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Participatory processes in IWRM initiatives need to recognise inequalities and differences between women and men



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Participatory processes in IWRM initiatives need to recognise inequalities and differences between women and men

Experience demonstrates that participatory processes and ‘attempts to involve poor people’ do not automatically include women. Attention to gender differences and inequalities is required if participatory development initiatives are to involve women as well as men. Specific issues include:


Power relations in communities. Communities are not harmonious groups with a common set of interests and priorities. There are often strong divisions along the lines of age, religion, class and gender. These power differentials make it difficult for some people to voice opinions that contradict the views of those in power. Power differentials may even affect who participates in specific meetings. Outside officials may invite only ‘community leaders’ (generally men) to participate in consultations.

Intra-household and intra-family relations. Some women may find it difficult to speak out in front of their husbands or fathers. They may also believe that discussions relating to family matters (even issues relating to workloads) are not for public forums.

Different constraints to participation. Men and women have different responsibilities and workloads. Women often have less time to devote to new activities. Attending specific meetings may raise problems for women if meetings are set for the times of the day when they tend to be occupied with household responsibilities or childcare. Additionally, formal or informal membership norms in community institutions can also deny women the right to participate.

Different abilities to participate. Given gender biases in education, women and men often have varying literacy levels. Men may also have more experience putting their arguments forward to outsiders and feel more confident dealing with new people than women.

Perceived benefits of participation. Women and men may make different calculations about the costs and benefits of their involvement in participatory processes. Given the already high demands on most women’s time, they often have little time to participate fully. Participatory methods are only as good as the people who use them. It is now clear that there is more to participation than a series of exercises. When they are done well, gender-sensitive participatory processes challenge organizations in many ways.
Challenges to Participatory Processes

Skills

Organizations need to develop the skills to facilitate gender-sensitive participatory processes. This requires experience, skills, and the ability to deal with conflict, should it arise.

Time

Participatory processes can take a long time and may require support over a period of years.

Flexibility and Adaptability

The selection and sequencing of tools for participatory processes should be based on specific circumstances. Responding adequately to specific contexts requires flexibility.

Support

Participants, both women and men, require support as they explore new issues. It is irresponsible for an outside organization to encourage people to raise issues of gender inequalities and then not remain to engage with the consequences.

Follow-up

Can the organization respond to the issues raised? If development cooperation organizations are serious about participatory processes, they must be prepared to act on the priorities identified and issues that emerge.


2.6.7. Participatory methods used to introduce gender equality issues

Beginning in 1992, the German development cooperation agency, GTZ assisted the Zambian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries to integrate a participatory approach into its extension service. Extension officers used participatory methods to assess farmers’ priorities, which led them towards a multi-sectoral approach to the programme. They used seasonal calendars to plan extension activities at times convenient to farmers. They began to involve farmers in monitoring and evaluating of the outcome of extension efforts. However, an evaluation revealed that women were not benefiting from the improved participatory approach to extension services provision. The staff began to make concerted efforts to address the problem and involve women in the programme. As awareness grew, two three-day workshops helped couples to analyse gender relations in their households. The case study raises several key points:



  • Gender is not always the sensitive topic some claim it to be. With the right methods, attitudes, and approaches, local people and staff members welcome discussion about it.

  • Gender is not a foreign, theoretical concept, and women and men can address it.

  • Gender should be inherent in participatory approaches, but it is not automatically addressed without specific efforts (Frischmuth, 1998).


2.6.8. Participatory methods illustrate different perceptions of well-being

The use of gender-sensitive participatory methods in Darko, Ghana, identified differences between women and men in their understanding of poverty. These methods documented people’s own perceptions of intra-household relations and provided a far better understanding of the situation and changes underway than would have been possible through data collection on externally selected indicators. Men and women prepared separate social maps of the village and carried out wealth and well-being rankings. Differences in the two discussions were analysed and the findings are outlined below.



  • Men’s criteria of wealth centred on assets like a house, car, cattle and type of farm. They considered crops grown by men, but not those of women. Initially they left those with no assets out of the ranking altogether. They then moved on from wealth to a discussion of well-being, using ‘god-fearing’ as the main criterion.

