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Blog: Young AfriAlliance supports mainstreaming gender in water management

  • Neha Mungekar
    Neha Mungekar
    Doctoral Researcher, Urban Designer, Photo Journalist
    DRIFT for Transition
  • Young AfriAlliance
  • World Water Week
  • gender equality
  • Gender Sensitive Development

Contemporary studies have shown that “water crisis is crisis of governance”, rather than simply perceiving it as a technical problem. The debate around water is not just about scarcity, pollution and allocation but also about the distribution of the source, voices, authority and knowledge. The Stockholm World Water Week (SWWW), a week-long global water conference, is looking to initiate and convene discussions around this subject. The theme for this year is ‘Water, ecosystems and human development’. Starting from the 26th August 2018 till 31st August 2018, the programme aims to bring experts, practitioners, decision-makers, business innovators and young professionals from a range of sectors and countries under one roof and facilitate exchange of ideas, innovation and solutions.

I am an urban designer by profession and currently pursuing post graduate studies in Water Management and Governance at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in partnership with UNESCO in the Netherlands. My thesis research looks at Gender and Water studies in Africa. The SWWW is hosting a variety of programs around this topic. This conferences provides me with a platform to learn different dimensions on this subject and meet professionals who are currently engaged with work around Gender and developing projects in Africa. I am personally interested to attend sessions on ‘Gender Sensitive Development’, ‘Participated sustainable development: the role of citizen observatories’ and ‘A new global initiative: The Alliance for Freshwater Life’.

Women fetching water

It is through the AfriAlliance project that I received the opportunity to attend this resourceful event. AfriAliance serves as an incubator that builds and develops networks between scientists, decision makers, practitioners, and other key stakeholders. There are many well-meaning young professionals based in Africa wanting to influence positively but lack in opportunity and networks. There is a need to understand women’s role in such decision making process. Young AfriAlliance generates that base to foster interaction with people researching on similar subject, which will help advance my study. It connects young innovators, professionals and students like me and create novel ideas for ongoing issues. Moreover, participating in AfriAlliance project not just creates a repository of ideas but also help in building better networks with like-minded people. Such an opportunity serves as a stepping stone for a prospective career in the water sector.

As a student I have been following the work of AfriAlliance via various online mediums. It is inspiring to see how gaps are bridged and innovations reach people and places who require them the most. To be part of this knowledge network is extremely insightful. Being an inter-disciplinarian myself, I understand the worth of these networks and how much value they can bring to the project. One is also exposed to range of new information that helps grow in this field. With just one month to go, I am very much looking forward to the host of ideas, networks and knowledge that this place will generate. It feels great to be a contributor to this source of information as well. This give and take is definitely going to enrich me as a student and a young professional from the water sector.

Blog author Neha Mungekar is working on an MSc in Water Management and Governance course at IHE Delft

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