Innovation for Gender Equality in Water Management

The Sustainable Development Goals, Human Rights frameworks and most national constitutions commit, at policy level, to women’s equal access to productive resources, including water, and the alleviation and better sharing of domestic chores, so including fetching water for domestic uses and sanitation. However, these policies tend to ‘evaporate’, among other by lack of evidence-based replicable solutions on innovative implementation approaches and lack of policy dialogue for upscaling and institutionalization. This project aims to fill that gap, by (action-) research on innovative solutions from local to national level, and policy dialogue. It has four sub-activities. 1. Innovation in gender equality in Nepal: (led by Floriane Clement) IWMI is the research partner of iDE Nepal and a consortium of Nepali NGOs on a project aiming at empowering women in Far-Western Nepal through the implementation of multiple water use systems (MUS) and micro-irrigation technologies for vegetable production, improved market access, developing literacy and entrepreneurship skills and raising awareness on maternal and children nutrition and health. IWMI will analyse the implementation process of MUS interventions within the project and their outcomes to understand the causal linkages between use of water technologies, market access and women's empowerment. IWMI will also revisit past MUS interventions in Nepal to identify the key contextual and internal factors for their sustainability and replicability. 2. Community driven multiple use water services in South Africa (led by Barbara van Koppen) This project, supported by the African Water Facility, is implemented through the Water Research Commission of South Africa. The purpose of the project is to support the operationalization of MUS services in the Republic of South Africa through demonstration investments, awareness raising, applied research and leveraging of finance. The project will (i) demonstrate MUS approaches in selected communities, (ii) strengthen the existing knowledge base on MUS by engaging into ongoing planning processes, (iii) develop robust tools for effective up-scaling of more equitable and sustainable water services delivery, and (iv) inform and support the development of downstream investments into improved water use services, including leveraging finance. 3. Gender equitable wealth creation (led by Barbara van Koppen): This project component aims at the development, testing and upscaling of innovations that improve accountability to poor women in public water services delivery. It fills strategic knowledge gaps and synthesizes knowledge generated in the other three components and CRP1.1 and CRP1.3, linking local, intermediate, national and global levels in public service delivery across Africa and Asia. Short field research is undertaken in Zambia on community-driven climate change adaptation, from local to national levels, linked to CRP 1.3; and in Tanzania on the impact of matrilineal land tenure on farmer-managed irrigation. In 2015, the focus is further on synthesis of earlier field research and literature review and on uptake and policy dialogue through innovative cross-sectoral professional networks, in particular as coordinator of the MUS Group (18 core members, including IWMI, WLE, IRC, FAO, ICID, WaterAid, and USAID). At local level, innovations are identified that recognize women’s (and men’s) own holistic investments in natural resource management, in particular water infrastructure for self-supply to meet multiple water needs, combining multiple water sources through multipurpose infrastructure. The links between land tenure and natural resource management are studied in matrilineal societies in Tanzania and Malawi. At the interface with governmental and non-governmental service providers, replicable planning procedures are developed that take women’s own priorities for incremental improvements in their water and land asset base as the starting point. This requires overcoming the usual top-down single-use and single-resource silos. By seeking to embed innovations in government local planning processes, accountability will be widely replicable. At national and basin levels, focus is on formal recognition of living customary/informal water law by centralized statutory water legislation and regulation (permit systems) of water allocation and pollution prevention formally recognize living customary/ informal water law. At national and global levels, links are made between research findings at all levels and the operationalization and implementation of SDGs, CEDAW and other human rights instruments related to water and women’s equal access to water technologies for multiple uses. 4. Socio-economic study on the revitalization of irrigation schemes (led by Barbara van Koppen) As requested by IWMI’s host organization, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, IWMI will conduct socio-economic research on the revitalization of smallholder irrigation schemes according to different management modes (joint ventures, smallholder-managed, equity schemes, outgrowers etc). In 2015, the focus will be on the Flag Boshielo irrigation scheme and Makuleke irrigation scheme in Limpopo Province, as well as on irrigated area mapping.