We are transforming women's water burdens into economic opportunities.
What We Do
The Global Women's Water Initiative is training and building a movement of local women water experts to address the issue that affects them the most:
The GWWI Women and Water Training Programs
equip grassroots women with the skills and tools to bring
sustainable water solutions
to tackle the health and violence risks, and lost income and educational opportunities associated with the lack of safe water and sanitation in their own communities. GWWI offers a multi-year training to
transform women from passive
recipients of failed water projects
WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) providers
. Women become... ...
strengthens women's leadership i
n the WASH sector - whether at the village, government or NGO level. Women are taking the lead bringing demand-driven income-generating services to solve their local water crises - improving community health, building simple technologies and
How we do it
Transforming women from water bearers to water providers!
Challenging Gender Stereotypes
(masons + bricklayers)
...women are trained and supported to build 'appropriate' WASH technologies. "Appropriate technologies' can be made with local materials, are durable, effective and accepted by the community, thus keeping the prices affordable and maintenance easier. If something breaks down, the replacement parts and materials are available locally. Women can build solutions including rainwater harvesting systems water storage tanks pit latrines composting toilets cleaning bays water filters
Changing Behavior to Improve Community Health
(facilitators + educators)
...women offer hygiene education in the community to encourage proper hygiene practices to reduce the risk of water-related disease, protect and clean water sources as well as train other women to construct.
Ensuring Financial Self-Reliance
As social entrepreneurs...
(manufacturers + contractors)
...women and the organizations for which they work diversify their funding streams. Women earn income by making and selling water and hygiene related products as well as professionalizing their services as masons hired to construct various technologies. In addition, the organizations they work for learn to strengthen their proposal writing skills and have increased access to international WASH funding, local government contracts and micro-loans to finance their projects. Women learn to make and sell soap shampoo chlorine reusable menstrual pads solar cookers toilet digesters
Women and girls are disproportionately affected by lack of water and sanitation
- Women in sub-saharan Africa can spend up to 8 hours a day fetching water and doing water related chores
- 1 out of 10 girls drop out of school by the 8th grade when they start menstruating because there is no water or toilets at the school. Girls are 3x more likely to be malnutritioned which is usually caused by diahrrea from dirty water.
- Over half the hospital beds in the world are occupied by people with water-related disease WHILE 3-5 million people die every year of water related disease
- women are the caretakers of the families. When they cannot work because they are fetching water or if a family member falls sick, they spend time and money providing health services and medicine
- a typical 5 gallons (20 liters) container of water, a typical jerican weighs 44 pounds that women and girls carry on their heads, shoulders and backs
- when fetching water far from home or school, or relieving themselves in the open when there are no toilets, women and girls are in danger of being violently attacked and even raped
- For every $1 invested in water and sanitation there is a return of $3 - $34 •
- With each year of primary school a girl's future wages increase by 10-20% and more educated female desire less children. •
- If you cut the water fetching time by 15 minutes it can reduce the incidence of diarrhea by 41% and under 5 child mortality by 11% •
- Since women are the caretakers of the family and cook, clean, wash and provide drinking water, if they have access to safe water and practice good hygiene they can reduce the risk of water related disease for the whole family •
- Women tend to be more entrepreneurial because they have no access to the formal labor force. If they don't have to fetch water, they can participate in income generating activities. They are also more likely to pay back loans than men •
- when women and girls have access to water and sanitation, there is a reduced risk of violence and sexual attacks, they don't have walk over rough terrain and no longer have to carry nearly 50 pounds of water
Aprons are not for kitchens anymore
Who We Are
The Global Women’s Water Initiative was launched collaboratively and incubated by three international organizations: A Single Drop, Crabgrass and Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA). The GWWI collaborators came together to address the lack of women’s leadership in the WASH sector, despite their central role as water stewards. Since its launch, GWWI has trained and built partnerships with women-led organizations who have different social issues they are tackling. Their organizational missions range from improving maternal health, introducing bio-intensive farming, vocational training for vulnerable women, providing housing for orphans and widows and the like. Each of these organizations have recognized that in order to reach their organizational goals, they had to provide one of the main services that their communities are crying out for: access to clean water. GWWI supports these organizations, or what we call our
, to build a supplemental WASH program to meet their communities' water needs and in turn, strengthen their existing programs. For example, KSHP in Kitale, Kenya teaches communities bio-intensive farming methods to support food security. After attending GWWI trainings, they are offering income-generating WASH services and are ensuring water security as well. Life Bloom in Naivasha, Kenya counsels commercial sex workers and provides vocational training. They've since trained their clients in WASH and some have moved on to become WASH masons and trainers.
Meet our International Training Team and our Implementing Partners who have been participating in our multi-year training program.
International Training Team
Executive Director, Co-Founder
Gemma is a multi award-winning social entrepreneur and musician. Prior to stepping in as Director of GWWI, Gemma was the Founder/Executive Director of A Single Drop (USA) and the Founding Director of A Single Drop for Safe Water (Philippines), developing innovative programming that creates income-generating community-led water service organizations. For this innovation, Gemma received national and international social entrepreneur awards from Echoing Green, Ernst Young and Schwab Foundation, and is currently a Stanford Social Entrepreneur Fellow. Her programs also won accolades including the Tech Museum Tech EqualityAward and Warriors of the UN Millennium Goals, sponsored by Kodak Philippines. In 2011, she was recognized as one of the Most Influential Thought Leaders and Innovative Filipinas in the United States. In 2012, Reuter's named her one of the Top 10 Water Solutions Trailblazers in the World. Gemma is also an internationally renowned singer most well know for building The Million Voice Choir, a global peace mission to unite people around water through song.
Head Technology Trainer
Godliver is challenging gender stereotypes in the WASH sector by being a technology trainer with expertise in bricklaying, welding and other construction skills. She graduated as one of three women at the top of her class at the Uganda Rural Development Training Program where she was given a scholarship to attend. She soon went on to being #1 in her class again at St Joseph’s Technical Institute in Uganda – and incidentally, the ONLY WOMAN! Not only did Godliver receive top marks in Civil Engineering, on April 28, 2012, she gave the commencement speech attended by the Minister of Education, who soon after invited her to his office and offered her a job. She graciously declined because she has her sights on getting her degree and ultimately her PhD in Civil Engineering. Godliver is GWWIs Head Technology Trainer and will be training all the women graduates in appropriate water technologies in their villages. Read about her in a Reuters feature, “Female Engineer, Role Model, Empowers Other Ugandan Women”
Country Director, Kenya/Tanzania
Rose came to GWWI as a Fellow in 2011. Her background as a volunteer for an organization in Kisumu and her tireless dedication to women’s empowerment in the WASH sector made her a perfect candidate for the GWWI inaugural Fellows program. After attending the GWWI training programs to strengthen her skills as a WASH expert, she started her own organization Women in Water and Natural Resources Conservation (WWNRC). Because of her stellar commitment to her GWWI grassroots teams she was assigned to coach and support for the year, she was hired by GWWI as our first regional Coordinator for Kenya/Tanzania and her organization WWNRC is a GWWI East African Regional host partner. Rose was recently named as one of the '8 African WASH Women to Watch' alongside African Presidents Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Banda of Malawi by WASH Advocates in Washington, DC.
Hajra "Comfort" Mukasa
Country Director, Uganda
Comfort was selected amongst a highly competitive pool of East African women candidates to attend GWWIs inaugural Fellows Program. As a public health official and graduating 2nd in her class receiving her Master’s at Makare University School of Public Health, Comfort brought an impressive combination of academic rigor as well as field experience into GWWIs training program. Because of her incredible commitment to her GWWI teams and the strong trusting relationships she built with our trainees, she has since been hired as GWWIs first regional Coordinator for Uganda. Within a year with GWWI, she launched her own organization, Uganda Women’s Water Initiative (UWWI) inspired and informed by the work of GWWI. UWWI became a GWWI host partner in 2014 and is poised to take over GWWI operations in Uganda by 2016.
Co-Founder, GWWI Director, Crabgrass
Co-Founder, GWWI Co-Director, Women's Earth Alliance
Meet the women bringing H2ope to their communities!
Action for Women and Awakening in Rural Environment (AWARE)
TEAM: Josephine Auma and Grace Loumo MISSION: Maternal health, HIV/AIDS, emergency relief
Bukoba Women's Empowerment Association (BUWEA)
TEAM: Grace Mushongi and Rachel Nyamukama MISSION: Women's livelihood, animal husbandry, farming, soy mills
Our favorite BUWEA stories: Blog: BUWEA Women Invest in Their Own WASH Education and Become Local Water Champions Blog: BUWEA Raises Money to Build 5 Tanks in 8 Months and Counting... Blog: Power In Partnerships: BUWEA Partners With Women's Global Connection in the USA
Global Women's Water Initiative, Moyo (GWWIM)
TEAM: Martha Adong and Angella Tassas MISSION: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Moyo District, Uganda
Our favorite GWWIM stories: Blog: Guest Blog from a Visiting Photographer Who Traveled to Moyo, Uganda to Witness GWWIM in Action! Blog: Angella and Martha Win the Best Booth Award (It was all about water) at the local Women's Day Festival Blog: GWWI Trainees Launch the First GWWI Local Chapter in Moyo, Uganda With Huge Support from the Community and Local Government
Katosi Women's Development Trust (KWDT)
TEAM: Rose Namukasa, Betty Kajule and Mastula Namaganda MISSION: animal husbandry, micro-loans, WASH
Our favorite KWDT story: Blog: KWDT Wins the Kyoto Water Prize, One of the Top Water Prizes in the World!
Kilili Self-Help Programme (KSHP)
TEAM: Jane Joseph and Elizabeth Nasai MISSION: biodynamic farming, food security
Our favorite KSHP stories: Blog: Buying Books Instead of Medicine! KSHP Eliminates Typhoid in Local Kenya Schools Blog: KSHP Wins Top Prize from Ministry Of Water and Irrigation Blog: KSHP Enhances Their Food Security Program With Water Security Blog: Unique Community Driven Program to Bring Clean Water
Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET)
TEAM: Rosemary Atieno, Joy Nambare and Maureen Opondo MISSION: maternal health, HIV/AIDS, participatory integrated community development
Our favorite KMET stories: Blog: Sophia, Local Grandma Is Voted as Chair for Her Local Water Committiee Blog: Two Kisumu Teams Partner to Support Clean Water Efforts After Meeting at GWWIs Training Program
Life Bloom Services International, Inc (LBSI)
TEAM: Wanjiru Ngigi, Phionah Mbugua and Catherine Wanjohi MISSION: counseling, livelihood development, vocational training for vulnerable women and girls
Our favorite LBSI stories: Blog: From Sex Worker to Water Champion: Phionah Quits Walking the Streets for A Career as a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Technician and Trainer! Blog: LBSI Director Is Elected as Board Chair of Her Local Water Board Integrating Women and Influencing Local Water Policy. Read her letter! Blog: LBSI Trains Women Prisoners To Provide Their Own Clean Water. Read more here. Blog: Commercial Sex Workers Become Masons and Find An Alternative Income-Generating Skill
Orphans and Widows Association for Development (OWAD)
TEAM: Florence Atidi, Helen Rose Achen and Eunice Aliamo MISSION: housing for orphans and widows, solar energy
Our favorite OWAD stories: Blog: Girls No Longer Missing School Thanks to OWADs Rainwater Harvesting Project! Blog: OWAD Prepares for a Local Government Water Contract
Uganda Women's Water Initiative (UWWI)
TEAM: Beatrice Namukasa, Betty and Irina MISSION: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
Our favorite UWWI stories: Article: Godliver Businge, GWWI Head Tech Trainer is Featured By Reuter's as A Role Model for Women Engineers Blog: UWWI Manager and GWWI Head Technical Trainer Graduates #1 In Her Engineering Class
Women's Center for Job Creation (WCFJC)
TEAM: Charity Ndhura and Isabella Ainomugisha MISSION: women's livelihood, craft making, salon training, animal husbandry, farming, seed saving
Our favorite WCFJC stories: Blog: WCFJC Builds Rainwater Harvesting Systems to Help Women-run Goat and Poultry Micro-businesses
Women in Water and Natural Resources Conservation (WWNRC)
TEAM: Stella Wanjala and Catherine Ondele MISSION: WASH, climate change, entrepreneurship
Our favorite WWNRC stories: Blog: GWWI Partners with KIVA So WWNRC Offer Their Own Project Financing Article: Rose Wamalwa, WWNRC Founder and GWWI Coordinator Is Named One of the Eight African Water Women To Watch Alongside President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and President Joyc Banda of Malawi! Blog: First Baby Born at Village Clinic Because WWNRC Builds Rainwater Harvesting Tanks to Supply Water Blog: Rose Wamalwa Tells the Story How Having Water Changed a Local Clinic To Be Able to Offer More Health Services
As a result of the first 8 months of our multi-year training program, our infograph below shows the women accomplished the following... (see full infograph here)
WHO'S TALKING ABOUT US
News, Articles and Presentations (click the icon to read/view more) Blogs: Read the women's stories
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