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Getting Access to Adequate Water: Community Organizing, Women and Social Change in Western Kenya

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Roy, Jessica; Crow, Ben; Swallow, Brent M.
Conference: International Workshop on African Water Laws: Plural Legislative Frameworks for Rural Water Management in Africa
Location: Gauteng, South Africa
Conf. Date: January 26-28
Date: 2005
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5058
Sector: Social Organization
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Africa
Subject(s): gender
social change
water resources
collective action
Abstract: "This paper presents initial findings from research exploring the influence of community organizing and gender relations on access to water in Western Kenya. Improved access to water promises significant progress in the lives of many of Africa’s rural and urban poor, but few rural communities in Africa have been able to self-organize to significantly improve their access to water. This research seeks to illuminate the social conditions, rights and practices that may hinder or facilitate community organization to achieve better access to water. Two particularly intriguing findings emerge: 1) amongst a wide range of social conditions that hinder the founding of water projects is a hint of male anxiety about how women may use time saved from water collection, and 2) in one community where the obstacles to organizing were overcome, and a successful piped water system installed women, were able to use their time saved from water collection to enhance household tea production and establish a group that has generated new income from casual labour and the production and sale of new crops."

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