ISLAMABAD-The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Pakistan organised a consultative training workshop to highlight the role of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and to equip participants with practical tools to integrate GESI in their work.
The workshop was aimed to enhance participants’ understanding of GESI principles and their application within the framework of IWRM, build capacity of stakeholders to integrate GESI in policies and programmes, and brainstorm solutions to enhance GESI considerations in the water sector. The workshop was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Federal Flood Commission (FFC), Capital Development Authority (CDA), Establishment Division, academia, and civil society.
The event was organised under the UK Aid-funded Water Resource Accountability in Pakistan (WRAP) Programme Component 1: Climate Resilient Solutions for Improving Water Governance (CRS-IWaG). Dr Mohsin Hafeez, Director Water, Food and Ecosystems, IWMI, and Team Leader, WRAP Programme Component 1: CRS-IWaG, gave an overview of IWMI’s projects in Pakistan, especially how the WRAP Programme Component 1: CRS-IWaG will contribute towards improving water governance at the federal level and in Punjab. An introduction to IWRM and the importance of gender and youth inclusion was given by Dr Jehanzeb Masud Cheema, Researcher Water Resources Management, IWMI Pakistan. According to him, “Women play a central role in provision, management and safeguarding of water resources. Based on our interactions with different stakeholders in Okara district under the WRAP Programme Component 1: CRS-IWaG, women in rural areas are engaged in collection of drinking water. We should include rural women in capacity building initiatives, so that they are able to manage their water resources effectively.
Failure to address gender issues leads to inefficient and unsustainable results and may exacerbate inequalities.” Sidra Khalid, Researcher Gender and Social Inclusion, IWMI Pakistan, gave a presentation on mainstreaming GESI in IWRM. According to her, “Gender analysis is essential for successful water programming. It allows us to understand social and power relations across all groups and promotes successful and sustainable water solutions. GESI is about addressing all gender and social groups to promote efficient use and equal access to resources and opportunities.” Sidra also led the Power Walk Activity – an interactive session to raise awareness on the disparities that exist within the water sector and the need for more inclusive practices. Kanwal Waqar, Researcher Gender and Youth Specialist, IWMI Pakistan, led a group activity pertaining to gender inclusion and urged to recognise the role of women in ensuring water security at household level.
According to her, “Women are water users in all sectors of the economy including agriculture, livestock, and industry. The participation of women and youth in water management, particularly in rural agricultural communities is limited in Pakistan, whereas the linkages between water, climate, gender disparities, and social exclusion are more pronounced. Despite women’s visible role in water security, the water sector remains highly dominated by men. Under the WRAP Programme Component 1: CRS-IWaG, we’ll undertake initiatives to bridge the gender gaps by integrating GESI principles at every level of project design and implementation and ensure gender equity alongwith equality.”
The participants learned how different dimensions of a person’s identity interact with structural inequalities to impact access to and benefits from water resources and services.
Dr Jehanzeb Masud Cheema, Researcher Water Resources Management, IWMI Pakistan, gave concluding remarks.