Advancing Gender Equality: Progress in Latin America’s Water & Sanitation Sector

In many households across Latin America and beyond, there exists a societal expectation that women primarily assume the responsibility for overseeing water-related tasks such as cooking, dishwashing, laundry, and fetching water from its source. This historical assignment of household chores has resulted in women being disproportionately impacted by water access challenges at the community level. Recognizing the pivotal role women play in this sector, Green Empowerment is committed to actively involving women at every level in advancing water access initiatives. From community leadership to partnerships and within our own staff, women contribute significantly to shaping the future of water access. Notably, 55% of leadership roles in our community-level water and energy committees are held by women, and over 60% of our staff are women. We are also committed to being part of the international conversations that push these themes forward.

Left: A community member from Rio Abajo, Nicaragua explains the Water & Sanitation (WaSH) projects to a visiting Green Empowerment Board Member. Right: Women in El Volcan, Nicaragua carrying water reservoirs.

Joining Environmental Conservation Dialogues

Recently, Paola Moreno Bermúdez and Claudia Romero Saavedra, key members of Green Empowerment’s Latin America team, participated in important environmental conservation events. As advocates for gender equality, Paola and Claudia not only learn and engage at these events but also actively share our model and values.

Workshop on Environmental Conflicts: Water and Energy: Our Colombia Program Coordinator, Paola Moreno Bermúdez, was invited to this event by Fondo Emerger. The workshop included diverse participants from Colombia in the north, the departments of Sucre and Cesar, the Magdalena and the Andean zone, and the Amazon region with the departments of Putumayo, Caqueta. This event aimed to fortify the leadership and influence of environmental defenders, utilizing popular community pedagogy and collaborative learning methodologies. The discussions delved into critical topics such as climate change, watershed conservation, biodiversity, fracking, peace restoration, food security, and indigenous peoples’ life plans.

Paola Moreno Bermúdez, Green Empowerment’s Colombia Program Coordinator, attended the Workshop on Environmental Conflicts: Water and Energy.

International Research Congress: Technologies for Environmental Conservation: Our Peru & Bolivia Program Coordinator, Claudia Romero Saavedra, spoke at this event organized by Technological University of Peru. Bringing together experts and researchers from Peru, Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia, the congress aimed to contribute valuable insights to the academic community, showcasing various alternatives for sustainable development, including innovative technological solutions. Claudia’s participation highlights the effectiveness of using an educational and technological approach that emphasizes learning within a specific community, integrating local knowledge, experiences, gender approach, and cultural context into the teaching process. We aim to apply this method in our Water and Sanitation (WaSH) projects with local partners to encourage more active participation of women in decision-making processes.

Claudia Romero Saavedra, Green Empowerment’s Peru & Bolivia Program Coordinator, spoke at the International Research Congress: Technologies for Environmental Conservation.

The Next Steps for Inclusive Environmental Action

In conclusion, Paola highlights how participation in sector conversations can lead back to more gender equity within communities:

We are proud of the work we are already doing in this area and we see that there is much more to do. Thanks to generous funding from Christadelphian Meal-A-Day of the Americas, in 2024 Paola Moreno will be researching effective methods for introducing more active and sustained participation of women in WaSH project planning, building, and leadership. We will be developing a field guide for Green Empowerment and our partners to bring these ideals into action. Stay tuned for updates from Paola and the team on this exciting work.

1 Comments

  1. David Siegel on February 21, 2024 at 5:26 pm

    This is great – getting the word out regarding the progress made (and giving a shout-out to our partners and funders is critical — keeps us “top of mind”. This is just the right amount of info…could also provide a link for those wishing to know more. Just wanted to say “well done”!

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