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Women for Water Initiative

Equal access to safe drinking water and healthy sanitation through participation and empowerment.


What is the Women for Water Initiative? 

The Women for Water Initiative (WfWI) is a partnership bringing together the strengths of local, national and international women’s organizations working in the field of water, sustainable development, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

It is a call to governments, development organizations and the private sector to enter into a structural and long-term partnership with the women’s organizations by facilitating the fully-fledged participation of women throughout the development process aiming at equal access to water and the benefits arising form this access.

There is ample evidence showing that more gender equality in a society means less poverty and better chances for sustainable development. Therefore the key issue is not whether a gender equality perspective should be integrated into the management of water resources and services but how this needs to be done.

What are the objectives of the partnership?

The overall goal of the WfWI is to bridge the gap which exists between the internationally agreed principles for sustainable water management and the day-to-day practice, through
  • establishing a broad alliance between women’s organizations functioning as an interface between local women groups, (inter)national partnerships and organizations responsible for sustainable water management
  • addressing the institutional barriers preventing women and men from enjoying equal rights; thus providing the missing link between macro and micro level interventions
  • putting the Dublin Principles 2 and 3 into practice

  • responding to the WSSD call for equal participation of all Major Groups in the implementation of the Agenda 21 by establishing type-2 partnerships
  • monitoring implementation, identifying bottlenecks and opportunities and thus functioning as a Women’s Water Watch

What is the strategy of the partnership?

The partner organizations continue working in their own field of expertise in which they have gained a wealth of experience.  The WfWI partners are active at all relevant levels and areas ranging from setting up a local women’s group with the aim to manage sanitation facilities, to lobbying governments at international fora, urging them to adopt gender responsive budgeting as an important tool for gender mainstreaming. All of these contribute to pro-poor and sustainable development.

The partnership members share an important asset compared to other actors in the development arena, namely that their interventions are based on broad grass-root level support: women constitute the vital rank and file of the organization.

The WfWI shares information on good practices ( database online since 1 March 2004), contributes to building an enabling environment for local initiatives for water management, establishes links between thematic and stakeholder networks, promotes the generation of demand-driven programmes and projects and helps to generate funds.

Take up the challenge and become engaged in a partnership based on a joint commitment to ecological and social sustainable development wherein women’s organizations, public authorities and private sector representatives participate on an equal footing!

The Founding Members of the WfWI are:
  • The Netherlands Council of Women (NVR)  *Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF)
  • Business & Professional Women International (BPWI) * ZijActief Nederland
  • On request Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)* Network Women & Water, Sri Lanka (NetWwater) * International Women’s Archives & Documentation Centre (IIAV)  lay-out and logo’s to be added later.