The workshop, which was supported by UNICEF and GWP Central African Republic (GWP CAR), brought together about 30 representatives from various women’s organizations with the objective of discussing this year’s WWD day theme to improve understanding on issues related to valuing water. In addition to this, participants were enlightened on the cause and effects of climate change and the vital role women play in water resource management. The opening ceremony was marked by a speech from the Director General of Water Resources, Mr. Barnabé FALIBAI during which he reiterated the choice of the participants because of the “important rolewomen play in water supply and management which unfortunately is not fully executed because of the lack of interest in water governance issues.”
The first workshop presentation by the Director of Water Resources, Mrs. Nadine Benam Beltoungou highlighted the generalities of the country’s water sector with emphasis on how the sector is organized, available water resources, opportunities and challenges facing the sector. Speaking on this year’s WWD theme, the Director of studies and planning at the Ministry of Water, Mr.Vincent Andjidoulou reiterated the different uses of water before adding that CAR’s water sector has been privatized since 2006 which has led to several available opportunities, "which women can seize to develop the water sector through income-gathering activities like home gardens , sachet water etc."
The final presentation by Mr. Gary SEKOU, Head of the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation of Programmes, Directorate of Water Resources and Executive secretary, GWP CAR, focused on the role women play in water supply, management, and preservation. After highlighting the existing framework for water supply, management, and conservation in CAR, he presented the role women play in the key areas of water governance, while noting the low representation of women in decision-making bodies on water. Finally, he encouraged women organisations to work towards changing this reality by raising awareness, providing information and training opportunities for women.
An interactive session with the speakers followed the presentations and focused on several subjects like water shortage and proposed solutions, quality control of sachet water, low private sector investment in the water sector, rainwater management in the capital, the low share of the national budget allocated to the water and sanitation sector, the high cost of drilling boreholes, the sustainability of capacity building for women on water-related issues and updating national data on water resources. Explanations and clarifications concerning the above-mentioned points were provided by the Director General of Water Resources (DGRH) and other speakers.
To ensure real change on the issues discussed, the participants made the following recommendations:
To the government
- Organise information and awareness-raising workshops on various issues in the water sector for women and other stakeholders.
- Increase the share of the state budget for investment in the water and sanitation sector.
- Institutionalize the representation of women in the sector's decision-making bodies.
To technical and financial partners
- Support the department in improving knowledge of water resources in CAR;
- Support the department in strengthening the capacity of women inorder to develop of the sector.
The workshop ended with a note of thanks from Mr. Bernabe Falibai to the participants for the interest they have shown so far in the water sector. He further noted that all recommendations made will be taken into consideration and the department will work with partners to ensure implementation. He finally expressed gratitude to the Ministry in charge of Water Resources , UNICEF and GWP CAR for the financial and technical support towards the organisation of the workshop. Participants were handed #WWD2021 branded items at the end of the workshop.