The Relationship Between Gender and WASH Development Projects in Rural Uganda20 Apr 2018
The paper explores the relationship between gender roles and development infrastructure projects in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector in rural Uganda, by looking at the influence of various factors such as education and governance. Men and women hold different roles and responsibilities within WASH in rural areas of developing countries, and, therefore, perform different duties. In Uganda, women are the primary managers of water resources at household level, and are the main drivers for sanitation and hygiene practice at household level; men are concerned with the commercial use of water. Insights into developing infrastructure that addresses the needs of communities could emerge from understanding the multiple dimensions of the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that affect the roles that men and women play within the WASH sector. Fieldwork has been undertaken in a number of rural communities in south Uganda, where group discussions and interviews were conducted with key players in the WASH sector, government representatives, and people from the communities. The qualitative data collected provide an understanding of how gender roles are influenced by other factors, as they are dependent on, and formed by, other social structures, and consequently how this relationship influences infrastructure. The findings highlight the importance of good leadership by both men and women at community level, which leads to improvements in WASH infrastructure provision. Moreover, there seems to be a strong relationship between educating women and improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Finally, cultural attributes seem to have a strong influence on the way men and women view water and sanitation tasks, how they perform them, and how they engage with and value the infrastructure. The paper gives an overview of the findings and suggests future research can lead to new evidence to support gender-sensitive infrastructure.