  • Women started with indicators like a house, land and cattle but moved to analyse the basis of agricultural production. Again they considered only ‘female’ crops and did not mention cocoa or other cash crops grown by men. Contrary to common perceptions, women focused on marketed crops, and not on subsistence food crops.

  • Women’s criteria for the ‘poorest’ were related to a state of destitution, and the lack of individual entitlements or health-related deprivation. Men focused on the absence of assets.

  • Each group had its own perception of well-being. Women tended to identify factors for women, while men focused on men. Neither group looked at the household as a unit for analysing welfare.

  • For both women and men, being wealthy did not always mean being better off. In the men’s analysis none of the rich were ‘god-fearing’ and two houses with no assets had ‘god-fearing’ people. As for the women, the biggest vegetable producers (seen as an indicator of being well-off) were not in the richer categories (Shah, 1998).


2.7. Mainstreaming Gender in Water Management

Gender mainstreaming is the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels (global, national, institutional, community, household). It is a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally, and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality by transforming the mainstream (UNESCO,1997 in GWA 2003a).


Operationalising gender mainstreaming involves:

  • Understanding the gender-differentiated systems for access to resources, labour, water uses, water rights, and the distribution of benefits and production. Sex-disaggregated data and the documentation of unpaid labour are important.

  • Focusing on gender relations, not just women. Although many analyses draw attention to women (since it is generally women who face disadvantages and women’s views that tend to be overlooked), a gender analysis looks at the relations (differences, inequalities, power imbalances, differential access to resources, etc.) between and among women and men and how these are negotiated. The position of women cannot be understood in isolation from the broader relationships between women and men.

  • Understanding that gender is a factor that influences how people respond both individually and collectively. Men and women face different obstacles and draw on different resources when attempting to participate on a water committee, confront a local official or attend a training session.

  • Understanding the gender dimensions of institutions at all levels in society (within the household, community-based organizations, water users associations, local governments, national civil services, etc.). These formal and informal institutions play fundamental roles in water resources management, yet they have gender dimensions: Who makes what decisions? Does the structure facilitate or hinder women’s participation? Is there the capacity to reduce inequalities between women and men in the institutions? How are different needs and perspectives negotiated inside institutions? Are institutional policies developed in an inclusive and gender-sensitive manner?

  • Confirming or rejecting assumptions in each specific context, ideally using participatory methodologies. Assumptions from one country or project cannot be carried over into another region or initiative. Furthermore, power relations, working arrangements, and resource availability can change over time. The specificity of each situation must be investigated.


2.7.1. Getting the initiative or project right

To ensure that the analysis increases the positive impacts of water programmes and that the overall objective to support the advancement of women is reflected in all IWRM initiatives, the following should be considered:



  • Incorporating the insights from the analysis into project design. For example, it is not enough to document women’s priorities. Their views should influence the priorities and objectives of the initiative.

  • Giving importance and recognition to women’s responsibilities and views. For example, often women’s uses of water are given less importance than men’s (they are not documented, women’s uses are not given priority, they are not visible to planners, etc.).

  • Making links to key expected results of the initiative. There should be a clear analysis that links the gender analysis to the overall objectives of the project. If the project is focusing on flood control, the gender dimension should look at how women are consulted, involved and affected by various options for flood control (rather than a side initiative on small-scale credit for women).

  • Identifying concrete objectives. During the project design phase, objectives relating to gender equality should be clearly specified (rather than kept general, such as ‘incorporate gender equality issues into the project’).

  • Developing indicators to track success towards meeting the results. General indicators should be disaggregated on the basis of sex (instead of total number of people consulted, there should be a breakdown between women and men).


2.7.2. Gender-sensitive monitoring and evaluation indicators

Programme and project interventions have not led to sustained and sustainable development. Benefits and costs that accrue from an intervention are also not always disaggregated by sex and socio-economic class; consequently, it becomes difficult to understand the effects of those interventions on different groups. A monitoring and evaluation process that has gender-sensitive indicators and involves men and women not as informants but as participants will result in a better understanding of who in the community has benefited, who bears the costs and what motivates different groups to act. Furthermore, a monitoring process that involves men and women ensures that monitoring becomes a self-management tool rather than a policing instrument, thus leading to collective action.


