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Women want to be involved in the planning and implementation of water and sanitation sector projects

Tuesday, 10 March 2020
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20th AfWA International Congress and Exhibition: Women want to be involved in the planning and implementation of water and sanitation sector projects

Under the theme: "Committed Women Innovating for Access to Water and Sanitation", the Third Forum of Women Professionals in the Water and Sanitation Sector was held on Sunday 23 February 2020 at the Kampala Serena International Conference Center in Kampala, Uganda. This forum represents an opportunity for the hundred or so women from all the member countries of the African Water Association (AfWA) to come together to reflect on this issue, which has a major impact on women.

Several speakers, including the President of the Ugandan National Assembly, Mrs. Rebecca KADAGA who opened the proceedings in the presence of the President of the African Water Association, and Mr. Abderrahim El HAFIDI, pointed out that women must take the full measure of their responsibilities on issues related to water, sanitation, and hygiene.

"This meeting provided a platform for the exchange of experiences that will help increase the effectiveness of women's actions to accelerate access to water and sanitation. So far, women represent the largest direct users of water and sanitation (WASH) services in the domestic consumer market segment of water and sanitation services. However, the very design of these services is technically and commercially conceived and delivered primarily by men, and does not integrate the needs and perspectives of the majority female users, as articulated by them. Thus, for sustainable efficiency, this situation should be balanced to optimize access to water and sanitation services by providing more adequate responses to the needs of female water and sanitation consumers. Furthermore, women must contribute to increase the diversity of the sector's economic fabric through their presence and active role in companies", said Ms. Fatoumata DIAW, Director of Member Services of the AfWA.

A high-level panel moderated by Mrs. Géléga Prudence TANGHAM (Magistrate, responsible at the Ministry of Environment of Cameroon), Dr. Rose Kaggwa (Scientific Director of Water, Hygiene and Sanitation at National Water and Sewage Corporation), Engineer Eleanor Allen (Executive Director of Water for people) and Dr. Fatimatou SALL (Environmentalist), allowed to establish a diagnosis. The observation is that women leaders must take more stock of the role they have to play in order to federate all the efforts for achieving significant increase of access to water and sanitation for all.

At the end of the group work, proposals and suggestions were made to improve and increase access to water and sanitation, including proposals for major innovations in the implementation of policies related to water and sanitation issues. Women took advantage of this forum to call to action political leaders on the importance of protecting women's dignity in water and sanitation issues and, above all, on the relevant need to involve women in the planning and implementation of projects in this sector. Created on 20 February 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya, the network of women professionals in the water and sanitation sector currently enjoys 15 chapters with more than 500 members.