One of the longer-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a devastating reversed progress on women’s rights and opportunities[1].

Being able to access clean water and sanitation is transformative for women and girls, who very often have the primary responsibility for collecting water and look after households, especially in times of sickness.

Under closer scrutiny however there are many further opportunities to improve the design and delivery of water and sanitation projects to maximise benefits for women and girls. Accessibility in the right places, with the right facilities to specifically support women’s health - maternal, menstrual, menopausal and mental health - and protecting safety against violence and harassment in the design of infrastructure are all vital considerations.  Women and girls need to be included at every stage, meaningfully participate in decision-making, be able to voice their opinions and feel listened to. 

At Just a Drop, we explicitly consider the specific needs of women and girls throughout our projects and identify where there are more opportunities to promote gender equality, for example through supporting income generating loan schemes as part of our work in Uganda. In March 2022 we met Keletetia Akol, who started a restaurant initially selling cassava chips. Keletetia tells us that:

initially she thought only educated people could do business and her family used to be very hungry and she was angry with her husband as it was hard to find money. She and her children stayed at home but after the trainings she realised the value of the children going to school.

She got 200,000 Ugsh to start a restaurant selling cassava chips. She has now repaid the loan and the interest which she only got in December and has taken out another loan. She can now afford boarding school for her children and she and her husband are no longer quarrelling. She is so proud of her achievements and rightly so’.

[1] UNWOMEN (2021). Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The Gender Snapshot 2021


Article by Just a Drop Project Officer, Nancy Stone 

Interested in finding out more about how water and climate change impacts gender equality? Check out one of our articles below: 

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