guard. The city authorities attempted to provide people with safe drinking water. However, despite these efforts, it is against the beliefs of certain religious groups such as Johane Masowe and Johane Marange to use medical pills or tablets. Members of these religious groups resisted the use of the Aqua tabs. Research showed that even though they accepted the tablets, they would not purify their drinking water. Instead, they used the tablets for
whitening their religious regalia and to remove stains and smell from their toilets. Time Spent and Distance Travelled to Access Water from Nearest Source
The case study research shows that women walked one to two kilometers each way to collect water. The time spent walking to and from water sources reduced time for other activities such as socializing at home and in other social settings. Some women, who live far from the water source, indicated that they have to wake up around four o’clock in the morning in order to get in line for water. Affluent and merchant women who have to wake up early in the morning to prepare for work and to go to the markets reported that they had to pay boys who slept at the community boreholes to line up for them. Once they were at the water source, they spent approximately two to four hours waiting for their turn to get water. Between the hours of six and ten o’clock in the morning, long winding lines could be seen as people waited for their turn to get water. In this context, women’s household duties were also affected. For example, as mothers, the women had inadequate time to prepare their children for school. Socioeconomic Activities and Health Implications of Water Collection
Beyond the shortcomings of physical water sources, this study showed various socioeconomic and health implications of women’s time spent collecting water. Firstly, the study showed that traditional socializing was trans-located and centered at the local boreholes since women had limited time to socialize at other locations with friends and relatives. In some instances, fights broke out at the water sources, especially when people tried to cut in line. Additionally, 15 participants reported facing health problems due to lack of water, including chest and back pains that arose over time. As mentioned above, the women walk long distances three to four times a day. In some instances, women were seen carrying babies
on their backs and at the same time balancing 20-25 liter plastic containers of water on their heads. This problem is highlighted by SIDA (1997), states that carrying cans of water for long distances takes a toll on the spine, and as a result, many women experience back pain early in life. Women also expressed their concerns on the effects of unclean water: whenever there are disease outbreaks such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and diarrhea, they were responsible for taking care of the sick, especially children and the elderly. They were responsible for caring for their sick relatives while still expected to collect water from community boreholes, leaving little to no time for other activities. Problems With Existing Water Sources
The women gave various reasons for the causes of water’s inaccessibility including frequent power outages. The pumping of water is dependent on power availability and there have been instances where supply has virtually ceased for more than 6 months in the area due to power failure (Chipetya, 2013). These frequent power outages have negatively affected the supply of water in the city. Water leakages due to burst pipes was another reason water was difficult to access. Even after reporting leakages to the City Council/ authorities, burst pipes were left in disrepair for long periods. Interestingly, 10 of the respondents shared that some residents actually vandalized the water supply pipes so that they could access the water passing through their area. The fact that Mabvuku would be dry yet water would be supplied to another area angered the residents and caused vandalism. Some respondents felt that the water authorities were facing challenges in chemically purifying the water. Interviewees agreed that the quality of water from the communal boreholes was poor, and observation showed that the water was rusty and undrinkable. This could be because the pipes had become too rusty or the rocks in the area have high iron content. The women said that if the water is boiled, brick red residue remains in the containers. They also
expressed that borehole water was hard and was difficult to wash clothes with, as evidenced by using more soap than normal because lather formation was more difficult. This information is supported by WHO (1996) which states that soap consumption for uses such as laundry and bath is related to the water hardness: soap reacts less with hard water and is more difficult to lather. As a result, women are forced to buy more soap and detergents. Conclusion
In conclusion, the study showed that the residents in Mabvuku face many challenges accessing water. The absence of nearby water sources increases the burden on women as they walk long distances to access water and causes women to face health problems due to lack of water. The research found that the women walk long distances three to four times a day, with health implications including chest and back pains. These women are often deprived of the ability to relax and socialize, as they spend most of their time collecting water. They either wait in long lines or walk long distances to access water, some of which is not safe for human consumption, as it is collected from unprotected sources. In Mabvuku, women are involved in multiple community and household roles, and adding the role of collecting water is overburdening them further. If no water is accessible in physical and economic terms, women’s ability to socialize and to take care of the family is disrupted. Water shortages affect various household activities, time for socialization, and exposure to waterborne diseases. To combat these problems, more potable water sources need to be installed in the area, awareness of water conservation within the household should be raised, and water source committee management should be set up in urban areas. Authorities are teaching people to conserve water by giving them pamphlets and advertising on social media and electronic media. With safe water nearby, women are free to pursue new opportunities and improve their families’ lives. Children can earn their education and build the future of their communities. A clean water project
nearby means more than safe drinking water to communities in developing countries such as Zimbabwe. It means time, freedom, and incentive to change their communities and life styles. Recommendations
The study leads to the following recommendations:
• In order to improve the socioeconomic status of women in this region, councillors in the different wards should secure funding to help women start market gardening projects. Because the study revealed that women in Mabvuku no longer grew their own vegetables due to lack of water, this will enable them to generate income as well as supplement their food supply at home.
• The City of Harare should establish a sustainable rotational schedule for water for the greater Harare area. In all residential areas of Harare, there should be equitable water rationing. All areas should have the same days of water rationing. Currently, in some areas there is no water rationing at all as compared to other areas. This will also provide women with more time for chores other than collecting water. The residents of Mabvuku experience water shortages for over a month at a time, and this has tremendous health effects. There is a fear of cholera as the most deadly viral disease that is common during the time of water shortages. To prevent this, people should be provided with water purification tablets and more boreholes should be dug near homes to prevent women from walking long distances. • Harare Municipality needs to strengthen its ties with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and seek larger containers for rain harvesting to enable women to collect maximum water from the rain for domestic purposes. • Harare Municipality must add more potable water sources near residential areas. The study revealed that women have devised
some coping strategies to circumvent the water shortages they face on a daily basis: residents took advantage of the vandalized and burst water pipes to collect water for domestic use. The water from the burst pipes is neither clean nor safe. If there are more potable water sources available, people will be less likely to use unsafe water sources. Liliosa Pahwaringira is a Lecturer in the Geography and Environmental Studies Department at the Zimbabwe Open University. She majored in Geography, Environmental Science and Water and Sanitation.Her major interests are in Environmental Issues and Water related issues. Ms. Pahwaringira can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lilian Chaminuka is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Counselling under the faculty of Applied Social Sciences. She has majored in counselling, water and sanitation and peace and governance. Her interests are in gender issues. She is also a qualified English teacher who has other certificates in the areas of HIV and AIDS and Systematic Family Therapy. Mrs. Chaminuka can be reached at lilianc915@ gmail.com.
Kwaedza E Muranda-Kaseke is a Lecturer in the Department of Development Studies at the Zimbabwe Open University. She is pursuing her PHD in the area of Gender and Development. She also likes to do voluntary development work in the communities. Her e-mail is email@example.com.
Works Cited Asian Development Bank (ADB). Water Supply Systems Data Book: Asian and Pacific Region, Second Edition. Philippines: ADB, 1997.
Chipeta, Lucy. “The Water Crisis in Blantyre City and its Impact on Women: The Cases of Mabyani and Ntopwa, Malawi.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 10 (2009): 17-39. Gandy, Matthew. “Water, Sanitation and the Modern City: Colonial and Post-Colonial Experiences in Lagos and Mumbai.” United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 6 (2006):1-30. Hove, Mediel, and Auxillia Tirimboi. “Assessment of Harare Water Service Delivery.” Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa 13 (2011): 61-83. Manzungu, Emmanuel, and Rose Machiridza. “An Analysis of Water Consumption and Prospects for Implementing Water Demand Management at Household Level in the City of Harare, Zimbabwe.” Harare: University of Zimbabwe, 2005. Manzungu, Emmanuel. 2012. “Availability and Potability of Alternative Domestic Water in an African.” Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering A1 (2012): 454-466.
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). A Gender Perspective on Water Resources and Sanitation. Commission on Sustainable Development Interagency Task Force on Gender and water background paper No.2, Geneva, Switzerland: 2004. World Health Organisation (WHO). Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment Report. United Nations Children Fund, Geneva, Switzerland: 2000.
World Health Organisation and United Nations Children’s Fund (WHO/UNICEF) Meeting the MDG drinking water and sanitation target. The urban and rural challenge of the decade. United Nations Children Fund, Geneva, Switzerland: 2006. World Bank (WB)/ Final Report of Performance Indicators: African Water Supply and Sanitation Supply systems. Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire: 2001. World Health Organisation (WHO). The World Health Report. Geneva, Switzerland: 2002 World Water Vision. A Water Secure World: Vision for Water, Life, and the Environment, Commission Report. 2000.
