The Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) is pursuing a policy of involving more women in the community water management systems in Ghana’s rural areas.
The Agency has also partnered with the College of Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, to train and offer opportunities to technically competent women to serve as role models for young girls to take up science-based careers.
Dr WorlanyoKwadjoSiabi, Chief Executive Officer, CWSA, disclosed this to the media in response to a recent report by Global Water Partnership that posit that management of water progress had been slow and was still male dominated.
A report by Global Water Partnership, an international Organisation with a focus on water resources management, found Ghana in the medium to low range in the implementation of gender mainstreaming policies.
The report said although Ghana and other medium-low ranked countries had good policies detailing the roles of women in water resources management, they were still struggling to implement them.
He observed that in the case of Ghana, there were many women coming-up strongly to take up water management roles at higher levels on rural and small-town water systems.
Dr Siabi mentioned that the role of women had become more significant when the CWSA restructured its role in water provision and management within the WASH Sub-sector in the country.
Currently, women played more managerial roles in water management than previously, adding that they were increasingly playing roles such as engineer, accountants, community relation officers, revenue staff and technicians at the water systems levels.
He averred that women's role in the water sector could not be overlooked due to their passion for water availability, water user friendliness, of the technologies being implemented to aid and simplify water delivery.
Dr Siabi said the Rural Water and Sanitation Sub-sector Reforms project, which was initiated in 2017, was targeted at ensuring the sustainability of investments in water provision and management.
He stated that the Community Management concept, which was implemented over 20 years brought about a number of challenges that necessitated changes.
The transformation initiative, Dr Siabi noted, ensured that professional staff were employed to deal with challenges such as water quality, high energy cost, increasing water losses and frequent water system breakdown.
He mentioned that there were some communities where the Agency deliberately posted women to serve as role models and to prove a point that women were competent and capable of playing leadership roles.
Mr George Yorke, Head of Policy, Advocacy and Campaign, Water Aid Ghana, speaking to the media, called for more inclusion of women in all water resource management bodies to ensure better management of the resource and its sustainability.
“As most of the communities in rural areas that operate water systems like boreholes and dugouts, women have no or less voice in its management. This is a big issue, women use the water more than men so they rather need to be given the opportunity to play an active role,” he said.
Mr. Yorke said it was an act of injustice towards women because issues of water directly affected them and that it was right for them to participate actively in search for water solutions.
“Women understand the issue regarding water very well, they know the impact of lack of water in their daily lives so if we really want to do a better analysis and management of the resource, it is right to involve them. If we do not, we may just be addressing symptoms instead of root causes,” he said.
Referencing the recent provisional results of the 2021 census, he mentioned that women formed the majority of the nation's population, explaining that it was not only fair but important to enable them form part of the management team to make decisions.