ISBN 9781779222633
Pages 640
Dimensions 234 x 156mm
Published 2015
Publisher Weaver Press, Zimbabwe
Format Paperback

Water is Life

Women's human rights in national and local water governance in Southern and Eastern Africa

edited by Anne Hellum, Patricia Kameri-Mbote, Barbara van Koppen

This book approached 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 recognise 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 commercialisation 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 water users on the ground, most importantly women. The 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.

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About the Editors

Patricia Kameri-Mbote

Patricia Kameri-Mbote is an Associate Professor of Law, University of Nairobi, and an advocate of the High Court of Kenya. She is also Chair of the Seeds and Plant Varieties Tribunal. Prof. Mbote has published widely in the areas of International Law, Environmental Law, Women’s Rights and Property Rights.

Barbara van Koppen

Barbara van Koppen (Ph.D.) is Principal Researcher Poverty, Gender, and Water in the International Water Management Institute, currently based in the IWMI Southern Africa office in Pretoria. She leads multi-country research in Africa and Asia on legal pluralism, water law, and community-driven water service delivery from a gender and human rights perspective. She is lead-author and -editor of five books and (co-) author of over 120 international peer-reviewed publications. She engages in national and international policy dialogue, among other as coordinator of the global Multiple Use water Services (MUS) Group. She served in the Steering Committee of the Global Water Partnership.

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