Zimbabwe Statistical Offices. Census Survey. Causeway, Central Census Office. 2012. Accessed April 24, 2015. http://sociology.about.com/od/Research/a/sampling-designs. htm-
Assessment of Water Provision and Associated Risks Among Children in Abeokuta Peri-Urban, Ogun State, Southwestern Nigeria: The Gender Implications Adegbite A Ayoade, Salako Sikiru, and Okanlawon
Abstract An assessment of water supply challenges and risks facing children in selected peri-urban areas of Abeokuta (Akole-Oke Ata, Obatonko, Adigbe) in Ogun, southwestern Nigeria, was carried out during the dry season, in the months of November 2013 to February 2014. Recognizing that the yield of drinking water sources and water supply from the government were drastically reduced during the dry season, in this study, project leaders aimed to determine childrenâ€™s involvement in household water provision during the dry season in the periurban of Abeokuta Ogun State Southwestern Nigeria, and to further determine the gender distribution, risks and risk indicators, and occurrence of problems among the children during water provision. In the course of the study, a total of 100 water sources (piped water taps, boreholes, dug wells, burst pipes, streams) were visited, and focus group discussion/ informal interview methodologies were adopted to gather data from the people at water points. Approximately 827 of the people met at the water points were children, with 800 of those children being girls between the ages of 5-15. The results from these interactions indicated that the girls from each household were responsible for scouting water sources, as well as transportation and storage of the water for household consumption. Out of 800 girls interviewed, 722 reported being late to school, 712 recorded poor school attendance, 456 reported being sexually harassed and/ or assaulted, 166 had experienced injury from physical fights at the water points, 788 experienced neck and back pain from carrying an excessive load of water, 99 were physically punished by parents or guardians at home when
containers got lost, misplaced, or exchanged at the water points, and 184 were punished by the parents or guardians who believed that the girls wasted the water. Some of the respondents (12) preferred going out to provide the water for the family to avoid other domestic work. The majority said they wanted the government and/or parents/guardians to be responsible for adequate water provision for household consumption. Keywords: Girls, Gender, Water Supply, Risks, Hazard, Peri Urban, Ogun State, Nigeria, survey methodology, water provision assessment Introduction 1.1. Background
Access to an adequate water supply is not just a fundamental need and human right; it also has considerable health and economic benefits to households and individuals (ChildInfo/ UNICEF, 2013). Women and children (mostly girls) spend millions of hours fetching water each year. The task diverts their time from other important activities (for example, attending school, caring for children, participating in the economy, relaxing, etc) (ChildInfo/UNICEF, 2013). According to Shannyn (2014), UN Water (2014) and Robson, et al. (2013), additional challenges and risks associated with time spent fetching water include assault, rape, kidnapping, death, injuries from slipping and falling, attacks by animals, etc. Safe water is a critical environmental and public health issue, as well as a means to lift people out of poverty and ensure human security. The number of people without safe water is increasing (Natural Resources Defense Council, 2014).
As previously mentioned, this study is focused on peri-urban Abeokuta - areas directly adjoining urban areas, between the suburbs and the countryside. They exhibit traits of both urban and rural areas, but are actually undergoing a transition between the two (Kakakhei, 2013). In a typical rural, urban or peri-urban setting in Nigeria, each household consists on average of four members (a father, a mother, a child and a ward ), but in reality, many households have more than six members (Togunde and Richardson, 2006 and Adegbite, et. al., 2013). Household water needs are prioritized for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing. Water sources include public tap water, boreholes, hand-dug wells, and rivers. The water is collected and then stored in containers at home for different uses.
Some households have overhead storage tanks for use during the rainy seasons, or to store water bought from water vendors. In households without tanks, children are tasked with the responsibility of supplying water for household consumption, and are thereby exposed to various risks (mainly, violence and injury) that pose varying levels of threat to the life, health, or development of children. For instance, children sometimes walk long distances, averaging 5 km in search of water (Woodley, 2011). In some cases, according to organizations such as Amref Health Africa (2014), children spend on average two hours collecting water every day. Thus, they may not have the opportunity to attend school on time or may have poor attendance. Another problem in the study area is scarcity of water during the dry seasons, which affects production and water supply from the state water corporation because of water volume reduction of the Ogun River, the source of raw water for the corporation’s water supply scheme. In the city, the main source of the water is the government public water supply. During the dry seasons, the volume of river water available for drinking water production is reduced drastically, resulting in intermittent supply. In the peri-urban or the suburban area of the Abeokuta City, the supply of public water is pumped twice a week. Prior to water being
pumped, containers are lined up around the stand posts. In the course of struggling for the much awaited water flows, it becomes a case of survival of the fittest, with the strongest gaining access to water earlier than the weak. As such, women and girls experience higher risk of injury, as highlighted above. 1.2. The Study Area
The peri-urban study area consists of three locations around the Abeokuta Capital of Ogun State. The locations are Adigbe (Obafemi Owode LGAs), Akole-Oke Ata (Abeokuta North) and Obantoko (Odeda LGA) of the Ogun State Nigeria. The Abeokuta North Local Government Area has a population of about 198,793 people (National Population Commission, 2006 National Census). It occupies an area of 723 km2 (Ogun State Bureau of Land and survey) with an average of 295 persons per km2. The Obafemi Owode Local Government Area has a population of about 235,071 people (National Population Commission, 2006 National Census). It occupies an area of 1430 square km2 (Ogun State Bureau of Land and Survey) with an average of 170 people per km2. The Odeda Local Government Area has a population of about 109,522 people (National Population Commission, 2006 National Census). It occupies an area of 1547 square km2 (Ogun State Bureau of Land and Survey) with an average of 75 persons per km2 (OGMOH, 2010). The population may even be larger than the 2006 census numbers suggest due to an influx of people into the city from neighbouring states of Lagos and Ogun State. Industrialization and urbanization of the state capital has resulted in the development of the surrounding peri-urban area, massive ongoing road construction, and expansion in the wake of housing demolition, causing residents of the city to move to periurban areas of the city of Abeokuta. Additionally, the hydrogeological setting of the study area limits its groundwater potential. The study area lies between latitudes 7°10 N and 7°15 N and longitudes 3° 17 E and 3° 26 E (Ufoegbune et al., 2009). 74
1.3. Conceptual Framework for the study The framework for the study accounts for all possible stages of a typical household’s water provision: from the water source and collection, transportation, and storage of the drinking water to the associated risks children face which may impact their physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual status.
(Source: Google Image, 2015)
Table 1: Different Levels of Activities and Associated Risks to Which the Children Are Exposed Level Risk and Risk Indicators i : (‘Hydro-spy’): scouting for Bullying, fighting, pushing, being struck by moving vehicles when water points — either piped crossing motorways, sexual assault, snake bites, bruises from water, dug wells, streams, or slipping or falling, fatigue from walking long distances, danger from burst pipes, especially when walking on the unfamiliar paths/roads, kidnapping there is the scarcity of water during dry season ii: Point of Water Collection Physical fighting over who will collect water first, misplacement of storage materials, being pushed, sexual assault, bullying, injury from carrying heavy loads of water, parasitic infections on the toes from dipping them in the pools of water around the collection points iii: Transportation of the water Injury from long walks with a heavy load on the head, including from the point of collection to neck and back pains, slipping and falling, being struck by moving the household vehicles, other accidents iv: Household level The children can be punished if they have lost or broken the water collection/storage materials, return late, or bring home someone else’s fetching materials. They are also physically punished if they waste the water, which can include being yelled at, hit or slapped, or ask to kneel down etc. In most cases during the week, children go to fetch water in the morning, as early as 4 a.m., or in the evening after they return from school, often using unsafe paths. It is their responsibility to provide water for their families during the weekends as well. The children face hazards and challenges while scouting for water sources/fetching points, carrying the water home, and upon returning home (See table 1 above). Fetching water early in the morning may cause children to arrive late to school, for which teachers may inflict punishment in the form of beating with canes. This can result in bruises, pain or discomfort, and lack of concentration at school activities due to injury, fatigue, or both.
Lecturers and students at the Department of Water Resources Management and Sanitation at Ogun State College of Health Technology Ilese-Ijebu, carry out fieldwork, excursions, and assessments of water
sources in the area as part of the departmental curricula, and made these observations. They found that the water supply distribution network does not reach people who rely on private boreholes and hand-dug wells. These are often far from their homes, requiring children to walk long distances, and in some cases cross highways, to get to the water source. Due to restrictions by private owners and high demand on these water sources, children often are forced to scout for other sources. In the process, they become vulnerable and face more risks associated with â€œhydro-spying,â€? or scouting for water sources. This study was carried out to:
(1) Assess childrenâ€™s involvement in household water provision during the dry season in the peri-urban of Abeokuta Ogun State in Southwestern Nigeria.
(2) Determine the gender distribution, risks and risk indicators, and occurrence of problems among children during water provision. Data Collection and Methodology
The survey was carried out during the dry seasons from November 2013 to February 2014. The focus was on determining the responsibilities and challenges facing children in the course of obtaining water for household consumption. The peri-urban areas adjacent to Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, namely Adigbe, Akole-Oke Ata, and Obatonko, were considered and 100 water points/sources were identified by the researchers through surveillance, inquiry, scouting methodology, and interviewing children at the water sources while they were looking for water or carrying water home. After the introduction, the following questions were asked: (1) Where do you reside? (2) How many individuals reside in your household? (3) Can you show us your container? (4) How many times do you need to visit the water point in a day? (5) How long will this water last? (6) Have you or a friend been involved in an accident during water provision? If yes, what kind of accident? (7) Does water
provision affect your school attendance? (8) What do you hate/dislike about the water fetching? The interaction is informal and completed using the local language. Most of the responses in Table 4 are responses to question number eight.
Project leaders employed observational methodology as well; the researchers counted the numbers of children and identified the boys and girls, while taking note of environmental conditions around the water points/sources. A camera and tape recorders were used to take pictures and record the conversations between the respondents (children) and researchers. The visits to the water points/sources, including piped water taps, boreholes, dug wells, burst pipes and streams, were done early in the morning and in the evening, Monday through Sunday.
The risk indicators and hazards associated with water provision among children that are considered in the study are defined as follows: (a) Heavy Load: Carrying water containers can result in headache and body and neck pain, and lifting the heavy water containers incorrectly can be hazardous and affect the spinal structures over time (Bao, 1989) and (Joosab, Torode and Rao, 1994). (b) Lateness or poor school attendance: Scouting water early in the morning involves walking long distances and can have a negative impact on school attendance (UNICEF, 2014) and (Lawani, et.al: 2014). (c) Long Distance Trek: Children who walk long distances scouting for water sources and transporting water from water points to their household face increased risk of accidents, sexual assault and lateness to school ((MercyUSA, 2015). (d) Fear of rejection and refusal: Rejection or refusal at water points by private owners requires children to walk further and visit unimproved water sources which can be more dangerous. (e) Sexual Assault: Girls walking alone or in small groups scouting for water or carrying water are vulnerable to sexual assault by men or boys (Jenkins and Goetz, 2010), (Breiding et al., 2011), (UNICEF, 2014) and UNESCO, 2015). (f) Accidents: Children may slip, be struck by moving vehicles when
crossing highways, or be pushed into wells by other children desperate to provide water for their households (Ebrahim, 2009) and (WHO, 2015). (g) Punishment: Children may be beaten at home by their parents if they return home without finding water or lose their water containers. They may also engage in physical fighting over ownership of containers. A simple statistical tool of chart and percentile was used to display and analyze the data gathered during the study. Results and Discussion
3.1. Results on the Types and Conditions of Water Points/Sources The survey indicated that out of 100 water points/sources visited, 68 were unimproved according to World Health Organisation and UNICEF standards, in the sense that surrounding physical, environmental and sanitary conditions pose a high risk of water source contamination and expose the people visiting them to health risks.