If data collection is not disaggregated by sex, it will be difficult to assess the positive or negative impacts of the programme or project on women and men, young and old and rich and poor. For example, if water provision in an urban slum has lessened the burden of water fetching for women and girls, this could free more girls to go to school. This positive result cannot be assessed without sex-disaggregated data collection, which can assist in measuring the scope of the impact, i.e., the increased enrolment of girls in school. If water provision services have freed poor women’s time to engage in income generating activities, without sex-disaggregated data, the positive impact will lack empirical evidence and will remain anecdotal.
Additionally, the following issues cannot be measured or monitored without gender-sensitive indicators:

  • The impact/effectiveness of activities targeted to address women’s or men’s practical gender needs i.e., new skills, knowledge, resources, opportunities or services in the context of their existing gender roles;

  • The impact/effectiveness of activities designed to increase gender equality of opportunity, influence or benefit e.g., targeted actions to increase women’s role in decision-making; opening up new opportunities for women/men in non-traditional skill areas;

  • The impact/effectiveness of activities designed to develop gender awareness and skills amongst policy-making, management and implementation staff;

  • The impact/effectiveness of activities to promote greater gender equality within the staffing and organizational culture of development organisations e.g., the impact of affirmative action policies (Derbyshire, 2002:28).

The Canadian International Development Agency has developed an extensive guide on the issue, its history and evolution, its implications and how to develop gender-sensitive indicators for the organization as well as the project level (CIDA, no date).2


2. 8 Additional Resources


References
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), No date. Guide to Gender-Sensitive Indicators. Available at: http://www.acdicida.gc.ca/cida_ind.nsf/8949395286e4d3a58525641300568be1/7b5da002feaec07c8525695d0074a824?OpenDocument
Cleaver, F., 1998. ‘Incentives and informal institutions: Gender and the management of water’, Agriculture and Human Values, 15:347-360.
Diamond, N. et al, A Working Session on Communities, Institutions and Policies: Moving from Environmental Research to Results. WIDTECH (funded by the Office of Women in Development, Bureau for Global Programmes, Field Support and Research, U.S. Agency for International Development), Washington, D.C, 1997. Cited in Working Party on Gender Equality, OECD-DAC, Reaching the Goals I the S-21: Gender Equality and the Environment, 1998. Available at: www.oecd.org/dac/Gender/pdf/wid993e.pdf
Firschmuth, C., 1997. Gender is not a Sensitive Issue: Institutionalising a gender-oriented participatory approach in Siavonga, Zambia. ID21 Report (www.id21.org). International Institute for Environment and Development Gatekeep series no. 72.
Narayan, D., 1995. Contribution of People's Participation: Evidence from 121 Rural Water Supply Projects, The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1995
Quisuimbing, A. R. Improving Women’s Agricultural Productivity as Farmers and Workers, World Bank Discussion Paper Series No. 37, 1994. Quoted in FAO, SEAGA Sector Guide: Irrigation, 1998. Available at www.fao.org/sd/seaga
Shah, M. K., 1998. “Gendered Perceptions of Well-being in Darko, Ghana,” in Guijt and Shah (eds.) The Myth of Community: Gender Issues in Participatory Development

Thomas, H., Building Gender Strategies for Flood Control, Drainage and Irrigation in Bangladesh, 1993. In SIDA, Workshop on gender and water resources management. Lessons Learned and Strategies for the Future, 1994. Two Volumes. (Report from a seminar held in Stockholm, 1-3 December 1993).


United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 2004. Women and the Environment. Policy Series.
Wijk-Sijbesma, C.A. van, Mukherjee, N. and Gross, B., 2001. Linking sustainability with demand, gender, and poverty: A study in community-managed water supply projects in 15 countries. International Water and Sanitation Reference Centre, Washington, D.C. and Delft, the Netherlands.
Zwarteveen, M., 1997. ‘Water: From Basic Need to Commodity: A Discussion on Gender and Water Rights in the Context of Irrigation,’ World Development, 25(8): 1335-1349.

Additional Resources
Abu-Ata, Nathalie., 2005. Water, Gender and Growth in the MENA region or the Cost of Gender Exclusion, World Bank MENA development report on water.

The purpose of this background paper is to provide an analytical framework and illustrative cases on the linkages between water, gender and poverty alleviation in the MENA region in preparation for the forthcoming flagship MENA development report on water. This paper argues that it makes economic sense to make sure that women and female farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs have the same access to water as men and male farmers both for domestic and irrigation purposes, while at the same time highlighting the challenges and limits of doing so.


