Small Water Enterprises: Transforming Women from Water Carriers to Water Entrepreneurs
By: Safe Water Network
Women’s Burden of Care in India
In India, women disproportionately endure the burdens of water-related responsibilities, collecting 80 percent of the water in areas that don’t have easy access to it and serving as the primary caregivers for those with waterborne illness.
The Potential of Small Water Enterprises
Small water enterprises (SWEs) alleviate these burdens by providing safe drinking water to communities, which allow women more time to pursue education and employment opportunities.
The iJal Women’s Empowerment Program
The iJal Women’s Empowerment Program, piloted in the State of Telangana’s Medak district, promotes female entrepreneurship by linking self-help groups (SHGs) to new sources of income, offering over 170 women access to employment while providing a sustainable source of water for 150,000 community members.
Expanding Women’s Inclusion and Empowerment
As a next step, we are applying the program framework to other locales and continuing to adapt and optimize the program. We seek to develop distribution pilots for SHG-run stations to determine the optimal approach, and explore how the Field Services Entity could be streamlined and adapted to better service SHG-managed stations. At Safe Water Network, we encourage the sustained efforts of government, policymakers, and funders to accelerate women’s inclusion and empowerment as it relates to both access to, and provision of, water.
- Ministry of Women and Child Development. 2016. Study of Working Women and Privileges in the unorganized sector.
- Rahman, Aminur (2013). “Women’s Empowerment: Concept and Beyond”. Global Journal of Human Social Science Sociology & Culture. 13 (6): 9.
- The Power of Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in India, (September 2015), McKinsey Global Institute.
- “Women Empowerment Schemes,” Ministry of Women and Children’s Development