Figure 1: A private water point (borehole) at residence in Adigbe (seven girls and three boys) (Source: Authors, 2013)
Table 2: Water points/sources and unimproved points Town
No. of water No. of points/sources unimproved visited points/ sources Adigbe 33 22 Akole-Oke 34 23 Ata Obatonko 33 23 Total 100 68 Examples of unimproved water sources include hand-dug wells that are uncovered and have no masonry support, allowing people collecting water to fall inside, as well as the pools of water around wells or boreholes that often foster fungal diseases when children dip their feet in the dirty water.
Figure 2: The children helping each other carry jerry cans of 25 liters capacity (Source: Authors, 2013)
Figure 3: One of the children fetching water on Sunday morning at Akole-Oke Ata, the jerry cans displayed (Source: Authors, 2013) 77
Figure 4: An unimproved water source, a private water point at Obantoko where people are prevented from collecting water (Source: Authors, 2013)
Figure 5: Unimproved source, leaking/burst pipe and running water in gutter/channel (Source: Authors, 2013) Locations at Adigbe, Akole-Oke Ata 3.2. Number of Respondents and Their Gender From the Zone A Adigbe area, a total of 288 children participated in the study, 231 at Zone B Akole-Oke Ata area, and 308 at Zone C Obatonko. The figures indicated an average of 9 children, 7 children, and 9 children per water point/source at Zone A, Zone B and Zone C respectively (see Table 3).
Figure 6: A girl without footwear collecting water from a soak away pit under construction, filled up with runoff. (Source: Authors, 2014) Located at Akole Oke Ata Table 3: Number and gender of respondents Zone/Town Children Girls Boys A/Adigbe 288 273 15 B/Akole231 229 2 Oke Ata C/Obatonko 308 298 10 Total 827 800 27 Of the 827 children sampled in total, 800 were girls ranging in age from 5 to 15 years, and 27 were boys in the same age range. In some cases, adults with privately owned cars or public/ commercial taxis with water containers (known as jerry cans) come to the water points/sources to collect water for their households.
3.3. Results on the risk and risk indicators among the respondents Table 4 shows the responses of children on the risks they faced at all points of water provision for their households. The table displays responses based on the severity of particular aspects of water provision, the largest risk associated with the physical heavy load of water they carry, and the least serious as a fear of losing the water containers.
Table 4: Challenges and risks (injury, violence) reported by girls while collecting water
Responses from girls
Heavy Load Lateness to School Poor School Attendance Long Distance Trek Fear of rejection/refusal at water points owned by private individual Sexual Assault and /or harassment Accident Punishment by Parents/Guardian Injury Fear of returning home with empty containers Fear of losing water containers
788 722 712 699 500 456 345 184 166 122 99
The children’s responses (girls) indicated that they face risk of back, waist, and neck pains from carrying heavy ‘jerry cans’ that hold about 25 liters at capacity. Furthermore, most of the girls reported a belief that their back pains during their menstrual period worsened as a result of heavy load of water they carry1. Respondents also reported tardiness and poor attendance at school as a result of water provision. In addition to missed classes, assessments and activities, they also experience increased fatigue which negatively affects their ability to participate. This can have a serious impact on overall school performance ( Adow, et.al:, 2013) (UNICEF, 2015). Children’s responses also showed that over 90% have experienced some form of violence and injury. Approximately 85% were physically injured from fighting, slipping, carrying heavy loads of water, being beaten at home when they lose, mix up, or break the containers, or punished at school for tardiness due to responsibilities to provide water at home. Falling or stepping on dangerous objects such as nails, broken glass, sharp objects etc. were also mentioned as potential causes for physical
1 At the time of writing this paper, no scientific study was found that researched increased physical pain during menstrual period as a result of carrying heavy load.
Percentage out of total Respondents 95 97 86 85 60 55 41 23 21 14 11
injury during water collection. Additionally, 45% of female children surveyed reported sexual harassment during water provision, including touching of their breasts, striking of their buttocks, or raising of their skirts by male counterparts. Another 41% of respondents witnessed friends or neighbours struck by moving vehicles (bicycles, motorcycles and cars) while out for water provision. However, twelve of the respondents still prefer to go out to scout and fetch water for the household despite risks involved. They believed this is a way to avoid other domestic work. Finally, the children are prone to foot diseases and fungal infections of the skin including jock itch, ringworm, and yeast infections when their feet come into contact with stagnant water around the water source/points. Furthermore, it is worthwhile to note that from the study more girls are involved than boys, which confirms similar reporting such as Statistics South Africa (2013). The results indicated that the ratio of female to male was thirty-to-one (30:1) in household water provision. Therefore, the rate risks and risk indicators identified in Table 4 above are common and particular to girls during household water provision.
Conclusion The study concludes that girls and women are disproportionately affected by the process of water provision, especially during times of water scarcity. Hygiene and sanitation conditions at the water points need to be addressed because they pose serious potential hazards and environmental risks to the populace. The problems and risks to children associated with securing water supply can be drastically reduced if the government increases the coverage level of water provision to the populace and ensures a regular supply. Laws preventing children from searching and providing water for the households should also be enacted, and an awareness campaign to educate the communities about the dangers of child labor and abuse would show a step in the right direction toward combating this important issue.
Adegbite Afeez Ayoade is a Lecturer and Acting Head of Department of Water Resources Management and Sanitation at the Ogun State College of Health Ilese-Ijebu. He is actively involved in teaching and carrying out research on water quality management, groundwater geology, environmental geosciences, water supply and sanitary engineering among others. Mr. Ayoade graduated from the Nigerian Premier University of Ibada B.Sc in Geology (2000) n, M.Sc in Water and Environmental Management (2006) from Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC), Institute of Engineering Development, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, United Kingdom. He also obtained Certificate in Preparation for practical reality of relief work in developing countries organized by Medecins Sans FrontierHolland (2007), afterward he was posted to South Sudan and briefly worked as Logistics and Water/Sanitation Coordinator where he supervised water and sanitation activities in Nasir, Lakien, Pieri and Leer for then MSF ongoing projects in South Sudan. The activities involved water supply, drilling of boreholes, water/wastewater treatment, and management of healthcare waste, construction of latrines, health and hygiene promotion and training and empowerment of local staff. He is currently a postgraduate
student of (M.P.H- Environmental Health Sciences), Faculty of Public Health, College of Medicine-University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Mr. Ayoade has published several works in reputable journals and contributed to chapters of books. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Salako Sikiru Gbolahan is a graduate of Environmental Management and toxicology from the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB). He also holds M.sc in Environmental Toxicology and pollution Management from University of Lagos (UNILAG). He is a member of many professional bodies including Nigerian Environmental Society and Institute of Supervision and Leadership. Mr. Gbolahan is a native of Abeokuta, a registered environmental officer (REHO). Currently, he is the Head of the Environmental Health Science and Disease Control Department at the Ogun State College of Health Technology, Ilese-Ijebu. He has also published academic papers in both local and international journals. He is happily married. Mrs Okanlawon P.O is a Lecturer in the Department of Health Promotion and Education at the Ogun State College of Health Technology, Ilese-Ijebu Nigeria. She holds Master of Education in Health Education. She conducted research on children and learning and has published in international and local journals. She is actively involved in water education among children.
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Plamondon, André, Christian Larivière, Alain Delisle, Denys
Dalit Women and Water Janice Lazarus Abstract
The term Dalit means, “crushed” or “broken” and has come to represent those groups which have been traditionally considered to be outside the caste fold. Based on interviews with five Dalit women in a hamlet in Mahabubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh (now Telangana), India, this paper highlights Dalit women’s experiences related to water use, collection and access that are often shaped by their caste and gender positions. The study is qualitative in nature and employs a phenomenological approach with interviews as the data-collection method. Water is scarce in this community and fetching water often takes place at privately owned wells where discrimination based on caste and gender can incite violence. The lack of public (i.e. state supported) water supply and infrastructure further marginalizes Dalits as they have to depend on privately owned water sources, which are owned by individuals from influential caste groups. This dependency of Dalits to draw water from sources owned by upper caste individuals creates space for discrimination against Dalits while reinforcing caste structures. Experiences of violence and discrimination while collecting water are documented here as is the effort of women in community to organize and create better access to water.
The term Dalit2 means “crushed” or “broken” (Rao 2010; Massey 1995) and has come to represent those groups which have been traditionally considered to be outside the caste fold, which comprises of Brahmins, Kshatriya, Vaishya caste groups. Guarded by religious and cultural conceptions of purity and pollution, social interactions deprived Dalits of dignity, respect and access to resources. Dalits have been referred to by many terms such as untouchables, exterior castes3, harijan4, chandala5 or depressed classes6; however, the Indian state categorizes the different Dalit caste groups under a Scheduled Caste list, and thus Dalits are also referred to as Scheduled Castes7. The state has put in place political safeguards to secure the human rights of Scheduled Castes groups. Nonetheless, these political safeguards have not ensured the end of caste based discrimination and Dalits in India continue to face discrimination (Omvedt, 1994; Thorat, 2002; Michael, 2007).
