Investing in gender equality and women’s empowerment can unlock human potential on a transformational scale, improving our ability to tackle global water and sanitation challenges. USAID seeks to ensure that women are empowered to effectively advocate for their perspectives and priorities, and that they are able to fully engage as managers, partners, and entrepreneurs in water-related activities and enterprises. This collection page features a variety of technical, multimedia, and learning resources illustrating the many ways gender equality elevates entire communities.
In the last decades, the awareness on the reasons why gender should be particularly mainstreamed in the water realm rapidly grew. Investing in gender mainstreaming in water programs is fundamental and now well justified, because it represents a step forward towards the realization of the SDGs and of the 2030 agenda. This is particularly true and even more challenging in the case of transboundary water bodies, which require cooperation and collaboration among the various authorities in charge of waters across the national borders, based on mutual trust and on transparency.
Clean water and safe sanitation are key stepping stones on the journey to self-reliance. Throughout the year and around the globe, USAID partners with households, civic leaders, businesses, and governments to improve water and sanitation access for entire communities — laying the foundation for a healthier and more water-secure future. On March 22, travel around the world in celebration of World Water Day in this photo essay and see how USAID harnesses the transformative power of clean water to change lives, revitalize neighborhoods, and make sure no one is left behind.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) partnership with the Government of Jordan transformed the nation’s water infrastructure, creating new opportunities for growth and stability in one of the most water-poor countries in the world. The $275.1 million investment helped improve water delivery to a region known as the Zarqa Governorate. Located east of the capital city of Amman, Zarqa is home to more than 1 million people.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC’s) Zambia Compact provided $355 million to improve the water supply, sanitation, and drainage infrastructure in the capital city of Lusaka. It also supported the government’s ongoing water sector reform efforts by strengthening partner institutions and facilitating potential private sector investment opportunities. Approximately 1.2 million Zambians are expected to benefit from these investments over the next 20 years.
Globally, women and young girls are disproportionately affected by lack of access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Comprehensive and inclusive WASH programming has the potential to contribute to gender equality, improve women’s social and economic development, and promote the health and well-being of all community members through improved nutrition outcomes.
Sylvia Cabus, the Senior Gender Advisor for USAID’s Office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, recently chatted with Global Waters Radio about the connection between gender and water.
New research demonstrates that improving a woman’s access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) provides a multitude of indirect and positive impacts that often are overlooked in traditional development interventions. Benefits of this water access “ripple effect” go beyond the time savings and health outcomes that are well known across the sector. Referred to as “pathways to empowerment,” these now-quantifiable impacts cover a range of outcomes, including a more than 50 percent increase in female community leadership positions and shifts in gender norms within the community.
Sylvia Cabus serves as Senior Gender Advisor for USAID’s Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. In this podcast, Sylvia speaks with Global Waters Radio about some of the many ways the Agency integrates gender into its water, sanitation, and hygiene programming.