Delft, The Netherlands, 12 Jun 2017

Coca-Cola grant for the "Women and Water for Change in Communities" Project

IHE Delft has received a grant from the Coca-Cola foundation to fund the "Women and Water for Change in Communities" Project. This 2-year project will develop actions that empower women and youth in a number of rural African communities for a more sustainable use of water and promote wise use and stewardship of natural resources.

Empower women to take a leadership role

The project’s overall purpose is to empower women to take a leadership role in local sustainable use of water, water-related natural resources and public health. The targeted training of a small number of women will be an important enabling factor to enhance and disseminate knowledge and skills. This will include supporting local women in identifying new approaches to water management, public health and to develop locally driven entrepreneurship. 

Work with local communities in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia

The project team will work with local communities and IHE partners in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.  Adopting an “action research” approach, the project will both stimulate and reflect on activities and responses to project initiatives for more inclusion of women and youth in the management of their own resources, and through the understanding of particular local contexts.   The project will work towards building critical-mass at the community level, and how each of the communities apply the opportunities provided by the project to increase awareness of water stewardship and its economic benefits in each location. This will include developing, and identifying new, economic opportunities, skills in community-driven assessment of local resources and techniques for raising awareness and outreach. The project will also pay specific attention to ICT-enabled local monitoring, examining the opportunities and conditions for using ICTs to improve community participation in water management and how ICT-based monitoring of water and other natural resources can make for better decision making at the local scale.

Lessons shared among the communities in the three countries can stimulates wider awareness and understanding across similar settings in sub-Saharan Africa. The project will work with existing partners (BirdLife International in Tanzania and Uganda, Nature Uganda in Uganda and WWF in Zambia), MacArthur Foundation, WWF). The project sites range from large areas surrounding the Mara wetland in Tanzania, a small community of Mabamba Bay on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda and the Wakiso district in western Zambia. At all of the project sites the project will work with local women leaders to diversify and improve the security of their economic base. Development is an activity that builds capacity and local confidence. In and around the Mara wetland in Tanzania, where communities are highly dependent on a combination of interconnected agricultural and wetland activities, IHE Delft is working with the communities and BirdLife International in developing a management plan. In Mabamba Bay, the project will build on recent training and support provided by Nature Uganda to develop sustainable natural resource management and support the capacity of local women groups to benefit from small-scale ecotourism activities. In the Kavango-Zambezi, a largely dry-land area of Zambia, the project will work across a network of 24 Village Action Groups established in co-operation with IHE Delft for greater women empowerment and economic betterment.