SHF’s projects include women in all steps and decision-making.
Inadequate water and sanitation services affect all community members, but not all equally. For women and girls, the consequences can be severe and life altering.
Women and girls are primarily responsible for fetching the water needed for household use—drinking, cooking and bathing etc. Domestic water collection is a tiring chore that can take several hours each day, leaving less time for other more important activities such as attending school, caring for children, growing crops, adult education or running small businesses. Carrying water containers as heavy as 20 kilograms over long distances also result in serious health problems among women and girls.
Women and girls are also the hardest hit by absence of private toilet facilities. Lacking sanitation facilities may mean going the entire day without relief and then risking exposure and possibly assault at night. This routine is damaging to a woman’s physical well-being and limits equitable participation in the social and economic life of her community. The lack of clean and private sanitation facilities at schools, for example, is a primary source of absenteeism for young female students and teachers.
Being strongly aware that women are disproportionately affected by lack of clean water and sanitation, SHF places great importance on fully consulting women and engaging them in all stages of project implementation.
By incorporating gender considerations into project design and management —such matters as location, height of taps, and timing of community meetings etc.— SHF is able to ensure that the new water and sanitation facilities have the greatest possible positive impact on women’s lives.