Enhancing the Participation of Men and Women in the Management of Water Resources at the Bridge Water Supply Project in Kakamega County, Kenya
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The security of human beings is threatened by the extent to which water availability, utilization and management affects livelihoods, health and the fulfillment of basic needs of women and men. Women and men as the users of water resources need to be involved in the management of water resource. This can effectively be done with proper strategies to mainstream gender in all the management undertaking at the community level. This study sought to investigate on the participation of men and women and strategies to enhance gender mainstreaming in the management of water resources at the Bridge Water Project which had drilled 123 boreholes for use in households, learning and religious institutions in Kakamega County. The research was a case study guided by the Gender Planning Framework (GPF), developed by Caroline Moser in 1980 . 10% samples of 13 out of the 123 committees that manage the boreholes were randomly selected as respondents to the study. They include 5 household committees, 6 learning and 2 committees from religious institutions. Key informants were heads of selected institutions and the chief of the location where the study was undertaken. The instruments used to collect data were Questionnaires, Focused Group Discussion, Interview Schedule and Observation. Data collected was cross-tabulated for qualitative analysis. The study established that women were discriminated against in terms of participation in management committees despite the fact that they were the main water users. On the basis of strategies, the study identified training and awareness creation on the need for gender equity, dissemination of the affirmative action policy, empowerment and mobilization of women to seek management positions and engagement of a gender expert to guide gender mainstreaming in the management of the project as strategies to enhance gender mainstreaming in the management of the Bridge Water Supply Project.