Lack of access to water and toilets has untold effects

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

Topics: ,

Women water africa

According to UNICEF, about 157 million people in the Eastern and Southern Africa region (ESAR) do not have access to a clean and safe water distribution system, and therefore rely on external water sources. This is compounded by an additional lack of reliable and improved sanitation.

Additionally, as WEA has seen in our own work in communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, the burden of fetching water, no matter how far away it might be, falls disproportionately on women and girls, thus limiting the time they can spend of self-sustaining tasks, school and, eventually, work. Furthermore, once a girl reaches puberty, and without private, separate and safe sanitation resources, they often miss school when menstruating, ultimately resulting in a significant portion of school days missed.

While women often have the primary responsibility for the management of household water supply, they are rarely consulted or involved in the planning and management of this vital resource. In sub-Saharan Africa, women produce up to 80 percent of basic foodstuffs, yet they have the least access to the means of production.

[However] A World Bank evaluation of 122 water projects found that the effectiveness of a project was six to seven times higher where women were involved than where they were not.

Read more over at UNICEF.

The Ripple Effect Is Real

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

Topics: , ,

by Gemma Bulos

Question: When would the equation 20 x 222 = 4588?

Answer: When you train 20 women how to build rainwater harvesting systems. They train 222 of their colleagues (84% of which were women). And together they build 31 tanks supplying water to 4588 people in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.  Help us amplify this impact by supporting our campaign on today! 
Ripple_Effect2 (1) As a Stanford Social Entrepreneur Fellow for the Center For Democracy Development and the Rule of Law, I was honored to work with Masters Program students Sarah van Vliet and Savannah Hayes, who evaluated GWWI’s field data to assess the impact of our current Women-led Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) Service Center Training Program.

Sarah and Savannah combed through data that included hundreds of interviews with trainees, users and community members to objectively assess GWWIs impact for the first Phase of our 3-Phase WaSH Service Center Training where women learned to build rainwater harvesting technologies. They synthesized their analysis and distilled them into a powerful infographic.

We are most thrilled to share that the 20 women we trained in the current program:

* Provided water for over 4500 people;
* Reduced their water fetching time from 1 hour to 6 minutes;
* Trained 186 additional women; and
* Raised an average of $1860 to build more tanks and 70% reported an increase in personal income.

infograph 2 number of pax.jpg (1)


This of course is just Phase 1 of the 3-Phase Program. GWWI trainees learned how to build toilets last summer and in less than 3 weeks, they will be learning how to build filters and make chlorine at our next training in Kampala, Uganda.

You can join the ripple!  GWWI launched a month long campaign with to raise $5000 for this next Phase of training where the women will learn a variety of ways to treat water! Please consider making a donation!

On March 12th, with every $25 donated, will match 15%!

Thank you for helping us create powerful, measurable impacts for African women water leaders.

Women leaders in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

Topics: , ,


In Africa and across the developing world, it is common for women and girls to spend up to six hours daily collecting water, time they could spend in school or working. The result is perpetuated cycles of gender inequality and poverty.

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) combine as global crisis that leaves 768 million without clean water and 2.5 billion, over a third of the world’s population, without access to sanitation. Yet, within Africa alone, women are making a huge impact on these issues starting from their communities and reaching on up. Wash Advocates’ website highlights eight women across Africa who are making waves. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia has brought WASH to Liberia and is the Honorary President of Water and Sanitation for Africa. President Joyce Banda of Malawi, has created a national initiative on maternal health and clean places for expectant mothers to wait until delivery with clean water, sanitation and access to health care. Six other women, working in West Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Nigeria, are creating initiatives and organizations that are just as important.

To read more about these incredible women, read the full article here.

GWWI Partner Brings Clean Water to a Clinic in Kakamega

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

Topics: ,

DSCF3325 (1)

rose makes an ISSB block for a tank (1)By GWWI Regional Coordinator, Rose Wamalwa

Rose Wamalwa is GWWI Kenya/Tanzania Regional Coordinator. She was selected as 1 of 4 East African women for the inaugural GWWI Fellowship class in 2011. Because of her stellar work, she was hired to manage and support 5 women’s teams in Kenya and Tanzania. She also opened her own organization called Women in Water and Natural Resources Conservation. This is one of her stories.

A story is told of a village by the name Kharanda.  The residents of this village were privileged to have a community health dispensary that was constructed in 1996, exactly 17 years ago. It was a sigh of relief for men, women and children since they could access healthy facilities easily.  However there has been a major problem of lack of safe water to run the health facility.

