wH2O: The Journal of Gender and Water: Volume 2, Issue 1

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  • Publication
    Beyond Distance and Time: Gender and the Burden of Water Collection in Rural Uganda
    (2017-10-10) Asaba, Richard B; Fagan, G. Honor; Kabonesa, Consolata; Mugumya, Firminus
    This paper explores the gender differences in water collection in Makondo Parish in Uganda as a case study. Our analysis is based on data collected from a cross-sectional survey, in-depth interviews, focus groups, and participant observation in the study area. This data confirms that children and women are most burdened by water collection. Unless it is for commercial or work-related reasons or when there is a long drought, men rarely fetch water. Our study further reveals that children and women walk distances of less than half a kilometre to more than two kilometres on rugged and hilly roads and paths, carrying water on their heads or by hand. They spend a lot of time queuing at "improved" water sources, and suffer from health complications such as prolonged fatigue, chest pain and headache as a result of carrying water. Children and women are also distressed by the dangers of verbal and physical assault and rape at both "improved" and "unimproved" water points. We contend that whereas time and distance remain important determinants of the burden of water collection, socio-cultural, environmental and health-related conditions are equally critical in understanding the troubles that children and women face while collecting water in rural developing communities.
  • Publication
    Transforming Women's Water Burdens into Opportunities
    (2017-10-10) Bulos, Gemma
    In rural Uganda, dawn approaches as and a mother and daughter gather their empty jericans (3- to 5- gallon water containers), dirty pots and soiled clothing and begin their daily chores. A local vendor sells clean water, but at 25 cents per jerican it's too costly to buy the amount they need: the family makes less than $1 a day. So they go in search of another source, a task which can sometimes take all day. The water weighs nearly 8 pounds per gallon, and they are unable to carry enough water home to accomplish their chores so they carry out their activities at the single water source. The women spend hours washing and drying the clothes, pots and dishes, and bathing themselves, the children and sometimes even the animals, and then they begin the long journey home on foot. This time, in addition to the clean laundry and pots, they are carrying 5 gallons of water -- nearly 44 pounds and often contaminated (WHO 2008). Five gallons of water may be enough to cook and provide drinking water for their family for maybe a few days. With jericans atop their heads, shoulders and backs, they strain to keep the delicate balance, careful not to lose a single drop on the rough road home.
  • Publication
    Gender Mainstreaming: Who Wins? Gender & Irrigated Urban Vegetable Production in West Africa
    (2017-10-10) Drechsel, P.; Hope, L.; Cofie, O.
    Gender roles in agriculture can be quite specific, not only in view of particular labor inputs during the production cycle but also in terms of who farms and who trades certain crops. Using data collected over ten years in West Africa, this study looked at market-oriented urban vegetable production in West Africa and Ghana in particular. Gender disaggregated data on key issues such as access and control of resources, division of tasks, decision-making process and challenges faced was collected from farmers and traders. With several exceptions, a clear gender distinction emerged across the sub-region: men dominate urban vegetable farming, while women manage vegetable marketing. The general differentiation is attributed to societal norms, but other factors play a role as well. Female farmers, for example, feel constrained by existing irrigation practices that are energy-intensive and conflict with household duties. Male farmers, on the other hand, feel significantly oppressed by their dependency on credit and prices dictated by market women, and feel disadvantaged when entering the vegetable retail market. Improved irrigation technology could facilitate a better gender balance on the farm, but mainstreaming gender balance in vegetable wholesale and retail is likely to disadvantage women.
  • Publication
    Gender, Disaster, and Resilience: Assessing Women's Water and Sanitation Needs in Leogane, Haiti, before and after the 201 O Earthquake
    (2017-10-10) Sheller, Mimi; Galada, Heather C; Montalto, Franco A.; Gurian, Patrick L.; Piasecki, Michael; Ayalew, Tibebu B.; O'Connor, Stephen
    This study investigates differences in men's and women's access to water and sanitation in Leogane, Haiti (population -300,000), a town situated at the epicenter of the January 2010 earthquake. While research suggests that women's water and sanitation access is crucial to health, security, and equity in post-disaster situations, there are a number of limitations to current participatory approaches in post-disaster reconstruction. Underlining the social importance of water access in Haiti were reports citing a Jack of potable water and sanitation as one factor contributing to the spread of cholera, which was introduced by UN peacekeepers aher the earthquake. Limited access to water and sanitation facilities was also reported as a factor in the lack of security for women and children in the internally displaced persons camps. The results of this NSF-RAPID study are presented pertaining to gender issues in the context of post-disaster infrastructure reconstruction efforts in Haiti. We ask specifically how gender dimensions can be integrated into community-based participatory processes of water and sanitation planning, which face many challenges in post-disaster situations. We conclude that more robust participatory processes that include women and other marginalized groups in planning and decision making can be used to elicit and support local knowledge, practices and preferences, ultimately leading to more appropriate infrastructure systems that will be more socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable.