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Addressing two critical MDGs together: gender in water, sanitation and hygiene initiative

CollectionsPacific Economic Bulletin (1991-2010)
Title: Addressing two critical MDGs together: gender in water, sanitation and hygiene initiative
Author(s): Willetts, Juliet
Halcrow, Gabrielle
Carrard, Naomi
Rowland, Claire
Crawford, Jo
Date published: 2010
Publisher: Asia Pacific Press
Increasing access to water, sanitation and hygiene education and advancing gender equality are critical issues for Pacific island nations. This article proposes that water, sanitation and hygiene issues and gender equality can be constructively addressed together, with the former three providing an entry point for the latter. Empirical results are presented from strengths-based research conducted in Vanuatu and Fiji, investigating gender outcomes arising from water, sanitation and hygiene interventions. A range of positive outcomes are identified. These include some expected outcomes—for example, a reduction in women’s labour associated with collecting water—as well as several unexpected strategic gender outcomes, including women taking on leadership roles and men assuming greater responsibility for hygiene in the home. Another important finding in one community was a reduction in household violence against women caused by conflict over water management. The research articulates positive gender outcomes associated with water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives and demonstrates that these can be achieved by implementing relatively simple, cost-effective and known strategies for integrating gender considerations into water, sanitation and hygiene programming.
ISSN: 0817-8038


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