Most, if not all, household responsibilities related to water—including collecting, cleaning, washing and cooking—fall completely on the shoulders of women and girls.
As primary carers for children and sick family members, women are in the best position to directly impact household health and wellbeing, and pregnant women can have immediate double impact by safeguarding their own health and that of their unborn babies. They are not only the guardians of household and community health, they also stand to benefit most when access to safe water and sanitation services is improved.
While women often have the primary responsibility for the management of household water supply, they are rarely involved in decision making around this vital resource. A World Bank evaluation of 122 water projects found that the effectiveness of a project was 6-7 times higher when women were involved.
Empowering women with improved access to water and sanitation, and the knowledge and tools for better hygiene is vital and saves both lives and livelihoods. Across the areas where we work, women play a significant role in water point decision-making, and are fully integrated as leaders of their communities’ Water Point Committees.
Investing in women to improve hygiene and sanitation practices has been shown to have a direct positive impact on improved social and economic outcomes for entire communities. Women have shared with us how their lives and those of their children have changed as a result of their communities’ partnerships with Pump Aid: more children in school; less illness; increased empowerment and decision-making; and more time to devote to income-generation activities including bread making and selling surplus produce at market, which benefit entire households.
That’s why Pump Aid has prioritised the integration of women’s participation at every stage of its engagement in communities, from pump site identification to pump governance, as well as hygiene and sanitation leadership.
A World Bank evaluation of 122 water projects found that the effectiveness of a project was 6-7 times higher when women were involved.