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Gender Mainstreaming and Development of a Water Sector Gender Strategy

The Kenya Water and Sanitation Programme (KWSP) comprises 3 components: water resources management (WRM); rural water supply and sanitation (RWSS); and support to water sector reform (WSR). The Programme is expected to lead to substantial social (increase in quality of life for the poorest) and economic (revival of economic infrastructure) gains and will create outputs that can be measured and monitored both during and after the cooperation effort. It is also expected that the programme will result in substantial gains for the environment (sustainable management of Kenya’s most precious natural resource: water), poverty reduction and equity (including special attention to gender issues, the situation of the child and action prompted by the HIV/AIDS pandemic), human rights (enabling water users to know and use their rights) and good governance (a focus on use of democratic mechanisms to empower consumers and local organizations).

Gender responsiveness has not been adequately recognised in structuring reforms. Such recognition needs to be made not only in the methods and approaches for field work in water and sanitation but also within the operations of sector institutions. The most important new institutions in the Water Sector are the following: Water Service Boards, Water Services Trust Fund, Water Resources Management Authority, Water Services Regulatory Board and Water Appeal Board.

The objective of the assignment was to incorporate the gender dimension into all institutional levels of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation including all programmes as well as with the relevant stakeholders and target audiences involved in the sector. Engendering investments and operational plans, capacity building and implementation strategies, guidelines, tools and manuals and the methods used to empower communities were the sub-objectives of the assignment.

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