East African Breweries Plc (EABL) has partnered with CARE International in Kenya (CIK) to launch a Community Engagement toolkit for women’s equal participation in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
Women and children are disproportionately impacted by poor management of water systems, which in turn influences women’s and girls’ opportunities to develop, as they often miss out on education, income generating activities, and are further limited in participating in political activities.
Women have consequently accumulated considerable knowledge about water resources, ranging from quality and reliability to acceptable storage methods. Unfortunately, women are rarely involved in water user associations, public water management bodies, and water committees, thus hindering the success of water management efforts.
The toolkit will be used by EABL employees as well as their WASH delivery partners working on designing and implementing community WASH programmes. It will allow them to integrate this approach to surfacing and addressing social norms as part of future projects and programmes.
It introduces two new measures that include, gender-equal representation on community water committees and holding community dialogues that tackle barriers to women’s equal access to and agency over WASH.
“At EABL, our target is to reach 50% female beneficiaries in community programmes by 2030. We, however, recognise that our commitment to gender-equal representation on committees might confront prevailing social norms and deeply held beliefs around gender roles. It is on this basis that we partnered with CARE to develop this community engagement toolkit to facilitate meaningful conversations around these potential tensions responsibly and without harm,” Jane Karuku, EABL CEO and MD..
“Water is our most important ingredient. Preserving Water for Life’ is part of our sustainability strategy and outlines how we manage water in our supply chain, operations, and communities, as well as advocate collective action to improve water outcomes. The launch of this toolkit reaffirms our commitment to shift our programmes towards gender transformative approaches,” added Ms Karuku.
“Gender equality approaches and risk mitigation must become embedded within standardized programme design practices for all our community projects. The Community Engagement toolkit has put in place systems and structures that enable gender equity within the communities where EABL operates,” Maureen Miruka, Country Director, Care International Kenya.
Diageo and CARE share the mutual goal to provide equal access to, and control over, skills and productive resources, by tackling the root causes of gender inequality within communities and building inclusive communities that work for all.
By Martha Biginga.