Water is Life: Women’s human rights in national and local water governance in Southern and Eastern Africa - Anne Hellum, Patricia Kameri-Mbote and Barbara van Koppen

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This book approaches water and sanitation as an African gender and human rights issue. Empirical case studies from Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe show how coexisting international, national and local regulations of water and sanitation respond to the ways in which different groups of rural and urban women gain access to water for personal, domestic and livelihood purposes. The authors, who are lawyers, sociologists, political scientists and anthropologists, explore how women cope in contexts where they lack secure rights, and participation in water governance institutions, formal and informal. The research shows how women – as producers of family food – rely on water from multiple sources that are governed by community based norms and institutions which recognize the right to water for livelihood.

How these ‘common pool water resources’ – due to protection gaps in both international and national law – are threatened by large-scale development and commercialization initiatives, facilitated through national permit systems, is a key concern. The studies demonstrate that existing water governance structures lack mechanisms which make them accountable to poor and vulnerable waters users on the ground, most importantly women. Our findings thus underscore the need to intensify measures to hold states accountable, not just in water services provision, but in assuring the basic human right to clean drinking water and sanitation; and also to protect water for livelihoods.

ISBN: 978-1-77922-263-3 (p/b)
ISBN: 978-1-77922-279-4 (ePub)

155 x 230 mm

pp. 620


List of Maps ix
Acknowledgements    xi
Contributors xiii

Part I Introduction


Chapter 1

The Human Right to Water and Sanitation in a Legal Pluralist
Landscape: Perspectives of Southern and Eastern African Women

Anne Hellum, Patricia Kameri-Mbote and Barbara van Koppen


Chapter 2

Turning the Tide: Engendering the Human Right to Water
and Sanitation

Anne Hellum, Ingunn Ikdahl and Patricia Kameri-Mbote


Part II Kenya


Chapter 3

Human Rights, Gender and Water in Kenya: Law, Prospects
and Challenges

Patricia Kameri-Mbote and Francis Kariuki


Chapter 4

Not so Rosy: Farm Workers’ Right to Water in the Lake
Naivasha Basin

Patricia Kameri-Mbote and Edna Odhiambo


Chapter 5

Watered Down: Gender and the Human Right to Water and Reasonable
Sanitation in Mathare, Nairobi

Celestine Nyamu Musembi


Chapter 6

Gender Dimensions of Customary Water Resource Governance:
Marakwet Case Study

Elizabeth Gachenga


Part III Malawi


Chapter 7

The Political Economy of the Human Right to Water and
Women in Malawi

Ngeyi Ruth Kanyongolo, Asiyati Lorraine Chiweza, Michael
Chasukwa and Timothy Chirwa


Chapter 8

Women’s Right to Water and Participation in Practice: Insights
from Urban Local Water Governance Systems

Asiyati Lorraine Chiweza, Ngeyi Ruth Kanyongolo, Michael
Chasukwa and Timothy Chirwa


Chapter 9

Primary Actors on the Back Seat: Gender, Human Rights and Rural
Water Governance in Malawi - Lessons from Mpemba and Chileka

Michael Chasukwa, Ngeyi Ruth Kanyongolo, Asiyati Lorraine
Chiweza and Timothy Chirwa


Part IV Zimbabwe


Chapter 10

Governance, Gender Equality and the Right to Water and
Sanitation in Zimbabwe: Contested Norms and
Institutions in an Unstable Economic and Political Terrain

Anne Hellum, Bill Derman, Ellen Sithole and Elizabeth Rutsate


Chapter 11

Zimbabwe’s Urban Water Crisis and its Implications for Different
Women: Emerging Norms and Practices in Harare’s High Density

Anne Hellum, Ellen Sithole, Bill Derman, Lindiwe Mangwanya and
Elizabeth Rutsate