Keywords: Dalit, women, water, access, collection, gender, groundwater, caste based discrimination, private wells Acknowledgement
This article is based on the fieldwork undertaken in the Gram Panchayat of Mamidipally during April 2013, in partial fulfillment for the course on Feminist Research Methodology, for the M.Phil. in Women’s Studies programme at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad.
Amita Baviskar (2007) notes that, ‘struggles over water are simultaneously struggles for power over symbolic representations and material resources” (Baviskar, 2007). Studies have shown that Dalits’ access to water is marked by their caste status (Tiwary and Phansalkar, 2007; Jodhka, 2002; Prakash and Sama, 2006; Ghose, 2003). Literature suggests that Dalits often find it difficult to access water due to their disadvantaged position in the caste hierarchy. Tiwary and Phansalkar (2007) observe that 2 The word Dalit was revived by the Dalit Panthers in their 1973 manifesto, as a marker of claiming their history of oppression. 3 The term exterior castes was used by J.H. Hutton in 1963 4 The term harijan was used by M.K. Gandhi and translates to mean “children of god”. 5 Manusmriti, ancient Indian code book for Hindus, uses the word Chandala. 6 The term, ‘depressed classes’ was used by British officials. 7 The term, ‘scheduled castes’ appeared for the first time in April 1935, when the British government issued the Government of India (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1936, specifying certain castes, races, tribes as Scheduled Castes. (Michael 2007, 16)
Dalits, as a social and economic category, are more vulnerable to water scarcity conditions as they usually depend upon common water sources, which are less reliable, thus increasing their vulnerability to unavailability of water during dry periods. Further, population growth, climate change and increased extraction of groundwater have contributed towards the scarcity of water. Similarly, Anjal Prakash and R.K. Sama (2006) observe that the conditions of water scarcity have been aggravated due to persisting differences in power relations between castes which allow privileges for higher castes over Dalit castes. Sukhdeo Thorat (2002), writing on atrocities against Dalits, refers to a Report of the Commission of the Schedules Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which highlights that “access to water” was a major reason for violence/atrocities against Dalits (Thorat, 2002). Viewing water from a lens of intersecting social realities, we see that access to water is inevitably bound by power structures arising from caste, class, location and gender. Kulkarni, Joy and Paranjpe (2008) note that social taboos prevent Dalit women from accessing drinking water, highlighting that unequal access to water acutely affects Dalit women. Most gender based domestic roles carried out by women, such as cooking, washing, cleaning, and fetching water, require that women have access to water, yet the concerns of women as water users have often been neglected in the development of water sources and infrastructure (Lahiri-Dutt, 2006; Ahmed, 2005; Kulkarni, Joy and Paranjpe, 2008). Ahmed (2005) argues that, “while women play an important role in household water and food security, overlooking the diverse material relationships that women have with water – mediated by class, caste, age and gender – can be problematic”. Thus, social contexts need to be taken into account while trying to understand issues related to water. Water is essential to life. Water is also a highly volatile issue where power and politics often play out. The United Nations states that access to water is a basic human right. Dalit initiatives aimed at ending exploitation include gaining access to water. In most households, women are
responsible for providing for the water needs of the family due to gender role expectations. Accordingly, understanding the lives of Dalit women as water users is an important part of understanding the intersectional aspects of water, access, use, and their connections to social hierarchies. Sociologists have noted that “Dalit women talk differently” (Guru, 1995; Rege, 1998), asserting that the voices, life experiences, perceptions and thoughts of Dalit women are different from those of non-Dalit women and Dalit and non-Dalit men. Therefore, it is logical to assume that Dalit women experience water differently. The objective of this study is to understand the experience of Dalit women as water users. Methods
Study Design The questions that guided the framing of the research design for understanding the experiences of Dalit women with regard to water included: How is women’s use of water related to their gender roles? How is women’s access to water related to their caste status? What are the experiences of Dalit women as users of water? A qualitative research method was best suited for this study as life experiences can be taken into account in developing an understanding of the issues being studied. The intent of the study was not to build on theory, but to describe the experience of Dalit women with regard to water use and access. Therefore, a phenomenological approach to qualitative research was used, as it enables one to “see reality through another person’s eyes” (Bernard, 2013). Using phenomenological methodology allows one to see reality and capture a small slice of it, according to the lens of those who live it. It allows the researcher to learn about phenomenon through the lived experiences of the people experiencing it. During the process of data collection, participants were encouraged to give a full description of their experiences related to access and use of water. An interview guide provided questions that guided the process of data collection, wherein the participants were asked to describe in detail their experiences. The
process of analysis sought to derive meaning by relying on the data to identify emerging themes. This study is cross-sectional as it is based on data collected at one place at one point in time.
families. Five women were interviewed for the purpose of this study. Three of the women interviewed were in their 30’s, one was in her 40’s and one was approximately 70 years old12.
The Gram Panchayat of Mamidipally is located in Kothur Mandal, Mahabubnagar District of Andhra Pradesh8. Of the six hamlets in Mamidipally, Maseed Mamidipally was selected as the hamlet to conduct the study as it has a demographically diverse population comprising of Muslim and Hindu households as well as different caste groups such as Other Backward Classes9, Brahmins10, Middle order castes11 and Dalits. Mahabubnagar district is a part of the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh, which, faces water scarcity problems and is drought prone (Ilaiah, 1986; Simhadri ,1997).
Snowball sampling was used in selecting the research participants. Snowball sampling is a sampling technique where “one research contact leads to another, and so on” (Hesse-Biber and Leavy, 2011). The researcher was new to the village and finding the participants for the study was a bit difficult since the only contact person of the village the researcher was familiar with was the woman who cooked food for the researcher. The cook was informed about the nature of the study and the desired subject population. She introduced the research team to the first participant. After initial contact with the first participant, the research team was introduced to the next participant, who introduced three other participants. This is called snowball sampling.
Maseed Mamidipally has a total population of 705 people, of which 349 are female and 356 are male. Maseed Mamidipally has a total of 157 households, out of which 33 households belong to the individuals belonging to the Scheduled Castes (Cyriac, 2011), i.e. around 21 percent of the total households in the hamlet belong to Dalits. Socio-demographic profile of sample
The participants of this study are Dalit women. All the participants are married and moved to the hamlet after marriage. The participants belong to the Madiga and Mala caste groups, both of which are Dalit castes. Both these castes are listed as scheduled castes. The hamlet of Maseed Mamidipally has a total of 33 Dalit
8 At the time of data collection and writing the research site was in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Since then, Andhra Pradesh has been divided into two states, and the research site now will be a part of the state of Telangana. 9 The Other Backward Classes is a term classified by the Government of India to recognize castes or communities, which are socially and economically backward. 10 Brahmins are a caste groups who are considered to be the highest in the Caste hierarchy. 11 Vaishya and Kshatriya caste groups are known as the middle order castes as they are lower to the Brahmins but above Shudra [Dalits] in the caste hierarchy.
Data Collection and Data Analysis Methodology
Interviewing was selected as a method of data collection as it provides a personal account of a person’s life experiences in their own voice.
“As a method of inquiry, interviewing is most consistent with people’s ability to make meaning through language. It affirms the importance of the individual without denigrating the possibility of community and collaboration” (Seidman, 1991).
Interviewing as a method of inquiry aids the researcher’s understanding of the experiences of Dalit women and the meaning they make out of their experience. An interview guide was used as a tool for data collection. The questions in the interview guide were framed according to the research objectives and corresponded with the questions this study sought to understand. The questions were translated into Telugu, a 12 The exact age of the participants could not be recorded, as they did not know their specific age. Age was deduced by calculating the age of their children or age at the time of marriage and counting the years, which have happened since then.
regional language13 . The interview guide was an apt tool for data collection as it allowed the participants to respond freely and speak about their opinions and experiences, which was necessary for this study, and included a range of questions regarding the use of water, sources of water, ownership of water, women’s work and water, impact of caste on access and use of water, and state intervention. This allowed for the researcher to document experiences of the participant in an elaborate form, which was important for this study. The interviews were conducted at the residences of the participants and audio recorded after oral consent was taken. As the researcher could not speak Telugu, a research facilitator acted as a translator. The duration of the interviews was between 25 minutes and 70 minutes. The tapes were translated and transcribed into English for data analysis.
Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. The participant responses were categorized according to themes. The interview transcripts were read and re-read. Coding was done manually, by identifying an important passage, idea, or experience, which the research participant shared. Quotes, which appeared to contain similar content were given the same code and each code was analyzed to make meaning of the text. Clusters of themes emerging from the codes were identified. Issues of Validity
“Validity refers to the accuracy and trustworthiness of instruments, data and findings in research” (Bernard, 2013). This study was based on a phenomenological methodology and uses thematic analysis to analyze the data, which was collected. The interviews were audio recorded. The audiotapes were transcribed. The transcripts were manually read, coded and emerging themes were identified. The study tried to bring to the fore the everyday experiences of Dalit women and their access to water. “The participants’ reflections, conveyed in their own words, strengthen the face validity and credibility of the research” (Patton, 2002). 13 See Appendix 1 for the interview guide.