Ahmed, S. (Ed.), 2005. Flowing Upstream – Empowering Women through Water Management Initiatives in India, Centre for Environment and Education, Ahmedabad. Foundation Books, New Delhi.
Alléy, D. Drevet-Dabbous, J. Etienne, J. Francis, A. Morel À L’Huissier, P. Chappé, G. Verdelhan Cayre, 2002. Water, gender and sustainable development : Lessons learnt from French co-operation in sub-Saharan Africa. pS-Eau, Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Agence française de développement and World Bank.
Aureli, A. and C. Brelet, 2004. Women and Water: an ethical issue. UNESCO series on Water and Ethics, Essay 4. UNESCO, Paris, France.

Examines the ethical issues arising from the special role of women in water use, including the role of women in natural resource management, and fresh water as a fundamental human right.

Available at: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001363/136357e.pdf
Bennett, V., Davila-Poblete, S. and M. Nieves Rico (Eds.), 2005.Opposing Currents: The Politics of Water and Gender in Latin America, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburg.
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CapNet, No date. Tutorial on Integrated Water Resources Management.

This is a brief and succinct introduction of the rational for IWRM and the key principles behind it. The on-line tutorial provides arguments and examples to make the case for IWRM and to counter those who may oppose it on institutional or sectoral grounds.

Available at:http://www.cap-net.org/iwrm_tutorial/mainmenu.htm
CEDARE, 2004. Status of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Plans in the Arab Region. Available at: http://www.arabwatercouncil.org/firstmeet/IWRMstudy.pdf
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Eglal Rached , Rathgeber, Eva, Brooks, David, Rathgeber, Eva, 1996. Water Management In Africa And The Middle East: Challenges And Opportunities, IDRC.

In this book, scientists take stock of the crisis, identify key issues and trends, and map out strategies for further research and action. They take a close look at the problems that beset different regions: from drought-prone East Africa to the Middle East — where water is a major factor in regional conflicts — to tropical areas — where water quality is a concern and water-borne diseases are endemic. They examine the roles of governments, international agencies, NGOs, and community organization, and look at the costs and effects of large-scale projects for irrigation and drinking water supply. Finally, they identify means to affect closer cooperation between governments and communities, and to bring more attention to water conservation, without which strategies to manage water in Africa and the Middle East will be neither sustainable nor equitable. The contributors are, for the most part, scientists who live and work in Africa and the Middle East, and who deal on a daily basis with the water crisis in those regions of the world.

Available at: http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-9334-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

Fong, M.S., W. Wakeman and A. Bhushan, 1996. Toolkit on Gender in Water and Sanitation, Gender Toolkit Series No. 2, Gender Analysis and Policy, Poverty and Social Policy Department, UNDP-World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, TWUWS, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.


Gender and Water Alliance (GWA), 2002. The Gender Approach to Water Management. Lessons Learnt Around the Globe.

Findings of an electronic conference series convened by the Gender and Water Alliance. It provides very useful and insightful discussions and contributions by members on the challenges to gender mainstreaming in the water sectors as well as examples of successful and difficult experiences in doing so. Discussions were held in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Available at: http://www.genderandwater.org/page/300

GWA, 2003. The Gender Approach to Management: Lessons learned around the globe. Gender and Water Alliance. Available at: http://www.genderandwater.org/page/156


GWA, 2003. The Gender and Water Development Report: Gender perspectives on policies in water sector. Published by WEDC for the GWA, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK.

This report is a first step in examining the development of gender-sensitive policies. It looks at how the fine rhetoric on gender mainstreaming that won favour in the Hague is being translated into policy by governments and donors two years later. GWA members have looked critically at changes in water legislation, policies and programmes around the world, to assess whether they respond to the gender messages.

Available at: http://www.genderandwater.org/page/156
GWA, 2003. Tapping into Sustainability: issues and trends in gender mainstreaming in water and sanitation. A background document for the Gender and Water Session, 3rd World Water Forum, Kyoto, Japan. March.

