International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
Catchment: An Answer to the Water Scarcity of the Next Millennium."
Petrolina, Brazil - July 1999
Section 6: Gender and Community Related Aspects of Rainwater Catchment
The Role of Women in Water Development
Millie N. Ouma & Julius M. Wanyonyi
P.O. Box 72387, Nairobi, Kenya
In rural areas of developing countries, such as Kenya, women
understand the urgent need for improved accessibility to water sources. It is
estimated that most rural women spent more than 80 percent of their time
drawing, carrying, managing and using water. In most cases this water is
inadequate and unsafe. About 67.5 % of the rural and 6.7% of the urban
households have access to unsafe water sources. (CBS's Housing Survey 1994).
Most women may not be aware of water related diseases nor do
they see a direct relationship between improved water supply and health, but
once water sources become available, they quickly evaluate the benefits in
terms of improved sanitation, personal hygiene, increased food security and
Clearly, women have much to gain from an improved water
supply through rainwater collection. The additional time gained will ensure its
sustainability, because the time saved can be used for income generating
activities, such as growing more food crops, commercial activities, and promoting
their family health.
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