The themes were supported by quotes taken from the transcripts, the analysis draw directly from the words of the research participants. Ethical Procedures
This study dealt with experiences of women, some of which surrounded physical and psychological violence perpetrated upon them by upper caste people. As the interviews were sensitive in nature, it was decided that the identities of the participants would be kept confidential. The researcher explained the purpose of the study and outlined participant’s role. Participants gave oral consent, as the people of Mamidipally were skeptical of signing on paper. The participants were told about the topic and type of questions, and informed that they could withdraw consent or refuse to answer any questions they were uncomfortable answering. The participants were assured of their confidentiality and that of the data collected. They were informed that the audio files would be deleted after the data had been analyzed, and that the names of the participants would be changed in the article to maintain confidentiality. Strengths and limitations
Working with water is a part of the everyday experiences of Dalit women, as are the difficulties and hardships associated with gathering water. Guru (1995) and Rege (1998) argue that the experiences of Dalit women are different from that of men and non-Dalit women. This study documents the experiences of Dalit women as water users, a subgroup that has not been studied before. Issues of access to water in terms of adequate supply, timely provision, and publicly owned water sources, caste based discrimination, gender based violence, women’s agency, and community mobilization were analyzed and the results collected. The sample size was small, restricted to five interviews. All the participants belonged to the same hamlet and caste category; thus a comparison between experiences of non-Dalit and Dalit women was not covered. Nonetheless,
this study can be viewed as a starting point for further investigation into the lived experiences of Dalit women as users of water. Results
Similarities and differences in experiences of the participants were identified based on emergent themes from the data collected. Observations from the field were also used to analyze the data. There are six themes: (1) water access, collection and use of water, (2) sources of water, (3) private sources of water and hierarchical access, (4) water, work and women, (5) caste and water, and (6) an incident of violence and community mobilization. Access, collection and use of water
All the Dalit women interviewed said that they needed water for washing dishes and clothes, cleaning the house, cooking, bathing, drinking, agriculture, performing religious rituals and the construction of buildings. However, while describing water related activities, all participants gave prominence to the household requirements for water. The participants realized the gendered nuances of access to water. One participant said, “We face more problems than men, as we have to take care of everything at home”.
The participants spoke of the link between women’s roles and access to water. In response to the question “who is the person who went to fetch water for the house?” the participants had a range of answers. Each household functioned differently and different members took the responsibility to fetch water.
Pavanamma (30’s14), a participant in this study said that, “from my house, my daughter, son, and I go to collect water. My husband doesn’t go.” Another participant, Padma (70’s), said, “My daughters-in-law go to fetch water. Meenaxi (40’s) said, “I go to fetch water. I do not allow my daughter and husband to go to fetch water. This is because the landowners verbally abuse 14 Numbers in the bracket next to the participants’ names indicates the approximate age of the participant.
us. Those words are very harsh and difficult to bear.” Lathamma (30’s) said, “I and my husband go to fetch water. Sometimes my daughter helps in fetching water. I carry the pots myself and my husband carries the water on a cycle.” While both women and men fetched water, it was generally women bearing the primary responsibility for the job. The task was also age specific; older people did not go to fetch water. In none of the interviews did the participant say that only the men of the house went to fetch water. The decision as to which member of the household would fetch water was a very conscious decision taken by the family. Sources of water
The village is solely dependent on groundwater, which is extracted via borewells. At the time of the study, there were two main sources of water in Maseed Mamidipally. One is a public (i.e. government supported) water source, which is the borewell that is connected to the overhead water tank that supplies water to individual homes, while the other borewells in the village are owned by certain individual land-holders, who generally belong to the non-Dalit groups and are financially well off.
The government constructed the overhead water tank in order to provide water to the village. Water is pumped to the tank from a borewell that was also constructed by the government. The hamlet of Maseed Mamidipally is divided into colonies based on caste affiliations. The overhead water tank is located at the crossroad where the Dalit colony ends and non-Dalit caste colonies begin. From this tank, water is distributed through pipes to each household in Maseed Mamidipally. The village manages the maintenance and daily operation of the government borewell and tank. The water from the overhead tank is solely for domestic use. Padma, who is in her 70’s, shared a story of water scarcity problems prior to the building of the water tank. She remembers, “When I got married (approximately 55 years prior to the study), there used to be caste specific wells. We
Figure 1: An open well, which is now used to discard rubbish (Source: Author)
Figure 2: Out of use handpump (Source: Author) would fetch water from those wells. After a while the wells dried and we started using water from borewells. We used to fetch water from the normal wells, carry pots back... there were handpumps but these too dried up.” Pavanamma (30’s) reminisces, “There was a pond where we would go to wash clothes and bathe. But someone broke the wall of that pond. All the water flowed out. When someone in the family dies, we [the family] need to dip in water, but that is not possible anymore”. She also said that, “there used to be a spring of water near the Yellama temple in Reddy’s field, but that has also dried up”. The participants explained that the sources of water in the village have been depleted. Open wells, hand pumps, ponds, and other surface waters have disappeared from the village as groundwater levels have dipped over the years due to the increased extraction of use of groundwater for agriculture.
The absence of open water sources has led to changes in the way water is used, as there are no open surface common water ponds for activities such as washing clothes or performing rituals. All the participants have piped water connections in their homes, which are connected to the overhead tank in the village. Meenaxi gladly expressed that, “after the installation of a water tank and taps, the work load has reduced. Earlier we had to fetch water from a neighboring hamlet.” While the piped water supply had reduced the work of fetching water, the water supplied via the pipeline was inadequate and the participants needed to fetch water at private borewells. Yadamma (25-30 years) stated, “I get tap water of about five cans [1 can of water = 15 liters of water]. We are five people at home and that water is not enough for all purposes. Therefore, we go fetch water at [privately owned] borewells”. Meenaxi added, “when less water is released, when water does not come, we have to go to the [private] borewell to fetch water”. Meenaxi shared her experience of fetching water, “we get only four cans of water from the borewells and the pump owners do not allow us to take more. If we take more, the owners will snatch the cans and throw the water. Today, I went to take water from the borewell. I took two cans, but when I went to take more they didn’t allow.” Thus, access to water depends on the will of the person who owns the borewell. The participants have to live with the vulnerability that comes with the uncertainty of acquiring water on a daily basis.
Most participants mentioned that they are verbally abused when they go to fetch water. When asked what they do about this, Pavanamma said, “As we are in need of water, we cannot show “julum” [aggression/dominance]. So we accept our mistake. Even if they say things, we don’t reply.” The need for water is so grave that the participant decided to bear with verbal abuse to get access to water. However, Meenaxi differed from her. She said, “the landowners shout at us, those words are difficult to bear. We can go without a bath but not with these words.” Lathamma stated, “If we go there [privately
Private sources of water and hierarchical access
Figure 3: Water tank (Source: Author) owned borewell] to fetch water, they take the water cans and throw the water into the fields. Since it is a private borewell, we cannot force them to give us water.” Individuals react to the verbal abuse differently. They do feel that it is harsh, but there is a sense of helplessness attached to this, as they need water. As women, the participants experienced harassment due to their gender. Yadamma said, “Men sit near borewells without clothes so that women cannot come and take water. Men bathe there. We cannot go take water.” The interviews solidified the notion that women as users and fetchers of water are vulnerable to the threat of insults, sexual harassment, and ultimately, may be denied water. Women as a group have decided to bear the abuse to get access to water, but are conscious of the difficulty and unfairness of the situation that allows for the belittling of a human being because of caste, class and gender.
Due to an inadequate household water supply the research participants were dependent on private borewells to fulfill their water requirements. Expressing her dissatisfaction with the system of water supply, Yadamma said, “Though there is an overhead tank, there isn’t proper water supply. If these [private] borewells were not there, it would have been a big problem to get water for the village.” A few of the more financiall secure individual landowners in the village have dug these private borewells. Padma mentioned that, “well off families put borewells in their fields. We use the water from their borewells.” The research participants said that there were five borewells in the village. Of the borewells from which they fetched water the most, one belonged to a Muslim, one was owned by a person from the OBC (other backward classes) caste, two belonged to people from Kuruva Caste and one was owned by a Reddy15. None of the private borewells owners belonged to a Dalit group. The people who owned the borewells did not encourage others to fetch water from these private sources. Lathamma said, “If we go there [to the privately owned borewell] to fetch water, we are scolded. The owners say that
Figure 4: Household water tap (Source: Author)
15 Reddy is a dominant caste group
they will not get enough water for their fields. They say this isn’t a government borewell, that we can come and take as much water as we want.” Padma said, “When we go with our pots, the farmer who owns the borewell will say that, the water is not enough for my fields, how can you take water? Most of the time, the private borewell owners verbally abuse us. And they say that since they own this borewell, we have no reason to take the water.” The participants did perceive the owners of the private borewells as the owners of the water. Their access to water depended on the will of the owners of the borewell. Pavanamma says, “When we go there, again, they do not allow us to get water as it is a private borewell. If it was a government borewell, we could question them.”
The research participants also attributed water shortage in the hamlet to the increase in the number of private borewells. Padma remembers, “after the water tank was constructed, we used to get good water supply. But people who had fields near the water tank also put in borewells in their fields. Because of this the level of water in this borewell decreased, and the water supply reduced.” Another participant, Meenaxi, reiterated the same sentiment saying, “those who owned land around the public borewell installed borewells on their land as it had a lot of water. These borewells are deeper than the government borewell and pull out all the water. Because of this the government borewell now has less water.” The interviews reflect that for Dalit women, access to water is connected to hierarchical power relations, which are based on their position in society. In addition to caste, class is a significant factor in accessing water as those who own land and have resources to install borewells control the water in the village. Further, the lack of initiatives to rejuvenate groundwater, increased extraction of groundwater by private parties and the meager state sponsored initiatives for water supply makes Dalit women’s ability to access water all the more onerous. Water, work and women
Domestic activities such as cooking, washing, cleaning and fetching water are often assigned to women. It is women’s responsibility to meet the water needs of the family. Water use and access is therefore directly related to women’s work and labor in the household. In the village of Maseed Mamidipally, the construction of the overhead water tank made piped water available in every house. This infrastructural development affected the way the village used, accessed, and perceived water. The research participants asserted that the overhead tank has benefitted them. Pavanamma said, “after constructing the overhead tank our work has reduced. Earlier we would draw water from the well, and our hands would hurt. Now we pay 10 [ca. $ 0.16] every month towards the maintenance of the tank.” Meenaxi said, “For the past ten years we haven’t had a lot of water problems. After the construction of the overhead tank our work has reduced.” Yadamma elaborated on the manner in which household water taps impacted her life; she said, “After the taps were put, there were changes in the way we did household work. I can keep rice on the stove and fill water in the bucket. And after that I can cook. Then I get ready and go to work.” Nonetheless, the benefits of the tap water connection in each home have been limited to the water supply. Lathamma mentioned, “After the building of the tank, labor and workload has reduced as each house has a tap connection. But whenever we do not get water from the overhead tank we have problems. If we get tap water we can complete our work fast and go to work”. Participants agreed that the overhead tank reduced their workload of fetching water. However, as the supply of water was erratic, irregular, inadequate and uncertain they now experience difficulties in meeting their water needs. Caste and water
Interviews reflected the impact that caste can have on access to water. The experiences related by the participants highlight that caste status marks a person’s access to water.
