Women + Water
Our approach to community water resilience began with our six-year, public-private partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID): The Women + Water Alliance, which aims to empower 2 million people—including 1 million women—to improve their access to water and sanitation by 2023.
Our activities focus on a key cotton-growing and textile-manufacturing regions in India: the Godavari, Narmada and Ganges-Brahmaputra river basins in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. In these water-stressed regions, households spend an average of 1.5 hours per day fetching water and are missing out on approximately 9 percent of monthly income potential due to a lack of access to water and sanitation, according to the Women + Water baseline assessment.
Together with our implementing partners—CARE, WaterAid, Water.org, Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) —we are supporting these communities’ access to clean water and sanitation and helping women gain the skills to manage local water resources sustainably. The P.A.C.E. life skills and self-efficacy program, with its WASH curriculum, is designed to support women with leadership skills as they take initiative to improve water infrastructure in their communities. Partners activate women and other community members to engage in local governance and creating village water security plans; catalyze financing to help women take out loans for in-home water access and sanitation improvements; and train cotton farmers to adopt more sustainable practices and water stewardship in their fields. Evaluation partners International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and Institute for Sustainable Development Impact (I4DI) support through program evaluation.
As the Alliance sunsets in 2023, Gap Inc. is supporting its next evolution by partnering with the Water Resilience Coalition to launch a new collective action initiative: the Women + Water Collaborative. The new program will build upon existing Women + Water program learnings, government relationships, and reporting mechanisms—and with the support of new partners from across industries, it will accelerate the impact to reach additional communities in water-stressed regions.