Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) in RWSSP-WN II


Water programs can bring positive change in the social position of the poor and excluded in society, creating a more equal and stable society where the needs of all are heard and fulfilled. The main objective of RWSSP-WN II is to ensure improved health and fulfilment of the equal right to water and sanitation for the inhabitants of the Project area. This calls for social change by empowering women and disadvantaged groups through an inclusive development process. The main ethos is ‘serve the unserved & leave no-one behind’.

RWSSP-WN II integrates and mainstreams the principles of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) in all its activities as a crosscutting objective.
Gender equality  is key for sustainable water services. Adopting a gender-sensitive and gender-wise approach improves the Project’s impact, performance and sustainability, as well as aligning with a human rights-based approach (link to page). In rural communities, women are in charge of domestic housework which is deeply connected to water and sanitation activities. Giving a voice to women on water management is of key concern to the project. LGBT and non-gender-binary people also face barriers to water and sanitation access so related issues are addressed throughout the Project: access to water and sanitation for all means all, regardless of gender or related orientation.

Social inclusion needs specific attention to ensure that project activities also benefit the poorest and most marginalized populations. Wide-spread caste-based discrimination patterns have a negative impact on development effectiveness, as they prevent equal access to natural resources and employment opportunities and results in economic marginalization of disadvantaged groups, such as Dalits and minority groups including people living with a disability.

Implementation of the GESI & HRBA Strategy will ensure that the project and its stakeholders adopt practices that lead to increased and equitable access to opportunities and resources and meaningful participation in decision making – particularly for women, the poor and socially excluded. The project enforces a strict quota policy to ensure that both women and men and all groups regardless of caste/ethnicity are included in the planning cycle and project activities. RWSSP-WN II provides specific capacity development activities to empower disadvantaged groups and women.

The document, "HRBA & GESI Strategy & Action Plan - Operationalizing Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) and Gender Equality & Social Inclusion (GESI) Principles in the Water and Sanitation Sector" provides the framework for gender & social inclusion considerations. The joint RWSSP-WN and RVWRMP (Rural Village Water Resources Management Project) HRBA & GESI Strategy and Action Plan merges both GESI and human rights based approach together as one comprehensive strategy document that provides practical steps into translating policies and principles into meaningful action with tangible results. See also the related broschures.