Kharanda Community dispensary serves 20 villages spread over a radius of 5 km, for 17 years this facility has never had any source of water supply.  Nurse Catherine who is currently in charge of the facility has faced a lot of challenges running the dispensary without water.  They had to introduce a system where patients had to bring with them water for use in the facility.  Alternatively the patients are required to pay a small fee that is used to hire people to supply water to the dispensary for cleaning the facility.

Nurse Catherine admits that it has been a big challenge administering health services in the dispensary without water. This has led to re-infections especially water related illnesses such as cholera, diarrhea and typhoid. Patients have therefore not been able to access safe water for drinking and even washing hands after visiting the toilets and after changing the baby nappies.
Many instances have also been reported of patients who have complications and require admission and continuous observation by health practitioners, but since the dispensary does not have access to safe water, they cannot run an in-patient unit. This has led to a number of patients succumb to related complications.

Keeping the facility clean has always been a challenge since there is no water at the dispensary.
In February 2013, Nurse Catherine’s story has changed, WWNRC constructed a 15,000 liter rain water harvesting tank that now provide quality water for the patients and the staff.  Women and children no longer have to bring water to the facility nor pay a fee to carter for water supply. The dispensary’s hygiene status has improved and Nurse Catherine has alluded to staring a maternity wing to carter for expectant mothers.


Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

Topics: , ,

8242074875_1f122b985a_b (1)

Today we’d like to tell you a story about Global Women’s Water Initiative (GWWI) graduates Florence Acharit and Eunice Aliamo of Orphans and Widows Association for Development in Uganda. Because of their leadership, 200 girls at Amuria High School no longer miss classes or face violence because they have to fetch water. Remarkable transformation was possible in 2012 because YOU got involved. Because you share our posts, introduce us to your friends, host house parties, attend our Weaving the Worlds Events, join our Giving Circle and contribute financially to our work – the world is changing.

If WEA raises $75,000 by this year’s end, we will launch into 2013 ready to support and unite more grassroots women leaders working tirelessly on issues of clean water, sustainable agriculture, and climate resilience. Please join us by making a donation todayWe will be awarded a challenge grant of $10,000 if over 100 of you give to WEA by December 31st!

Florence and Eunice were one of 16 teams to attend the 2012 GWWI Grassroots Women and Water Training in Uganda. GWWI, our partnership with Crabgrass, has been hosting trainings since 2008. This year participants learned water and sanitation technologies, entrepreneurial tools and leadership skills. And for an entire year, GWWI provided follow-up financial, technical and peer support to the teams.
5954603697_c8bdc1ecbf_b (1)
So, what was it like before Florence and Eunice participated in a GWWI training? Girls had to fetch water during school, which could take 3-4 hours and put them at risk of being attacked. Girls would sometimes faint from dehydration while waiting for water or meals that were prepared late because there was no water. The school spent around $150 every week to buy clean water and cover medical expenses for students who fell ill from water-related diseases.

Florence and Eunice applied their skills to build two 15,000 gallon tanks to catch rainwater in a primary school and high school in Amuria, Uganda. Now, the girls have safe water to drink. Money that their school once spent on water and medicine will go towards a well that will that serve the entire community for years to come. 2012 is full of stories of bold women leaders like Florence and Eunice protecting the earth and redefining our future. The grassroots women and groups WEA partnered with this year brought 15,000 people access to clean water and trained 2,400 women farmers in sustainable agriculture and native seed saving practices, along with climate change awareness programs. From East Africa to India to California, we supported women leaders to share water and sanitation practices, develop strategies to adapt to a changing climate, and build relationships critical for creating change.
6351394510_4fd1686450_b (1)
With your help, we can respond more fully to our partners’ call. In 2013:

  • The India Program will expand its support to South Asia with the launch of a small grants initiative for indigenous and rural women’s groups working to promote human rights, traditional knowledge, sustainable agriculture, and environmental justice.
  • GWWI will launch the WASH Service Center Training Program for graduates of Women and Water Trainings to deepen their knowledge of sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene strategies, and become professional implementers, trainers and social entrepreneurs.
  • The North America Program will continue to coordinate legal advocacy support in partnership with North American Indigenous women leading environmental justice campaigns.

We are reminded by the collective efforts of grassroots women that resilience – the ability to rise up stronger from a difficult situation – is possible when we stand together.  The more we unite, the greater strength we have to persevere against all odds. When you donate to WEA, you stand with a global network of women leaders moving together towards resilience in the New Year and beyond. Please give today and be 1 of the 100 donors who make our challenge grant and $75,00 goal possible.
In partnership,

Amira, Caitlin, Gemma, Kahea, Melinda, Rucha and Tejeswi

P.S.  If you are still shopping for Holiday gifts, you can make a donation to WEA’s work in honor of your loved ones and we’ll send them a beautiful, personalized card!