Africa Water Association women’s leadership training opens in Accra

The African Water Association (AfWA) has underscored the need for an increase in women’s participation in water utilities to bridge the gender gap within the sector.

AfWA is a professional organisation of companies, utilities and operators working in the water, sanitation and environmental sectors in Africa.

The group is therefore calling on women who are already working in the water and sanitation sector to take “the bull by the horn” to fight for leadership positions within their various organisations.

Gender Specialist, AfWA, Madam Leticia Ackun, made the call in Accra yesterday at the opening of a three-day women’s leadership training organised by AfWA.

The workshop, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, brought together about 13 participants from selected African countries including Mali, Cameroon, Malawi, Nigeria, Benin, Kenya, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana and Uganda.

It is aimed at helping participants develop knowledge and skills capacity of women across a range of leadership and policy advocacy competencies, while making sure participants become capable of facilitating similar trainings amongst their networks.

According to Madam Ackun, it is very important for women to work harder in their quest to assume leadership positions wherever they found themselves.

Throwing more light on the need for higher representation of women in the water utility industry, she mentioned that AfWA remained committed to ensuring women’s leadership development, adding that gender mainstreaming was considered a core focus of AfWA’s support and programming.

This, she said, was because women played key roles not only as water users and decision makers at the domestic level, but also as water managers and providers.

‘We want to make girls attracted to the water field because when gender is mainstreamed in this sector, research has proven that profitability grows,” she added.

She assured that her outfit would continue to encourage women to venture into male dominated sectors, especially the engineering sector, while encouraging those who were already there to strive to various management levels.

In a speech read on his behalf, Managing Director, Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Mr Clifford A. Braimah, stated that it was important for the population to be equally represented in the work place, saying having both men and women in decision-making broadened the perspectives, increased creativity, diversified the pool of talents and competencies while reducing conflicts among others.

He noted that empowering women to become role models for other women and offering strong peer support through networking was vital in the easy attainment set goals.

BY RAISSA SAMBOU

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