Monday, 16 November 2020 12:25

Gender and Sustainable Water Management and Conservation: A Case of Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya

Written by M. K. Mugambi
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M. K. Mugambi

Kenyatta University, P.O. Box 109-60400 Chuka, Kenya. +254(20)707345246

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Gender equity and women’s empowerment are prerequisites to effective conservation, climate action and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. In view of its ecological, social and economic value, water is an important renewable natural resource. Its significance is felt in areas such as rural development, land-use planning, food supply, tourism, scientific research and cultural heritage. A better understanding of the different roles, knowledge, needs and aspirations of women and men with regard to water management and conservation can help us achieve the twin goals of better conservation outcomes and increased gender equity. This study aimed at assessing the gender and sustainable water management and conservation in Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya. The study was carried out in four selected water projects in Tharaka Nithi County. Descriptive survey and sequential explanatory mixed method approach were adopted for the study. A sample size of 167 respondents comprising of water managers, staff in water projects, water users and local water committees participated in the study. Data was collected using questionnaires, interview schedule and focused group discussion. The findings showed that there were gender disparities in water management and conservation in Tharaka Nithi County. Women were underrepresented as staff, water managers and local water committee members in the selected water projects. The study further found that these disparities impacted negatively on sustainable water management and conservation. Conflict over water resources, delayed installation, repairs, maintenance and reporting leakages as well as cultivation in river banks were reported as trickle down effects of gender inequalities in sustainable water management and conservation. The study recommends that the water projects and institutions should incorporate more women into water management and conservation projects as well as employ gender advocacy and empowerment programs to facilitate gender equity in water management and conservation.

Key words: Gender, Dynamics, Sustainable water management, Conservation

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