Global Sanitation Environmental Project subscribers to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 1995, which supports the development of women’s equal access to sanitation and sound Environment through participatory needs assessment and policy formulation at the local and international levels and ensure that clean water and sanitation is available and accessible to all and that environmental protection and conservation plans are designed and implemented to restore polluted water systems and build damaged watersheds.
The platform for action ensures universal access for both women and men throughout their lifecycle to social services related to health care, including education, clean water and safe sanitation.
Since women play a central role the provision, management and safeguarding of water resources, their pivotal function as providers and users of water and also as guardians of the environmental need to be reflected in institutional arrangements for development and management of water resources.
i) Women Involvement in Water and Sanitation Projects Include:
- An increasing representation in management committees
- Recognition of their value addition to projects, and rewarding them appropriately.
- Offering them training in basic skills and project management.
- Training curriculum should have gender responsive elements with inbuilt gender aspects
- Organizational culture must be gender friendly.
ii) Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion
Promoting improved sanitation and hygiene behaviors require special skills in participatory approaches that build on women’s and men’s own perceptions of benefits. Historically, sanitation institutions have been weak and subordinate to the more prestigious drinking water sub-sector. Sanitation programmes offer a natural entry point for gender approaches.
A focus area is school hygiene education. Providing adequate, safe and private latrines for girls and boys would produce multiple benefits in terms of child health, girls’ education, household hygiene and social development. Schools provide an excellent opportunity to create life long changes in behaviour and good sanitation practices.