Understanding links between access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), and gender empowerment: Evidence from Ghana
Empowering women and girls is an important development goal as well as a way to improving access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) outcomes. However, empowerment is a complex and multi-dimensional concept, and it is often not clear how it is understood and presented in WASH sector programing. To address this gap, this dissertation broadly explores the meaning and dimensions of the concept of empowerment within the WASH sector. The data on which this dissertation is based were drawn from two sources: scoping review of existing studies and in-depth qualitative interviews conducted with 15 local stakeholders in the Asutifi North District, Ghana (chapter 4). Five major interrelated empowerment dimensions were identified in the review: 1.) access to information, 2.) participation, 3.) capacity building, 4.) leadership and accountability, and 5.) decision-making. Results from the interviews show that participants conceptualized empowerment in terms of four themes: availability of resources; WASH Information; social and cultural factors; and agency. The findings revealed that dimensions of empowerment are related and continuously interact as empowerment in one dimension could lead to (dis)empowerment in another. In addition, cultural and social contexts both shape and are influenced by the concept of empowerment. Findings from this research would provide researchers and practitioners with a greater understanding of dimensions of empowerment that are relevant for strengthening WASH interventions, as well as for tracking progress towards gender inclusion outcomes. This is particularly important to ensure inclusive WASH service delivery in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/26491
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