Kenyan Women in Water Supply and Provision
The increasing international attention to the gender perspective in relation to water and sanitation has been catalyzed by the Millennium Development Goal on environmental sustainability…
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The goal reiterates the lobbying for gender empowerment and justice at all stages in the formulation of decisions and establishing policies. Introduction According to Rop, gender can be defined as the roles, activities and behavior socially developed and assigned to women and men in the society CITATION Wag04 \l 1033 .The effects of these roles manifest in the form of gender inequalities especially in terms of increased favoritism for men at the expense of women. In relation to water and sanitation in Africa, the integration of gender dimensions plays a key role especially when examining the roles of both women and men in its provision and access. In attempting to achieve the millennium development goal number seven, sanitation and water plays a significant part by incorporating the crucial role played by women. This is evident by the general importance of women in collecting water for utilization in irrigation of food crops, ensuring hygiene, and sanitation services as well as in taking care of domesticated animals. In addition, sanitation integrates measures aimed at minimizing humans’ vulnerability to infection by entitlement to a clean environment for living. The figure below represent the interconnection between the attainment of gender equality for women and how it impacts on water and sanitation and finally the positive effects on health, income generation and education. In Africa, women are tasked with bearing the burden of gender inequalities; which is evident by the fact that they are engaged in the burden of several kilometer-walk in search of water. Furthermore, they are the managers and users of the water as given that they engage in maintaining hygiene in their homesteads. However, the consistent failure by states to ensure that women’s rights to quality and sufficient water aggravates their capacity to ensure a healthy environment for their families and equally increases their burden in ensuring sanitation and hygiene in their families CITATION Wag04 \l 1033 . The water and sanitation sector in Africa seeks to resolve the issues pertaining to availability and access of sufficient and secure supply of water and sanitation services. Equally so is the need to ensure that members of the community are able to manage and obtain safe drinking water by 2015 CITATION Wag04 \l 1033 . It is equally considered necessary to mainstream gender issues to the water and sanitation debate especially the roles played by women and how they are affected. The primary reason is due to the recognition that it is women and children who are adversely affected by inefficiencies in water supply and sanitation facilities. Gender inequalities have burdened the capacity of women regarding water and sanitation issues which has lead to a more plagued society than before. There are a myriad of issues encountered by women in relation to the provision of water and sanitation. Looking at it from a Kenyan perspective, the following sections will determine the gender construed roles and practices in relation to water supply and its effects on women and children. Furthermore, the challenges faced by the women in Kenya pertaining to water and sanitation will be highlighted. Kenyan Women’s role in Water Collection and Consequent Effects In relation to water supply, Kenyan women are tasked with the responsibility of fetching water as they walk for kilometers ( as much as 15 to 20km) in search of the vital resources. The women are left with the decision on fetching water of better quality from a far of water source or opting for one that provides poor quality in a nearby area. Reliable and fresh water sources are found
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