Padma shared the following, “when we go to fetch water from the [privately owned] borewell, we can take water after the upper castes have fetched water. We have to stand away from the water outlet while filling our pots. Our water pot should not touch that of the upper castes.” Pavanamma said, “All caste groups come to fetch water at the private borewell. There is caste discrimination. They [upper castes] say things like ‘why are you people touching us, why is your bucket touching our bucket?’ It is a little less now, earlier this would happen a lot. They [upper castes] remain in their limit and we remain in ours, because we do not want to hear swear words from them. Because of that, we stand a little far away from them when we go to fetch water.” The experiences of Padma and Pavanamma show us that “untouchability16” was still practiced in this village, which leads to further alienation of Dalits from access to water. Notions of purity and pollution ingrained in religion and caste-based dogma form the basis for the practice of “untouchability”. Because of this, those belonging to upper castes do not want to share common water sources with Dalits and actions such as the touching of pots or physical proximity between the non-Dalit (upper) and Dalit castes could lead to verbal violence. While non-Dalits also have to seek permission from owners of private borewells, Dalits experience caste based discrimination and marginalization. Lathamma reflected, “I never go to the upper caste area to fetch water. When we go to the private borewell to collect water, we have to move aside when the upper caste people come to collect water. First the upper castes collect water, after that we do.” Thus, it was seen that the entire village experiences shortage of water, but Dalits have to experience the added stigma and differential treatment in accessing water. Lathamma further mentioned that, “earlier there was a lot of caste discrimination, now it has reduced. But we still cannot enter the house of an upper caste person.” While caste based
16 ‘Untouchability’ is a term that is used to describe practices of discrimination experienced by Dalits, wherein upper castes perceive the presence of Dalits as polluting; Dalits are not allowed to enter temples, interact with those of upper castes or use the same water sources.
discrimination has reduced, Dalits continue to experience differential access to water.
Yadamma, in contrast, claimed that she did not experience discrimination based on caste while seeking access to water. She said, “so now, when we go to get water from borewells, people do not discriminate based on caste. But if we enter the house of an upper caste person they will differentiate.”
Meenaxi describes how awareness about castebased discrimination has developed. She said, “Caste discrimination has been lesser in the village. Earlier it was a lot, but now it is minimal. But for the last six to seven years, people have got education and question inequalities. So, nobody will practice discrimination as it may lead to conflict. If you look at any other forms of discrimination... if the upper castes say anything like ‘you are a Mala-Madiga’ our children will go and confront them.” The interviews suggested that the village still practices caste-based discrimination, though the intensity has reduced. All participants except one17 highlighted that Dalit women experience caste-based discrimination when they go to fetch water. They have to stand aside, not let their water pots touch those of the upper caste, and have to fill the water pots from a little distance. However, the intensity of castebased discrimination has reduced and there is a growing critical consciousness about standing up against caste-based abuse. Nonetheless, the experiences of these women with regards to access to water have been marked by their caste status. An incident of violence and community mobilization
Pavanamma narrated an incident of violence against her daughter when she had gone to fetch water. Here is what she had to say. 17 She does not experience discrimination since her husband works as the maintenance man of the overhead tank and receives a monthly allowance.
“When my daughter was ten years old, I asked her to get water from Golla’s field [private borewell owner]. When she went there, he [the owner] beat her with a stick. She was injured. Those who were there when this happened scolded him saying, ‘why did you beat the child? If you didn’t want to give water you shouldn’t have. But why did you beat the child?’ I then took my child and went to the ward members’ houses. I even went to Reddy [an influential person in the village]. Reddy asked the women to come together and suggested that we should go to the Mandal18 and district office and complain. After a few days all the women together went in tractors to make a complaint for water issues. Then the government sanctioned the installation of a borewell.”
the village residents to compel the government to provide the village with water, the village has been able to stand together and demand their water rights. More noteworthy is the fact that the women have played a key role in collectively demanding the development of water infrastructure in the hamlet.
This incident mobilized the community to ask the government to provide them with water. It was the mobilization around this that led to the sanctioning of a government borewell and the building of the overhead water tank.
The village studied here is solely dependent on groundwater. There is only one public (i.e. government supported) water source, which is the borewell that is connected to the overhead water tank that supplies water to individual homes. The other borewells in the village are owned by certain individual, nonDalit landholders, who generally belong to the upper castes and are financially well off. The provision of the overhead tank and household water connections has reduced the drudgery of women with respect to fetching water. However, inadequate water supply through government initiatives has meant that the women have to go to fetch water from borewells owned by private landowners.
Some of the research participants stressed the role played by political parties in the process of building the water tank. Meenaxi narrated, “There are many parties like the TDP [Telugu Desham Party] and Congress. The women of TDP went in trucks and tractors and demanded [that] the Mandal [administrative block] officials provide water. Women from the Congress Party didn’t go, but after the borewell was set up everyone has benefitted with water.” Even though water was an issue that concerned all women in the village, women were divided based on political party affiliations. Those who were associated with the Congress Party did not participate as the TDP took initiative in the collective campaign to secure water. The availability of water benefitted everyone, however, it created resentment towards those who did not participate in the campaign. Whatever the reason behind the mobilization of 18 A Mandal is a block within the district.
Discussion and Conclusion
This study highlighted that access to better water supply was one of the most crucial problems that the village faced. Dalit women experienced access to water colored by their caste, class and gender realities. While Dalit women viewed a lack of government initiatives to provide a water supply as the main reason for their lack of access to water, as opposed to caste discrimination, they do understand their own gendered realities and recognize caste as a barrier in gaining access to water.
The research findings indicate that the responsibility of fetching water often lies with women, though other members of the family may also fetch water. The role of fetching water is age specific and older women tend to not go to fetch water. Household gender based division of labor establishes that women perform tasks which require the use of water, and the participants have articulated that water supply related problems are women’s problems. The findings also indicate that while collecting water
Dalit women experience verbal abuse and at times physical abuse and have to deal with the uncertainty of being denied water at any point. Caste-based discriminations make the task of fetching water tougher for Dalit women, as they have to ensure that they do not get in the way of upper caste people while fetching water. Access to water for Dalit women is therefore marked by existing hierarchical power relations. Caste-based discrimination manifests itself through modes that promote unequal access to water. The differential access to water for Dalits is linked to their lack of social and material privilege, which does not allow them to own land, or own private borewells, increasing their dependence on private borewells, which are often owned by upper caste individuals. The participants draw linkages between their caste and the way in which they have to behave while fetching water. While caste-based discrimination related to water has reduced, Dalit women still continue to access water by standing away from the source of water, ensuring that their water pots do not touch those of the upper caste persons, etc. While Dalit men and women fetch water from the same source as non-Dalits, they are being treated differently.
and this study aims to contribute to the ongoing conversation. Janice Lazarus holds an M.A. in Social Work and an M.Phil. in Womenâ€™s Studies. Currently she works towards the monitoring and evaluation of development projects. Her area of interest lies in issues surrounding gender and development in India. She can be reached at: email@example.com
There is an acute water problem in the village and this had a direct effect on women. Discrimination, sometimes resulting in experiences of verbal abuse and violence has left Dalit women vulnerable. Dalit womenâ€™s access to water is located at a juncture of caste, class and gender realities rooted in hierarchical power relations.
There is a shared understanding among the participants that the only way to better their situation is to appeal to government resources and power. Participants hope to end caste-based discrimination related to water with better government initiatives that provide a consistent household water supply so they do not have to depend on privately owned borewells. The inability of the state to ensure justice to Dalits by providing such adequate public water sources increases the vulnerability of women, as women often perform water related tasks. Nonetheless, there is a growing awareness about Dalit rights,
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A Thirsty Third World: How Land Grabs Are Leaving Ethiopia in the Dust Emily Ingebretsen The following
Ethiopia is sometimes referred to as the “water tower” of East Africa because it is home to the headwaters of 14 major rivers (BBC, 2004). However, unpredictable rainfall and a lack of reserves have resulted in the country’s heavy dependence on food aid and occurrence of chronic famine (Woodhouse and Ganho, 2011). Ethiopia faces severe issues with access to water, due to a lack of infrastructure and irrigation. Proper access to water affects health, education, food security, personal security, productivity, and empowerment. This makes water management policy especially vital, particularly in times of scarcity. Over 40 million Ethiopians, roughly half of the total population of 82 million, live without access to safe water (charity: water, 2009). Although there is a huge untapped physical supply of water available for irrigation for crops, only 300,000 hectares are currently being irrigated (HDR, 2006). The current lack of adequate provisions for water makes it difficult to impose meaningful development. In terms of economic development alone, a 2006 UN Human Development Report stated that for Ethiopia, a single drought event in any given twelve-year period lowered the GDP by 7-10% and increased poverty by 12-14% (HDR, 2006). Ethiopia has experienced two droughts in the last 10 years (Bhalla, 2000; Gettleman, 2011) and has faced, 15 droughts since 1965 (Horne, 2011). Policies and technologies exist that could “double yields over the next 10–15 years,” making any famine a matter of negligence rather than natural disaster (HDR, 2006). However, the government of Ethiopia continues to pursue policies that promote foreign investment in land, despite historical evidence that such
investments have proven to be detrimental to water security and sanitation. It is suspected that runoff from commercial farms that use pesticides will lead to the contamination and reduction of available water supplies (Horne, 2011). “Dams, hydroelectric facilities, irrigation schemes, uncontrolled commercial land investment (and associated deforestation and wetland alteration), local uses, and a changing climate are just some of the pressures on water resources in the Western part of the country” (Oakland Institute, 2011(a)). The Oakland Institute’s field research on a site owned by Karuturi Global1 in the Gambella region, has discovered that some key wetland areas are being at least partially drained for agricultural use (Horne, 2011). Global Context of Land Deals
Land deals and their impact on water are the subject of much debate, research, and scrutiny. Several factors are thought to have contributed to the worldwide surge in land investment over the past seven years. For instance, global food prices in 2008 were especially high, which hurt countries that rely on a large amount of imported food. During this time, many of these same countries imposed export bans on key food crops. In 2007 and early 2008, oil prices rose, making all imports and exports more expensive, and prompting governments to call for alternative fuel sources to alleviate their countries’ reliance on oil and gas (Smaller and Mann, 2009). European countries imposed agrofuel deadlines, which are now fast approaching. The profitability of growing crops that produce agrofuels has increased investors’ demand for land2. Countries and investors saw 1 An Indian floriculture company 2 However, recently the EU has voted to limit the amount of
agrofuels as an opportunity to prevent food price instability and insecurity. Finally, the financial crisis of 2008 sent investors looking for new markets outside of the banking and housing sector. Agricultural land markets made attractive investments because demand for food and agrofuels is expected to grow (Smaller and Mann, 2009).
