Letter from the Water Office - January 2014

Women are half of the world's population, but their voices too often go unheard. The USAID Water and Development Strategy prioritizes empowering women and promoting gender equality through water programs. We dedicate this edition of Global Waters to these key issues.

In our Perspectives piece, Gemma Bulos, director of the Global Women’s Water Initiative, calls on the development community to train more women to become WASH leaders. She shares stories of women who were inspired through education to transform their lives and help bring their communities out of poverty.

Our cover story builds on this theme and looks at the ways USAID programs have targeted women to become leaders on water issues–and the challenges they have faced. While projects often encounter social and cultural obstacles, the benefits of this engagement can be seen from Tajikistan to Indonesia, where women are rising up and leading initiatives to improve agricultural productivity, education, and child health.

Our In Focus story introduces readers to a community of women fish processors in the picturesque coastal village of Cayar, Senegal. The women spend every day singing, dancing, and working together to improve the environment, make fisheries more sustainable, and increase their community’s resilience to climate change. It is a heartwarming story of the unstoppable power of a determined community of women.

Finally, we are proud to bring you an interview with Vikki Stein, the new director of the USAID Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Office. Ms. Stein began her development career working on water issues in Honduras and feels strongly about the link between water and women. She says that integrating gender into all of USAID’s activities around the world is the key to helping those who need it most. We look forward to working alongside her to foster a world where men and women alike are empowered, educated, and unburdened by lack of access to water.

Happy holidays! We hope you enjoy this issue of Global Waters.

The Water Office

waterteam@usaid.gov

Last updated: January 06, 2014

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