Wednesday – Thursday, February 15 – 16, 2023, Okara: The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Pakistan organized a two-day training workshop on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in district Okara.
Dr Abdur Rehman Cheema, Regional Researcher – Water Governance and Institutional Specialist, IWMI Pakistan, gave the welcome note and highlighted Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change and how it is impacting the water and agriculture sector. He also shared how IWMI Pakistan through FCDO-funded Water Resource Accountability in Pakistan (WRAP) Programme Component 1: Climate Resilient Solutions for Improving Water Governance (CRS-IWaG) will improve water governance in district Okara, which will lead to better water availability for agricultural, industrial, municipal, and household sectors.
Kanwal Waqar, Researcher – Gender and Youth Specialist, IWMI Pakistan, was the lead trainer of the workshop. According to her, “There is a need to introduce transformative approaches to shift away from gender equality to gender equity. Women, as an end user, have an important role in IWRM but they are equally vulnerable, as the decisions taken by men on water issues affect their wellbeing. Only when we make a combined effort at the household level, gender equity can be achieved.”
The training involved different exercises to highlight the gender division of labour, which helped participants to understand gender stereotypes, as well as sex and gender differences. The participants were divided into groups i.e., domestic, agriculture and irrigation, and Industrial, and were asked to share their daily activities using a 24-hour activity clock. They learned about gender-specific tasks and the workload enforced on women, through this exercise.
The participants also discussed the major water challenges faced in district Okara at domestic, agricultural, and industrial levels. The participants also presented Gender Action Plan on the second day of the training.
Dr Habib Ullah Habib, Director, OFWM Research Farm (Renala Khurd), OFWM, in his closing remarks said, “Every member of the community should be engaged in development activities especially in water resources management. The role of women in IWRM is critical, as they equally support their male counterparts in agricultural activities, and without their support sustainable agricultural production is difficult. This training workshop will enhance the capacity of the participants for greater gender integration”.
The training workshop was attended by officials from Punjab Irrigation Department (PID), On Farm Water Management (OFWM), Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA), Municipal Committees, Salinity Research Institute, and academics from University of Okara and University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, (sub-campus Depalpur).
The workshop was organized as part of the WRAP Programme Component 1: CRS-IWaG. Okara is the pilot district of the programme, where different interventions related to water governance such as groundwater monitoring, water accounting, water allocation system, and irrigation demand management shall be introduced.