March 2016: Cowater Celebrates International Woman’s day 2016
For over 30 years, Cowater has successfully implemented projects in developing and transitioning countries with a focus on promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls. Our projects have integrated robust gender equality strategies that have ensured the achievement of sustainable results across a variety of development sectors, including: health, education, water and sanitation, public financial management, local governance and economic development. We have developed approaches, methodologies, and tools to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in the most difficult of places.
March 8 is the time to celebrate progress made by women and take stock of the changes. This year, the global theme is ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality’. The idea behind this theme is to consider how to accelerate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals, especially goals number four and five: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning and Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, respectively.
Cowater works at multiple levels with governments, on strengthening the national and sub-national machinery to advance women’s empowerment and gender mainstreaming as well as with civil society organizations, private sector, and local communities, to strengthen women’s capacity to become meaningful development actors and agents of change.
Cowater recently wrapped up operations on two very successful projects in Indonesia – both funded by the Government of Canada. SIPS Support to Indonesia’s Islands of Integrity Program for Sulawesi. Partnering with Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi), or KPK, Cowater’s focus was to reduce opportunities for corruption in sub-national governments across the country. While doing so, Cowater also supported national, provincial and district-level government counterparts in meeting their obligations to provide access to government services in a gender equitable manner. Participants in SIPS’ gender mainstreaming training activities increased their understanding of the challenges facing women in accessing public services and their ability to implement mitigating measures into their service delivery approaches and planning tools. Through such interventions, the understanding of Cowater’s sub-national government partners on how to reach out to women and other vulnerable groups increased significantly over the life of the project. It is now the norm to find one-stop-shop and population administration service centres offering gender-sensitive facilities, such as a nursing room and separate toilets for men and women.
Cowater implemented the DFAT-funded Citizen Engagement for Social Service Delivery (CESSD) Project in Pakistan. This project is working in 11 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province, creating a space for women and men to support women’s rise to leadership, bridging gaps at the community level. To date, CESSD has provided access to education to over 7,700 women and girls together with gender equality training to 2,000 local government employees.
Cowater is also implementing the DFAT-funded Empowering Indonesian Women for Poverty Reduction (MAMPU) Program in Indonesia, where we work with local Indonesian civil society organizations, parliamentarians and local governments to positively influence policy and decision-making to bring about meaningful reforms that will increase access to critical services and livelihoods for women and girls.
At Cowater, we believe that the empowerment of women and girls is critical to reducing poverty and achieving prosperous growth. In line with the 2015 International Development Agenda, we will continue our efforts to promote women’s voice and agency for a better tomorrow.