Access to reliable water supply key to women empowerment

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Photo by Artsy Solomon from Pexels.

It is August and Women’s Month again, but this year the celebration of Women’s Day on August 9 and Women’s Month throughout the month takes place under difficult conditions as the country is in the grip of Covid-19.

The pandemic has led to more hardships for women. The pandemic has brought with it an increase in gender based violence with the majority of victims being women and children.

As pillars of their households and families, women are at the forefront in the fight against the pandemic to protect their families. One of the effective ways of fighting and curbing the spread of the coronavirus is the frequent and regular washing of hands and this requires a reliable supply of water. This then presents another challenge for women to ensure there is sufficient water for their families, especially in the rural and semi-rural parts of the country.

Most rural communities still depend on rivers and streams for water. Government, through its interventions and the Covid-19 water tanks and tankers intervention is trying to bring water closer to the communities but it is still women who must fetch this water from the communal tanks and tankers for their families.

Water is the source of life and critical for the socio-economic development of any society. Women carry the burden of ensuring water supply for their families and this also affects the girl child and negatively impacts on their development and empowerment as independent individuals. Access to water is crucial to ease the burden on the girl child and give her an equal opportunity to compete with the male counterparts for the same opportunities in life.

Government must accelerate its water provision projects to ensure that communities, especially the rural communities have access to water in their backyards to relieve women of the burden of scouring for water for their families.

In as much as it is Government’s responsibility to ensure access to water for all, it is the responsibility of communities to protect and safeguard water supply infrastructure for reliable water supply. Communities must also guard against corruption in water projects as corruption negatively affects service delivery. The protection of water infrastructure relieves women of the burden of walking distances to collect water, so let us all be responsible citizens for the benefit of our women and the girl child.

Reliable access to water is also important to protect women against abuse as criminals usually target and prey on women fetching water in remote areas. Women in rural areas have to wake up early in the morning to fetch water to ensure that their families are able to bath and eat thereby becoming exposed to all kinds of dangers, such as rape and at most even death. This is the reality faced by women committed to make the lives of their families better. It is therefore important that government fulfils its mandate of access to water by ensuring reliable water supply closer to these wonderful women of our country.

Access to water is a basic human right and it is therefore important that government fast-tracks universal access to water for all the citizens of the country, especially the most vulnerable communities in the rural areas. This will go a long way in protecting and empowering our women in the rural areas. Access to water will ensure that rural women also have an equal opportunity to develop themselves and their communities.

The pandemic has laid bare the challenges faced by communities, especially women in accessing much needed water, therefore government must ensure a sustainable and long lasting water supply solution to the vulnerable communities so as to protect and preserve the dignity of our women. It is now the time for action for the sake of the beautiful women of this country.