Because of the connection between land deals and agricultural issues, many scholars posit that water is actually the underlying motivation of land grabs (Woodhouse and Ganho, 2011; Kay and Franco, 2012; Skinner and Cotula, 2011; PBS, 2012; Oakland Institute (b), 2011; Provost, 2012). The lack of regulation on water and poor overall environmental regulation and enforcement are thought to attract investors (World Bank, 2011; Fisher, 2011; Kay and Franco, 2011). In fact, some agricultural investors explicitly state that they are investing in water supplies (Oakland Institute, 2011 (b)). Yet, as many studies point out, there are no safeguards for local populations to ensure the safety of their water sources, food security, or right to land. These agriculture investments are usually connected with a large increase in water use, making safeguards for this resource all the more necessary (Fisher, 2011; Meyers, 2012). Ethiopia’s policy of unrestricted access to water has been a key factor for attracting land investors and has resulted in investors’ “cavalier attitudes” towards water management, with a demonstrable lack of interest in conservation practices (Kay and Franco, 2011). Dual Issues: Land and Water
In addition to the negative impact on water supply and quality, land grabs hurt indigenous populations, which have no legal protection of their ancestral land rights. Critics of land investment argue that such practice will impact future development by relocating and displacing indigenous populations (often to less fertile land), increasing food and water insecurity, and directly endangering Ethiopia’s natural resources (Human Rights Watch, 2014 (a)).
agrofuels used for the 2020 renewable energy targets (European Commission, 2015).
This introduces a transactional system that commodifies land in a country where residents with the most desirable land lack formal land rights, such as the right to sell or lease their property; and does not seek to quantify the monetary value of water usage. This creates a “Tragedy of the Commons” scenario, wherein an unregulated use of water is in investors’ best interest: there is no limit or regulation on the resource. It is also important to note that the dominant agrofuels grown by investors in Ethiopia - sugarcane, maize, and jatropha3 - are all especially “thirsty plants” (Oakland Institute, 2011 (b), IBTimes, 2013). Major Players
Rather than finding solutions to the lack of the water in their own countries, investors are coming to Ethiopia because land leasing is cheap, at around $1 per hectare per year, making it an attractive alternative. The main investors in Ethiopian farmland come from Saudi Arabia and India; countries that are experiencing, or expect to experience, water shortages. India is quickly depleting its underground water supply, and Saudi Arabia, once a net exporter of wheat, has stated its intention to taper off domestic wheat production by 2016 due to the depletion of their fresh water reserves (Fisher, 2011; Kay and Franco, 2012). Saudi Arabia is “securing the equivalent of hundreds of millions of gallons of scarce water a year” by investing in Africa (Fisher, 2011). The main Indian investors and agricultural companies include Karuturi Global, Saudi Star, Ruchi Soya, BHO Agro, Sonnati Agro Farm Enterprise, and the Confederation of Potato Seed Farmers (Makki and Geisler, 2011). Saudi Star was registered as one of the biggest commercial farms in Ethiopia even before it went on to buy an additional 4,000 ha from the government. Mohammed Ali Al Amoudi (the Saudi/Ethiopian owner of Saudi Star) also owns Horizon, Ethio Agri-CEFT Plc, each of which has also acquired farms in Ethiopia and land from Ethiopia’s Privatization & Public Enterprises Supervising
3 Jatropha is a hardy crop valued for its use as a biofuel, as well as for basket weaving, soap, and candles. Jatropha can also be used as fish or animal feed, but must be detoxified first.
over 200 investors in the region (Makki and Geisler, 2011). Over the past ten years Gambella has gone from zero land investments to nearly 900 investors in the region (Vidal, 2011). More than 40% of Gambella’s land has been leased, or has been indicated as available for leasing. Much larger regions that are also fertile, such as the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region or SNNPR (one of the 9 ethnic divisions of Ethiopia), encompass over 11 million hectares of land. However, only 2% of this total landmass, or 180,625 hectares, has been made available to the Federal Land Bank.
Map Source Data: Anyuak Media. 2008 Agency (PPESA) (Tadesse, 2014). Karuturi Global envisioned an agri-eco zone with sugar factories, oil processing plants, and rice mills in Ethiopia, and signed a 50-year lease for 300,000 ha for $245 per week (Bose and Mehra, 2012). Areas and Peoples Affected
Ethiopia has a poor track record with human rights organizations (Horne, 2011; Human Rights Watch, 2014 (b)). The Gambella region, in the southwestern part of the country bordering South Sudan, is particularly fraught with controversy and horrific human rights abuses against tribes such as the Anuak. This is believed to be due, in part, to the strategic location of the Anuak’s traditional lands (Human Rights Watch, 2012). The Gambella region encompasses several rivers and is rich with water resources. A comparison of land deals to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) data of suitable land for agriculture shows this to be true (Cotula, 2009). As such, the Gambella region is at the center of land leasing debates. All of the major investing companies in Ethiopia, excluding Sonnati, have land in “water rich” Gambella, amounting to
Surprisingly, in Ethiopia’s investment promotion agency, all land that is listed as available has been formally classified as “wasteland” with “no pre-existing users” (Cotula, 2009). However, there is ample evidence that at least some of the land allocated to investors was previously, or is currently, used for shifting cultivation and grazing4 by indigenous populations. In Gambella, there are numerous confirmed small settlements of Anuak and Nuer indigenous populations, ranging from a few scattered households to villages of up to 1,000 people (Horne, 2011). Their land is labeled ‘available,’ ‘idle,’ or ‘wasteland’ in order to justify allocations to investors (Cotula, 2009). This is alarming because Gambella is physically the smallest region, with the largest portion of land offered for investment.
There is also a history of violence against citizens in the Gambella region. A 2005 Human Rights Watch report highlights attacks that occurred on December 13, 2003 when military and highlander militia groups killed 424 Anuaks in Gambellatown, Abodotown, and surrounding areas over the course of several days (HRW, 2005). “Many more were imprisoned, tortured, 4 Shifting cultivation and grazing is an agricultural system in which plots of land are cultivated or used to graze animal herds for a time, then abandoned and allowed to go fallow while the farmer moves on to another plot. The farmer returns after the land has had an appropriate time to regenerate nutrients.
beaten, and 8,000 to 10,000 fled the area to neighboring Sudan” (Horne, 2011). This massacre was in response to an attack by the Anuak on a government vehicle. The military continued this campaign of violence throughout 2004 against Anuak communities, which “amounted to crimes against humanity” (HRW, 2012). In January 2004, international NGO Genocide Watch placed the Anuak’s massacre on its emergency list of ongoing genocides in the world. Dr. Gregory Stanton, president of Genocide Watch, has said “the situation reminds me of Rwanda in 1993, when all the early warning signs were evident but no one paid attention” (McGill, 2004). This massacre was not an isolated incident, but part of an ongoing trend of violence against the Anuak, including an attack by the government in 2012 that resulted in the deaths of both civilians and police officers. In 2005, UNICEF conducted a survey of women and children in Gambella. The report found that women and children specifically experience extreme vulnerability in terms of access to potable water, firewood, transportation to markets, livable wages, education and medical care due to a lack of security (UNICEF, 2005). Furthermore, the report found that these issues of protection and security stemmed from the heavy Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) presence and their actions to “target the civilian population often- but not always- in collaboration with Regional authorities, as well as the targeting of civilians by paramilitary rebel groups” (UNICEF, 2005). The UNICEF concluded by adding:
“Failing urgent action in Gambella region, UNICEF fears a further downward spiraling of violence and suffering heaped on the shoulders of the women and children of Gambella. The deracination of indigenous people that is evident in rural areas of Gambella is extreme. It is very likely that Anuak (and possibly other indigenous minorities) culture will completely disappear in the not-so-distant future. Cultural survival, autonomy, rights of self-determination and self-governance are all legitimate issues
for these indigenous groups, and these are all enshrined by international covenants and United Nations bodies—but all are meaningless in Gambella today” (UNICEF, 2006). In the last few years, the federal government of Ethiopia has also begun to employ a method of relocation, known as villagization or “commune program,” in the country, with 43 new sites in Gambella alone. The claim is that those relocated will have better access to improved livelihood “within the framework of national Growth and Development Plan” with goals of providing “efficient and effective economic and social services such as (safe drinking water, optimum Health care, Education, improved agronomy practices, market access, etc.), an access to infrastructure (road, power, telecommunication, etc.) and citizens’ full engagement in good governance and democratic exercise” (HRW, 2012). The notoriously unsteady relationship between indigenous populations and the government, coupled with current abuses being reported by major human rights organizations, make this program a cause for concern. Villagization
The Ethiopian federal government stated plans to move 1.5 million people from rural areas to areas of denser population from 2011 to 2013 under the villagization program (HRW, 2012; Johnson, 2012). The idea behind this plan is that more densely populated areas will be able to sustain and provide enhanced service delivery. While the government claims there is no relationship between land investment and villagization, these forced relocations occur in the same areas as commercial land investments (Horne, 2011). Additionally, most individuals being moved are not experiencing a higher quality of life, and are often suffering as a result. Felix Horne, an Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, notes, “There is a definite correlation between the areas undergoing relocation and the areas that are marketed as available for large-scale commercial agriculture” (Horne, 2011).
