The Australian Government will deliver a new Water for Women Fund under Australia's aid program. The program will invest $110.6 million over five years to improve the health, gender equality and well-being of Asian and Pacific communities through inclusive, sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs. The initiative is part of Australia's commitment to the High Level Panel on Water.
The Fund responds to evidence that gendered approaches to WASH can contribute to more effective, sustainable WASH outcomes as well as improvements in women’s and girls’ well-being and offer an entry point to facilitate changes in gender relations, norms and attitudes.
Gender equality and social inclusion are central to the Fund. This will help ensure that women and girls have equal opportunity, representation, work and involvement in WASH programs, and benefit equally from their outcomes.
Advancing gender equality through implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 6 – the Water Goal – will see a world where women and girls do not bear the time burden of walking long distances every day to collect water for their families, where fewer babies die as a result of mothers giving birth in unhygienic health care facilities and girls no longer miss school because there are no appropriate menstrual hygiene management services.
The Water for Women Fund will work with Civil Society Organisations (CSO) on innovative ways to improve water, sanitation and hygiene, focusing on women, girls and people with disabilities in the poorest human settlements. The Fund will also support a WASH research program. CSO and research-organisation selections are expected to take place in the second half of 2017. The Investment Design Document is available on DFAT’s business notifications page.
The Water for Women Fund will build on the learning and knowledge generated by the current Civil Society WASH Fund, which has an explicit focus on advancing gender equality and disability inclusion. The Civil Society WASH Fund is an existing investment by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, supporting 13 Civil Society Organisations to implement 29 WASH projects in 19 countries throughout Africa, Asia and the Pacific over four years to 2018.