Poor water and sanitation affects women more in African societies, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has said.
The added that the discrepancy is gender based as African women bear the brunt through inequality, especially when it comes to access to education for girls and women.
“In Africa drawing water, transportation, storage and use, and cleanliness of public and private facilities are mostly the responsibility of women who are most affected by scarcity of water and insufficient water supply,” it said.
In rural areas women and girls are obliged to trek up to 15 kilometers every day to fetch water while in urban areas insufficient water supply results in long waiting lines lasting hours and causing social conflicts.
“Poor sanitation facilities also cause high number of girls drop out in school when they reach puberty that is why water and sanitation programmes should have gender equality in planning,” AfDB added.
AfDB said that under its Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative launched in 2003 in partnership with other donors 51 million people have access to clean drinking water and it has aided in building sanitation facilities for 34 million people, of whom 50 per cent are women.
The initiative seeks to involve a gender approach while offering water and sanitation projects to contribute in reduction of water-related chores and increase rate of school attendance for girls, increase income generating activities and create healthy environment.
“These projects need better representation by women in decision-making committees which decreases acts of violence and aggression against women who fetch water from long distances,” the bank said.
Women should also be involved during financing and management of water resources between institutions which will transform the current cultural and social order in the continent.
“This cooperation will also contribute to the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment faced primarily by women and children,” it stressed.
Manuel Odeny © 2013