Sharing experiences and working together to make WASH sector more gender and socially inclusive

edited 2 DSC01438-640x480A Follow up and learning sharing meeting of Technical Working Group (TWG) on Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI)  of WASH sector was organised  on 17th December 2014 at DECC  hall, Tripureswor, Kathmandu. The GESI TWG is one of the eight technical working groups formed by the second Joint Sector Review (JSR)  to improve sector planning process and implementation in a coordinated manner by bringing together a broad spectrum of WASH stakeholders comprising of the governmental officials, development partners,  civil society actors and private sector. 

(This article was originally published on RWSSPWN's website)

The first follow up meeting of GESI TWG was attended by 21 representatives from various organizations working in the WASH sector, including representatives from Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS), Sector Efficiency Improvement Unit (SEIU) and Embassy of Finland.

The objectives of the meeting were to share GESI applications and strategies and to develop a way forward strategy to make GESI/HRBA effective in WASH sector

Two presentations were made in the meeting.  Mr. Post Raj Dhungana presented the GESI action plan as per the GESI operational guidelines of Ministry of Urban Development. The discussion focused on developing a common understanding on various concepts related to gender, social equity and social inclusion. He also mentioned the two decisions made in JSR II: to allocate budget for GESI by all organisations and apply the MoUD GESI operational guidelines in GESI implementation.

The second presentation made by Ms. Pamela White, GESI & HRBA Expert of FCG International, was on GESI/HRBA strategy of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme in western Nepal (RWSSP-WN II) and Rural Village Water Resource Management Project (RVWRMP II). Her presentation generated lot of discussion on water and sanitation right issues from human right perspective,  which is still not much discussed in the sector. From the HRBA point of view, the main contemporary issues are to ensure right to water and sanitation for disabled persons, frail people and elderly people; overcome existing mensuration hygiene taboos and social dogma; and fulfill right to water and sanitation  which is safe, hygienic, secure, socially and culturally acceptable, provides privacy and ensures dignity.

Nepal has very good policy on GESI but the field level implementation remains a challenge. The main issues, as discussed by the group, are unavailability of disaggregated data, deep rooted attitudes of policy makers/implementers, lack of meaningful participation of women who are able to influence decision making processes and lack of user friendly, GESI compliant structural design of WASH facilities.

To make the GESI TWG effective the meeting discussed about the reformulation of group with specific TOR adding some new members in the group. The group also requested Sector Efficiency Improvement Unit (SEIU) to take a lead role in the group. The meeting concluded with following decisions:

Reformulation of Technical Working Groups  including more members  and changing the role of Lead and Co-lead

Strengthening the role of  TWG with SEIU taking the lead roleRegularization of TWG meeting

Organise a meeting  to build common understanding on GESI and HRBA concepts in WASH sector

In concluding remarks,  Mr. Madhav Bhattarai, Senior Division Engineer and National Program Director for  RVWRMP II  spoke on the need of integrating right based approach  in the WASH sector development plan, as the issue of HRBA in WASH sector i not as much known and talked  as the GESI issues.

Download the  GESI & HRBA for thematic working group 17.12.2014

Originally published on - Rwsspwn's website