Global Resources

Passport to mainstreaming gender in water programmes

Publication Date: Jan 2012
Although recently there has been a shift in agricultural water management projects and programmes from technical to more participatory approaches, women are still often excluded from the design, planning and implementation processes. This is because planners, engineers, extension staff and decision makers do not perceive women as farmers. This results in women’s knowledge, needs and requirements being frequently overlooked, which often has negative impacts; for example irrigation designs which fail to recognise women as water users and farmers in their own right, risks women losing access to land or the products of their own labour.

This resource is developed for field staff involved in the design, implementation and maintenance of water management projects for agricultural production as well as for NGOs, local government employees, technicians and agents in local irrigation and extension services. The purpose of the passport is to support them in mainstreaming a gender aware perspective during planning, implementation and management of agricultural water management projects and programmes. The passport can be used to assess gaps at the design stages as well identifying the gender aspects of existing problems at the implementation stage.
The passport is divided up into key themes for designing gender-sensitive interventions. These are:
  • Access to land and water
  • Farming context
  • Multiple use of water 
  • Management of irrigation systems
  • Water distribution, irrigation practices and maintenance
  • Other environmental issues
Each theme contains a short introduction, and a list of questions on key issues of gender equity which guide the user to better understand the constraints, opportunities and priorities encountered by different water users (men, women, the elderly, children, minorities, ethnic groups, different caste and socio-economic groups) in their water management activities. For example key questions related to access to land and water include who can use the water, who can decide on the use and management of water resources, what types of land tenures exist and who within the household farms the land. In the farming context section questions are asked around farming practices, means of production and benefits of agriculture outputs.