A boat carrying woman and child in the river.

Women participation in Water Governance

Every year March 14, International Day of Action for Rivers is celebrated for the Dedication to Solidarity, when diverse communities around the world come together with one voice to say that our rivers matter.

The theme for this year International Day of Action for Rivers focuses on Women, Water and Climate Change.

Under TROSA (Transboundary Rivers of Southeast Asia) program, Oxfam in Myanmar’s implementing partner KESAN (Karen Environmental and Social Action Network) and Save the Salween Network (SSN) have been focusing on the Water Governance, Gender and capacity building of the women in the communities by the rivers in Myanmar.

“It is crucial to work closely with women in community in the water governance because they know the water need of their households and women have more awareness about their water resources in their community than men”, said Naw Aye Aye Myaing from KESAN.

“But we cannot link the water governance and women directly, they wouldn’t understand their importance and linkage first. So, when we engage them, we must explain them by relating with their daily routine activities. In that way they have become realize the importance of their roles in Water Governance”, “Even more, they become active to participate in the discussions and meetings”, she added.

“If we do not include women’s participation in our projects and activities in Water Governance, we will face bad consequences. Women have better knowledge of how to handle water usage in daily routine, for example how much water is needed for a day. If we do not put these considerations into account, we can even face social disputes over the water access”, Ko Thein Zaw from Save the Salween Network expressed his thought.

“We have to make strategic plan to include women and gender mainstreaming in our works. In some areas, we cannot discuss about women rights and gender issues openly due to the culture norms. So, we have to integrate gender with land rights, human rights and other issues.”, Ko Thein Zaw said.

Oxfam is committed to keep working with local partner organizations to improve the capacity, awareness and rights to govern the water resources which is essential to their daily lifes.