I am a powerful woman! I am a leader! I am a global water champion!
The Global Women’s Water Initiative is a joint initiative that provides training for grassroots women and groups to implement water related-strategies through appropriate technologies, action planning, seed funding and leadership development so they can improve their communities health, self reliance, and resilience to climate change.
The 2011 East African Training program mobilized 55 African and international women to address the impact of climate change as it relates to water access, quality, and sanitation in their communities.
We are the peace leaders!
I have always imagined a world in which every woman could stand up in front of a room full of sisters, friends, or strangers and say without hesitation, without self-doubt, without self-criticism, “I am a powerful woman! I am a leader! I am a global water champion!”
Today was an inspiring manifestation of the strength, wisdom, compassion, and hope of every woman that lives each day with a dream that global access to reliable, adequate and safe sources of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) is an achievable reality. It was the first official day of the 2011 East Africa Global Women’s Water Initiative Training in Uganda—a day in which the seed of an empowered world was planted.
I have no doubt that it was also the first day of many in which that seed will continue to be nourished through the actions, love, and support of GWWI women leaders from across five nations. Although today was only the beginning of our journey as GWWI fellows, there is already a sense of kinship and camaraderie among the impassioned women, and it gives me hope that the transition for a better world is alive and well within the hearts, minds, and work of every woman around the globe.
Each woman present in the training shared a unique and fundamental connection to water; yet, despite the many differences in personal experience, background, or knowledge of water, almost everyone seemed to embrace the ideas that water is the essence of women, women are the heart of water, and water symbolizes peace.
Today was an internal journey as much as an external forum for cross-cultural information sharing. It was an opportunity to rekindle the spirit of water and leadership within each of us, and to open up our minds, bodies, and hearts—our whole beings—to the power and knowledge of ourselves and our fellow water sisters and champions.
Through leadership activities, program and personal introductions, and a discussion on climate change I felt the enthusiasm, the, passion, and the exuberance surrounding women’s connection with, roles in and contributions to WASH expand steadily throughout the day. In addition, I watched every participant gallantly bridge cultural and racial boundaries, form relationships, build trust, and put her faith in the power of a unified network of resilient women that will, undoubtedly, expand the reach of WASH throughout communities around the world.
I truly believe that together we will exceed expectations, shatter social, political, and institutional boundaries, and show all the men, youth, children, naysayers and future leaders in our own communities and around the world that empowered women have the power and the capacity to create lasting, sustainable development, particularly in the WASH sector. After all, water is the essence of women, women are the heart of water, and water is peace.
We are the peace leaders!
The Global Women’s Water Initiative (GWWI) provides training for grassroots women and groups to implement water related-strategies through appropriate technologies, action planning, seed funding and leadership development so they can improve their communities health, self reliance, and resilience to climate change.
The Global Women’s Water Initiative emerged to address the need to include women in water and sanitation decisions in their communities. It began as a collaborative venture among three international organizations, A Single Drop, Crabgrass and Women's Earth Alliance each bringing a unique set of expertise. Their combined experiences, partnerships, and insights enhanced each other’s ability to achieve broader impact. GWWI is currently a program of Women's Earth Alliance (WEA) in partnership with Crabgrass.
Since 2008, GWWI has coordinated trainings in East and West Africa supporting women from 9 nations all over the continent. We have trained 60 grassroots women, providing them with the tools and technologies to implement sustainable water and sanitation strategies in their target communities. Within WEA, GWWI became an issue-based Initiative through WEAs Africa program. GWWIs ultimate goal is to provide issue-focused support to WEAs other regional programs.
GWWI Founding Partners:
A Single Drop (ASD) brought experience in technology transfer and organizational development from their social entrepreneurial programs - A Single Drop for Safe Water, a professional WASH Consultancy in the Philippines and Women Water Stewards in Africa. ASD coordinated the appropriate technology, WASH Education, on-the-ground follow-up training, and project implementation components for the Global Women’s Water Initiative. ASDs Women Water Stewards program has now been absorbed by Women's Earth Alliance to integrate into the Global Women's Water Initiative, and Gemma Bulos, Founder and Executive Director of ASD has now stepped into the role of Director of GWWI.
Crabgrass is a human rights organization that has addressed water and other issues since 1985. Crabgrass’s participation in the GWWI is built upon their three International Women and Water Conferences held in South Asia: one in Varanasi, India; one in Kathmandu, Nepal; and one in Dehradun, India. Crabgrass coordinates the research, strategy, and finance components of the GWWI.
Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA) brings an international network of information-sharing and pro-bono support, as well as access to web-based technology and network facilitation. WEA coordinates the information technology aspects of network support, and helps with follow-up funding opportunities through microfinance or other means. WEA also coordinates the PR components of the GWWI.