Empowering WOMEN through Improved Water



Empowering WOMEN through Improved Water
by Sara Lehman/DAI
8 March 2016
Khammouan Province, Lao PDR
By: Ienkate Saenghkaew/DAI
As in many other parts of the world, the women in rural villages of Lao PDR are
predominantly responsible for collecting water for household use (such as cooking and
washing). In central Lao PDR’s Nakai District, where the USAID Mekong Adaptation and
Resilience to Climate Change (USAID Mekong ARCC) project currently works, over 75
percent of those responsible for collecting water are women and girls.
Khammouan Province, Lao PDR
By: Ienkate Saenghkaew/DAI
During the rainy season, queuing for water at one of the few communal taps can take up to
an hour each day. When the dry season arrives, these communal taps run dry, requiring
women to walk several kilometres multiple times a day to collect water from other sources.
Climate change is already impacting Nakai communities’ water security, particularly during
the dry season. Although Nakai District becomes completely inaccessible due to flooded
roads during the rainy season, communities are increasingly facing extended dry seasons,
rising temperatures, and variable rainfall. Not only do these climate change impacts affect
their water security during the dry season, but it also has significant implications for local
farmers’ livelihoods and community food security. Khammouan Province, Lao PDR
By: Ienkate Saenghkaew/DAI
In order to strengthen water security for communities in Nakai District, USAID Mekong
ARCC and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Lao PDR are
supporting local government and community members in carrying out small­scale
construction to improve their water infrastructure.
Following a water feasibility assessment, USAID Mekong ARCC and IUCN Lao PDR worked
collaboratively with the local communities of Ban Donkeo and Ban Xong to design and install
water infrastructure to improve both water storage and distribution for the two sites. Khammouan Province, Lao PDR
By: Ienkate Saenghkaew/DAI
In Ban Xong, USAID Mekong ARCC and IUCN Lao PDR are rehabilitating an existing
pipeline; constructing a break pressure and storage tanks to improve water storage and
pressure; adding water distribution lines; and building a communal platform. In Ban Donkeo,
which has no existing water system, the project is supporting the community to construct a
gravity­fed system, including a communal tap and distribution points. Women of Ban Xong
and Ban Donkeo have been actively involved in the projects, for example, by pitching in to
prepare the site for construction. Looking ahead, USAID
Mekong ARCC and IUCN
Lao PDR anticipate
construction completion in
both Ban Donkeo and Ban
Xong by the end of March
2016. In the meantime, the
project is also working with
community members to
establish a water committee
to address future water
issues in the community.
As projected climate
change impacts threaten to
exacerbate conditions in the
dry season, these
adaptation projects in Nakai
District have placed
women’s current and future
needs front and center. By
improving water access in
the villages, particularly
during the dry season,
women and girls will be able
to save valuable hours each
day. Just imagine what they
can do with that extra time. Khammouan Province, Lao PDR
By: Ienkate Saenghkaew/DAI

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