WeWash: women empowerment through water, sanitation and health
The project goal is to empower rural women and girls to apply a bottom-up approach to enforce EU wastewater treatment legislation in their households and their communities, simultaneously raising health and food security for their families.
The project involves 100 jobless and low-income women and girls from at least 3 rural communities in a series of activities: awareness raising, vocational learning-by-doing training, leadership training and coaching programs, as well as intensive online communication, aiming at empowerment for equitable involvement of women in decision-making, starting sanitation jobs and launching small-scale business in alternative sanitation sector. Mentored by consultants, trainees will construct a model alternative sanitation system for a community cultural center or a school in one of the project communities.
Forever will Earthcoordinate the project activities, share alternative sanitation expertise and develop training and promotional materials with the support of experienced trainers and consultants. All efforts will be made to collaborate with state and local government health, environment and water institutions, labor authorities, water and sanitation utility provider, local and international NGOs, media, as well as to involve all community stakeholders – mayoralties, community centers, schools, cooperatives, civil society groups, etc. to ensure community ownership of project results and sustainable usage and maintenance.
Project results will be shared on broad scale nationally and internationally via website, social media, webinar, presentations at national and international events, press-conferences, etc.
Local SI Club – Plovdiv, will develop and implement the project monitoring and evaluation program.
The project is motivated by the need to mobilize women and girls from the rural communities to build capacity and leadership skills to address adequately the immediate water and sanitation issues in their households and communities.
Water and sanitation sector (WS) is destined to vigorous rate of development as Bulgaria is striving to meet the requirements of EU Wastewater directive – 91/271/EEC. The EU Environmental Implementation Review, Country Report – Bulgaria, 2017, highlights that Bulgaria demonstrates, in general, very low compliance rates with the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.
The enforcement of the Directive for smaller agglomerations – less than 10000 p.e., with compliance obligations since end 2014, has not practically begun. Thus, Bulgaria is facing enormous penalties in the closest future following the established mechanism. In July 2017, the government already received a warning letter from the Commission.
The EFF’s concern is that the state has no capacity to enforce the Directive applying the usual ridiculously unaffordable solutions of WCs, central sewerage and conventional WWTPs. This approach is especially harmful for the small rural communities with very limited financial and human resources where the life of the people is dependent on very limited water resources with vast seasonal variations. These communities are also most vulnerable to climate change. For all these, the project will focus on affordable alternatives meeting the EU regulations.
Additionally, villages practically do not offer any jobs. That’s why, we look at the proposed project as a vocational training for a well-defined niche of identified sanitation need, as well as specific skills of natural agriculture that goes well with some aspects of sustainable sanitation as composting of biological waste and utilization of treated wastewater for safe irrigation for self-subsistent agriculture. The project will follow strictly the safety regulations of World Health Organization for treatment and reuse and EU regulations.
The project goal is the empowering of rural women and girls to apply a bottom-up approach and to enforce Directive 91/271/EEC on wastewater treatment in their households and communities, and to raise health and food security for their families applying safe alternative sanitation and reuse solutions.