Establishing a community of practice for Gender Equality, Disability, and Social Inclusion

In the water sector, inequality and social exclusion can exist within water governance and management, access to water services, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Discrimination can be experienced due to race, gender, class, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

As part of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Gender Equality, Disability, and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) is implied in the Sustainable Development Goals through Goal 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) and Goal 6 (ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all).

The human right to water and the Sustainable Development Goals will only be fully achieved when all people are able to benefit equally. To this end, AWP established a GEDSI Policy to address gender equality, disability, and social inclusion within its work to improve water governance, policies, strategies, and service delivery.

“The AWP GEDSI Policy has been an integral guiding document for how we operationalise this work, and we are pleased to announce that it has undergone a revision to include a stronger emphasis on disability inclusion,” said AWP CEO Professor Nick Schofield.

AWP is now in the conceptual stages of establishing a GEDSI community of practice as a recommendation from a recent policy review, focusing specifically on the link with Water Resources Management.

The new community will be a hub for knowledge sharing and access to GEDSI-related expertise and resources. A focus will be on GEDSI principles and frameworks—such as those considered in AWP’s operational processes and policies—and achieving development outcomes centred on GEDSI.

The community of practice aims to build on AWP’s trusted partnerships, collaborative approaches and achievements in the GEDSI space, which include:

  • Operationalising the (updated from Gender Equality and Social Inclusion to include more of an emphasis on disability inclusion).
  • Providing GEDSI resources on the AWP website as a key offering.
  • Conducting AWP staff and partner training workshops focusing on both gender and disability inclusion in international development.
  • Establishing an increasing portfolio of AWP activities with a specific GEDSI focus, and embedding GEDSI as a component in all activities, with the goal of driving GEDSI development outcomes.

“These achievements present a great starting point for the community of practice,” said AWP GEDSI and Program Officer Veitania Lepani, who pitched the concept at the Innovate 4 Water event earlier this month.

AWP GEDSI and Program Officer Veitania Lepani pitching the concept of a GEDSI community of practice at Innovate 4 Water (6 August 2020).

“Based on partner feedback, we are now focusing on understanding how we can support the needs of our partners in this area, such as providing more practical advice and guidance around how to include GEDSI in AWP activity concepts and proposals.”

“At this stage, we want to hear from our partners who are interested in being involved in this new initiative, however, we also encourage people or organisations that are not already an AWP Partner to express their interest,” said Ms Lepani.

After the initial scoping and development stage, AWP plans to launch the community of practice for GEDSI in 2021.

If you are an individual or organisation that is interested in sharing knowledge and/or gaining experience in GEDSI in the WRM space, please contact Veitania Lepani by email or call +61 2 6206 8477.

Feature image: Group of diverse people (credit: Stock)
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