Land grants that have been offered to the Tigray (an ethnic group inhabiting the southern and central parts of Eritrea and the northern highlands of Ethiopia’s Tigray Region) and other urban elites who offer support for the government reinforces this viewpoint. In addition, some members of the government reportedly invest in some of the companies that engage in land grabs. It is possible that the government is promoting investment in these locations in the hope that it will further marginalize and disempower indigenous people. The Anuak and Nuer people are seen as non-natives of Ethiopia having settled there approximately 200-300 years ago. This policy of villagization allows the government to have increased control in the area while weakening the infrastructure and support system of the Anuak and Nuer (Horne, 2011).
Human Rights Watch furthers the notion that “unused” is a pretext for displacement by highlighting the villagization program, and specifically the human rights abuses, in Gambella. Tens of thousands of people in the Gambella region have already been displaced (HRW, 2012). Although the Ethiopian government denies any connection between land investment and villagization, many who have been displaced under villagization told Human Rights Watch that government officials claimed this was the underlying reason for their displacement.
“Residents of six communities told Human Rights Watch that government officials informed them that the underlying reason for villagization is to provide land to investors. One farmer said that during the government’s initial meeting with his village, woreda officials told them: ‘We will invite investors who will grow cash crops. You do not use the land well. It is lying idle’” (Human Rights Watch, 2012). Government Involvement and Policies
An in-house investment presentation by Karuturi Global revealed that, “in order to maintain growth and [reduce] urban poverty, it [the Ethiopian government] has allowed many
Global Private Sector enterprises to operate in Ethiopia with a very minor stake in the company” (Karuturi Presentation, 2012). Although evidence is not currently available on whether or not the government has asked to have a minor stake in each company, it may help explain why Ethiopia is offering their land for such low rents. If the Ethiopian government retains a share in each investment, land deals are more attractive despite the small revenue from land rents (further reduced by tax incentives at every level) and meager job creation for Ethiopian citizens. More research and analysis is essential in order to understand the underlying motivations for these land deals and to better comprehend the path of Ethiopia’s development. Where We Stand Now
In the decade from 1999 to 2009, the Ethiopian government leased 3.5 million hectares of agricultural land to investors. From 2009 to 2015, the Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP) states intentions to transfer 3.3 million more hectares of land to investors for mechanized commercial farms (Tadesse, 2014).
The Oakland Institute points to the risks of encouraging land investment: there are no incentives to guarantee food production that will meet local needs, no research into whether or not investors are experienced in agriculture, no data on the feasibility of the promise of these agricultural plans, and no assurance of job creation for local people (Horne, 2011). However, the greatest concern is for the immediate impacts on life for Ethiopians from land grabs, villagization, and water projects including the impact on women, the next generation, and the environment. The Impact on Women
The lack of potable water particularly affects women and girls, robbing them of their health, time, and dignity (Lenton, Wright, Lewis, 2005). It is apparent that women spend much of their time (or at least a significantly larger portion of their time as compared to men) doing unpaid labor, such as fetching water or fuel (HDR, 2006).
This work has “significant gender differentials” in terms of women’s independence and empowerment (Chakraborty, 2008). “Access to water near the home can save significant amounts of time for women and girls- time that can be spent on productive activities and education, which lay the groundwork for economic growth” and reduce women’s “time poverty5” (Lenton, Wright, Lewis 2005). Families sacrifice potential earned income when they have high levels of time poverty. Women, especially, tend to engage in unpaid labor to save the family money. This type of behavior is intricately linked to income poverty and perpetuates the cycle of poverty, thus “time poverty affects income poverty” with a particular gender slant (HDR, 2006, 12).
Keeping these facts in mind, it become apparent that if water is even less available due land grabs, the burden on women to find and gather water for their households will be significantly increased. In 2000, a study found that “worsening water-gathering infrastructure caused an increase in the total work burden of women” (Chakraborty, 2008). It has been proven that proper public investment to achieve water access can address inequalities of household division of labor (Chakraborty, 2008). Water collecting goes beyond a loss of time. The ugly truth of women’s daily treks to gather water is the frequently documented, and altogether too common, instances of sexual assault. The increased walking time for Ethiopian women relocated through villagization has exacerbated the existing vulnerable state of women, with incidences of sexual assault already reported (HRW, 2012, 38). The Next Generation
Young children are especially impacted by the scarcity and quality of water from the time of their primary education onward. Many children in Ethiopia spend their days walking long distances to collect water or at home doing household chores that their parents are not able 5 Time poverty refers to the excessive time devoted to tasks that could be easily completed by infrastructure.
to do perform because of their own time poverty.
For young girls, many are forced to drop out of school once they reach their reproductive years because there are no toilets at their schools to address their needs. “Many parents simply will not allow their daughters to attend schools that do not have separate sanitation facilities for boys and girls after menarche—and few schools in poor areas do” (Lenton, Wright, Lewis, 2005). Compounding the difficulties, disease from waterborne illness regularly causes children to be absent from school. Water-related diseases such as diarrhea and parasitic infections cost 443 million school days each year in Ethiopia alone, and impact the ability of those affected children to learn (HDR, 2006, 45). Even if those sick children are able to come to school, they are less likely to perform well as issues with memory, attention span, and basic problem solving skills have been reported (Lenton, Wright, Lewis 2005, 37). The Environmental Impact
Large-scale agribusinesses often yield disastrous environmental repercussions that stem from mono-cropping, improper disposal of chemicals and fertilizers, and overuse of water supplies. Governments are also often willing to allow or aid in creating megadams, canals, and irrigation systems that displace local residents. Ethiopia is no exception to such practice. The megdam projects known as the Gibes I, II and III, hydrologic dams along the Omo River, are prime examples. These policies not only disrupt citizens’ access to water for agriculture or personal use, they severely disturb the surrounding environment. Additionally, it is suspected that the absence of regulations and lack of general land grab monitoring will cause permanent damage to water sources from extensive withdrawals and potential pollution from fertilizers and pesticides (Oakland Institute, 2011 (b)). This becomes an even more pressing issue in the face of climate change. Changes in weather patterns, water distribution, and rainfall will threaten poor populations unable to protect themselves
from flooding, erosion, water shortages, and deforestation (Lenton, Wright, Lewis, 2005). Conclusions
It has been suggested by organizations such as the World Bank that there are circumstances under which land investments can be responsible, or even beneficial. These seven ‘Principles for Responsible AgroInvestment’- respecting land and resource rights, ensuring food security, ensuring transparency, consultation and participation, responsible agro-investment, social sustainability, and environmental sustainabilityare ideal, yet not reflective of the current investment dynamic in Ethiopia (Deininger and Byerlee, 2011).
The most imperative principle- getting community buy in through consultation and participation- is not being met at this current state. Even if local people were more directly involved, the issue of environmental and social justice during land negotiations between investors and indigenous people still remains. There is an inherent power imbalance between indigenous populations and large-scale land investors, due to differences between investors’ and locals’ knowledge of the land’s value, Ethiopia’s lack of individual property rights, and each side’s understanding of the impacts of land investments. Ethiopia’s land acquisition process could seek to incorporate clan leaders or local elders in an attempt to be more representative of indigenous populations’ wishes, but how representative and accountable such leaders would be of the populations they represent could not be guaranteed (Cotula, 2009). Putting power in concentrated leadership could also create the possibility for corruption and bribes. In communities around the globe, participation in land rights negotiations does not always guarantee of the most equitable outcome. Residents’ wishes can still be ignored or deemed less important than the wishes of the state. As Ethiopia’s current policy stands, it is apparent that the Ethiopian government does not take into account the wishes of the local
inhabitants. With the present conditions, it is hard to imagine that land investment will ever be able to be a fair deal for indigenous communities like those in Gambella. Until these populations can be guaranteed equal rights and protection under the law, land grabs cannot possibly result in sustainable development for Ethiopia or its people. Groups like the Human Rights Watch, Oakland Institute, UNHCR, ActionAid, and UNICEF continue to do good work in monitoring and calling attention to the situation in Ethiopia. In 2014, the US government drafted the Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which contained provisions that ensure that US development funds would not be used to support forced evictions in Ethiopia. “With this bill, USAID, the State Department, as well as the World Bank, will have to reconsider the terms and modalities of the support they provide to the Ethiopian government” (Mittal, 2014). Steps like these are just the beginning in a long effort to prevent illegal and harmful land transactions.
Emily Ingebretsen received her MA in International Affairs from the New School in 2012, where she concentrated primarily on global economic development and human rights. Since graduation, she has focused on pursuing collaborative development in water access, women’s and indigenous empowerment, and sanitation. Originally from Jackson, MS, Emily now lives in New York and works for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc, an organization dedicated to litigating and advocating for civil rights in the United States. A copy of Emily’s full thesis can be found on our website.
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