Imo State Water and Sewerage Corporation (ISWSC), Nigeria

Engendering Utilities Partner Profile

ISWSC supplies water to over three million Nigerians in Imo state. Over 40 percent of staff at ISWSC are women, but few occupy technical and field-based roles.

While 70 percent of Nigeria’s population has access to basic water services, only 20 percent have access to safe water. Migration, urbanization, and rapid population growth have strained government efforts to deliver safe drinking water to Nigeria’s urban areas, where half of the country’s 185 million people have migrated over the past several decades. In 2018 the government of Nigeria developed the Water and Sanitation National Action Plan, and declared a state of emergency in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. The action plan outlines a five-year emergency response strategy and long-term plan to improve access to water and sanitation services across the country. Engendering Utilities’ work with ISWSC will ensure women can capitalize on increased investment in Nigeria’s water sector as the government scales services to meet the needs of all Nigerians.

A complex web of contributing factors prevents women in Nigeria from joining the formal workforce, particularly the male-dominated water sector. Less than half of Nigerian women participate in the labor force, and only 13 percent of working women are wage or salaried workers. Women are under-represented in higher-paid positions, and Nigeria’s gender pay gap is one of the highest in the world, with men earning 54 percent more than women. Engendering Utilities is supporting ISWSC to consider and respond to factors that reduce women’s workforce participation by building inclusive policies and practices that benefit men, women, and businesses in the water sector.

USAID is supporting ISWSC towards their goal of becoming a pioneer in gender equality among state-level water boards by providing change management coaching and leadership training, conducting a baseline assessment to identify gaps and opportunities for gender equality, and developing a strategic plan with ISWSC to facilitate the company’s gender equality goals.

USAID will also work to support and accelerate existing gender equality initiatives underway at ISWSC, including:

  • Review of the Equal Employment Opportunity Statement and HR Manual, which expresses and formalizes corporate commitment to gender and social inclusion, to ensure strong gender integration.
  • Develop a Male Engagement Strategy, which identifies and supports male leaders as champions of gender equality at ISWSC.
  • Increase Recruitment of Female Students, based on the utility’s recognition that female students are excelling in areas such as engineering, the company is eager to hire and support this burgeoning female talent.

USAID’s Engendering Utilities program works with electricity and water utilities in developing countries to increase economic opportunities for women, improve gender equality, boost business performance, and strengthen the energy and water sectors. Through a customized best practices framework, demand-driven coaching, and a Gender Equity Executive Leadership Program, Engendering Utilities builds the capacity of utility leaders to implement gender equality interventions that increase the professional participation of women and meet their core business goals.

Launched in 2015, the Engendering Utilities program demonstrates USAID’s commitment to promote a path to self-reliance and resilience in developing countries by fostering enterprise-driven innovation, inclusive economic growth, and gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. Engendering Utilities is a key activity under the U.S. Government’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP), which aims to reach 50 million women by 2025 through innovative and effective programs.

Date 
Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - 10:00pm

Last updated: August 12, 2020