SADC gender mainstreaming in the water sector clinic

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), with support from the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA) organised the Gender Mainstreaming in the Water Sector Project Preparation and Financing Clinic on 25 March 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The objective of the Clinic was to create a platform for financiers, project developers/promoters and project implementers to discuss practical issues with regards to gender mainstreaming during project preparation and mobilising financing processes.

The SADC Water Sector has made significant progress in mainstreaming gender in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). IWRM highlights women’s central place in water governance and use for economic efficacy, and with this comes the need to mainstream gender in water sector policies, programs, actions and investments.

Gender mainstreaming (GM) in the SADC Water Sector is realized through instruments such as the Revised SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses, the SADC Regional Water Policy, the SADC Regional Water Strategy and the Southern African Vision for Water, Life and Environment in the 21st Century. The SADC Regional Water Policy and Regional Water Strategy have been developed and implemented through the Regional Strategic Action Plan on Integrated Water Resources Development and Management (RSAP), which is currently in its fourth cycle, i.e. RSAP IV (2016-2020). Efforts to implement the gender mainstreaming policy pronouncements have been articulated in the RSAPs, specifically RSAP III through the implementation of the Gender Mainstreaming in Transboundary Water Management (TWM) program.

In line with the gender mainstreaming in the water sector capacity building program, a series of workshops have been facilitated since 2017. The workshops have primarily targeted Gender Focal Points (GFPs) within the SADC water ministries and representatives of the gender ministries, with the aim of equipping them with the understanding, skills and tools to mainstream gender considerations into the design and delivery of water projects. The workshops aligned with key SADC and RBO dialogues, ensuring GFPs participated both in targeted gender-focused knowledge sharing events and wider regional discussions.

The just ended SADC GenderMainstreaming in the Water Sector Project Preparation and Financing Clinic marks the final workshop under the SADC Transboundary Water Management programme support to RSAP IV. The clinic was convened on 25 March 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa during the month of the International Women’s Day and the World Water Day, commemorated on the 8th and 22nd March respectively. The clinic built on the skills and knowledge acquired by the GFPs and the gender machinery on Gender Responsive Budgeting, focusing on gender mainstreaming approaches for project preparation and mobilising finance activities toward improved project designs.

The workshop provided a platform for stakeholders to get more understanding on the use and resource requirements of gender mainstreaming tools in project preparation and the available funding opportunities for gender sensitive water projects. Case studies from implementers on implementation of gender-sensitive projects were also shared during the clinic

Ms Linet MIRITI-OTIENO, Principal Gender Specialist at the African Development Bank (AfDB) highlighted how the bank has embraced gender equality as a central part in inclusive growth, one of the objective the Bank’s strategy 2013-2033. “Gender plays important role in shaping life, chances and roles in the household and how it translates into inequalities in human capital and economic opportunities. The bank believes gender equality is a moral and ethical imperative, pivotal in economic growth, hence it is embedded into the Bank’s rules, procedures, and practices,” she said, adding that the bank views gender mainstreaming as a promoter equal opportunities, rights and resources for both males and females.

According to Wateraid’s findings from successive evaluations point to a gap between plans and actions prompting the need for confidence in transferring knowledge and principle into community. “Gender mainstreaming is not a one-day process but one which requires continuous conscious efforts. For gender mainstreaming to be effective there is need for creating an enabling environment whilst providing clear guidance coupled with ongoing and consistent capacity development. Through various women empowerment projects, we have realized that there is need for inclusion of women on water management committees and facilitation to engage with local authorities and that building capacity of women groups in communities is key for economic empowerment.” noted Wateraid’s Ms Chilufya Chileshe.

The SADC Gender Mainstreaming in the Water Sector Project Preparation and Financing Clinic forms part of the outcomes of Phase 2 of the SADC Transboundary Water Management – Gender Mainstreaming in the Water Sector which came into place in 2017. Other key results were engagement of focal points in regional processes, development of action plans including the Gender Action Plan (GAP), Gender Responsive Budgeting and promotion of development of gender –sensitive water projects.

The major outcome of the SADC Transboundary Water Management – Gender Mainstreaming in the Water Sector Phase 1 was the SADC Handbook on Mainstreaming Gender in the Water Sector, an adaptable, evolving, guiding resource for gender mainstreaming in the water sector.  The book provides tools that ensure a gender -aware project cycle, gender sensitive participation, process facilitation, knowledge, understanding. 

Through the subsidiarity principle of SADC, Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA) has been mandated to support the implementation of stakeholder engagement activities. These activities include gender mainstreaming as part of the SADC Transboundary Water Management program implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) with delegated authority from Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development), Germany, and Department for International Development (DFID), UK, on behalf of the SADC Secretariat.