This document gives a glimpse of the work that has taken shape in gender mainstreaming at all levels through shared knowledge and action with a range of stakeholders including governments, NGOs, research centers, universities, and community based organisations'. It also provides an analysis of the remaining gaps for enhancing gender mainstreaming. Despite some progress, there is a continued sense that not enough is being done, and that there has not been effective translation of theoretical concepts about gender into tangible action and measurable changes on the ground. How can we identify and seize opportunities both to strengthen and consolidate current work, while continuing to push and expand the gender agenda? How do we become more strategic, more powerful in linking the important issues of gender with development, and in truly integrating and mainstreaming these issues into out daily work?

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GWA. 2003. Gender Mainstreaming in IWRM. Training of Trainers Modules. Gender and Water Alliance.

These are six training modules. They cover the ABCs of gender, gender and IWRM, and gender mainstreaming project cycles and institutions. They are useful for a wide range of constituencies and are also adaptable for use either together or as individual training modules.

Available at: http://www.genderandwater.org/page/766
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Drawing on the wider body of research concerning gender and the environment, this paper suggests some ways in which the conceptual framework adopted by the World Bank is deficient in terms of gender analysis. This paper summarises the approach embodied in water resources management policy and then provides a critical look at some of the key themes and policy directions from a gender perspective.

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The paper describes the water sector organising of MAMA-86 in the Ukraine. It outlines their various campaigns and successful strategies in water provision, water quality and quantity, pricing and access and control over water resources.

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A fundamental principle of any gender-sensitive approach is that it does not just focus on changing the role of women. It is natural that many of the advocacy messages and policy recommendations should emphasise the need to enhance women’s involvement in decision making and management of water programmes. Almost always though there is an implicit change in the established role, behaviour and practices of men. Gender equality does not mean that men and women have to do the same things. It means that the strengths and attributes of both sexes should be used to full advantage. That applies at all levels, from the household to the highest levels of management. Usually it means that power structures, working practices, timings of meetings, legislation and financing systems need to be reviewed to create greater opportunities for women’s talents and skills to be mobilised, but without adding to their existing heavy workloads. This paper revisits some of the arguments that have led to the international pressure for gender equity in human and social development. It provides a refresher course for those whose commitment to the gender cause has been frustrated by inaction at government or agency level, and a primer for those coming new to the topic of gender and water.

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Naser I. Faruqui, Asit K. Biswas, and Murad J. Bino, 2001. Water Management In Islam, IDRC/UNU Press.

The book explores the Islamic perspective on a number of proposed water management policies, such as lifeline water tariffs, water conservation, wastewater reuse, community-based water management, fair pricing, and water markets. These measures are generally accepted, with certain provisos, to lead to more equitable, efficient, and sustainable water management. By studying these issues in the context of Islam, workshop participants were able to derive Islamic water management principles that were in harmony with currently accepted principles of sustainable water management.

Available at: http://www.idrc.ca/openebooks/924-0/
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Rathgeber, Eva M, 1996. Women, Men, and Water-Resource Management in Africa, Water Management In Africa And The Middle East: Challenges And Opportunities, IDRC.

This paper examines some of the concerns that have motivated African governments and donors to become involved with water projects. Although there is general recognition of the needs of "communities" for reliable water systems, it is argued that the different attitudes, perspectives, and needs of women and men with respect to water access and use have been given little focused attention by environmental planners and water-resource managers in Africa. More specifically, it is suggested that throughout the 1970s and 1980s, although concerted efforts were being made to increase water accessibility, little effort was made to integrate the economic roles of women into water-resource planning.

Available at: http://www.idrc.ca/fr/ev-31108-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html
Schreiner, Barbara., Ndileka Mohapi, and Barbara van Koppen. Strategies for Gender-Inclusive Integrated Water Resources Management in South Africa. Paper presented at the 3rd WATERNET/WARFSA Symposium: Water Demand Management for Sustainable Use of Water Resources IWRM; Arusha, 30 – 31 October 2002. Available at:

http://www.waternetonline.ihe.nl/docs/Papers2003/Warfsa-WaterNet%20Theme%203/Strategies%20for%20Gender-inclusive%20Integrated%20Water%20Resources%20M.pdf
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Women for Water, Water for Women. 2004. The Clash between Principles and Practices. The Hague, Netherlands.

A short and concise paper developed for the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) meeting of 2004. It provides a very useful analysis that links international commitments to gender equality and IWRM to their practical application on the ground. Also see: www.womenforwater.org


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