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Local women included in Kenyan water project management

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The Siaya County water and sanitation project is a success in many ways. It provides around 109,000 people access to clean and safe water. This is 11% of the Siayan population. Another 68,000 people benefit from access to sanitation and hygiene products. But the project does more than that; it includes women in water management.

Including women

Native Kenyan Ronald Mose is the programme manager at Dorcas Aid International Kenya. He represents the organisations in the project. Mr Mose explains, “In the African context, it is usually the woman's responsibility to get water for the household. But when you look at water schemes in rural areas, they are almost 100% managed and led by men. So our question was: who has the higher stake in this? The women, of course. They should be included in management.”

The Siaya County Water and Sanitation project also uses supervisory boards with representatives from the community. These boards supervise the water schemes at the community level and recognise issues quickly. The partners in this project saw that these supervisory boards created opportunities for women. Because of their important community role, the project aims to give leadership roles to women. Mr Mose says, “We wanted to bring women on board and give them positions in leadership and decision-making. Not just at home but in the wider society. Now, many women are joining the water scheme supervisory boards.” Along with roles in the supervisory boards, women also work at the water-buying sites and in the stores that sell sanitation and hygiene products.

Including people from all communities

Women are not the only group receiving support as part of this project. Mr Mose continues, “As much as water is a basic human right, it has a price. In some communities, people do not have access to water. About 2% of the people we reach can be classified as vulnerable due to poverty. Now, these people can receive 60 litres of free water per household per day. I am happy. We believe in leaving no one behind.”

The importance of working together

The project provides Kenyan communities with clean water and sanitation. To do this, Dorcas Aid International works with 2 public organisations and 1 private organisation. They create hygiene awareness, boost local businesses, promote women leadership, and ensure social inclusion for vulnerable community members. A subsidy from the Sustainable Water Fund (FDW) supports the project. FDW is a funding programme for public-private partnerships that support clean and safe water in developing countries.

More about the Sustainable Water Fund

The Sustainable Water Fund programme (FDW) is a Public-Private Partnership facility that aims to contribute to water safety and water security in developing countries. This is one of 42 projects in 24 countries. The Siaya County Water and Sanitation Project covers 3 themes:

  • drinking water and sanitation, including waste management,
  • water efficiency in agriculture, and
  • integrated water resources management.
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency carries out FDW programmes that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs funds.

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