By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto – May 09,2018

AMMAN — The Jordan Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) on Monday was awarded the first place at the Best Water Conservation Project category in the Arab Youth Forum in Kuwait for its “Water Wise Women” initiative, aimed at raising community awareness on water security.

With youth participants from across the region, the forum served as a platform for the exchange of successful experiences and expertise through the presentation of several initiatives and projects in the field of water conservation.

Implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the Germany Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the “Water Wise Women” project trained over 300 women based in the most vulnerable areas of the Kingdom in plumbing and water saving.

“The main person who consumes water in the household is the woman,” said director of JOHUD’s natural resources management programme, Muttasim Al Hayari, explaining “because of that, we thought of this initiative designed to reduce water consumption at the household level, and to empower women for social development”.

“Rather than short-term awareness raising, Water Wise Women was designed for long-term behaviour change by building on local women as change agents,” director of JOHUD’s women Empowerment and gender Programme, Iqbal Hamad, told The Jordan Times, noting that “the initiative uses locally appropriate know-how and outreach into their neighbourhoods to introduce and maintain behaviour change in water use.”

Each participant was trained through eight different levels by a German expert from GIZ, covering topics such as water leakage eradication, harnessing technology, reducing water usage in the household, and improving hygiene.

All trainees are now expected to disseminate the information within their local communities by reaching out to approximately 25 women, in addition to being provided with a toolbox to fix leaks in their homes and their neighbours’ houses.

But the programme goes beyond the eradication of leakages, raising awareness on the management of water and the reduction of its usage within the household.

Following the implementation of the project, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation found a 40 per cent reduction in household water consumption in the areas targeted by the initiative, as reported by the “Apolitical” platform for public service.

In addition, 23 trainees have formed a cooperative through which they put their plumbing skills to commercial use for schools and government departments.

“The trainees have reached out to more than 18,000 local families and a society of water wise women for the environment was established,” Hamad said, noting that “this society is now a key source for the analysis of water concerns either at the household or at the community level, in addition to providing feedback to the government institutions with the aim of enabling better policy making”.