The women of a community – mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters – are some of the most important forces for understanding a home’s needs. In countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, women are in charge of providing water for everyday use, keeping the house clean inside and out, and caring for the health of the family. They do so much for the home, but ultimately do not get to make important household decisions such as getting clean water and installing a toilet. These basic facilities are also costly, and most families would rather spend the money on food and other daily expenses.
Thrive’s work to provide clean water and basic sanitation has always been rooted in empowering the community to change their hygiene practices starting from the home. Working with women in Vietnam, we realized that they are the key to encouraging their family and neighbors to connect to water systems and build latrines at home.
We want women to feel empowered and have a stronger voice in influencing their community to invest in resources for clean water and basic sanitation. Our solution is a program called Women-led Output-based Aid (WOBA) (What’s Output-based Aid all about? Learn more here.) We launched this with the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Water for Women Program last September 13 for the Vietnam and Cambodia programs, and we’re excited to start our work in Laos with the Korean International Cooperation Agency this October. Through this program, Thrive helps build women’s confidence by:
- Partnering with national women’s groups that fight for women’s rights.
- Educating women on the importance of hygienic practices at home and school, and how to communicate this to other people in the community.
- Ensuring that homes with single mothers, elderly, and people with disabilities have access to facilities that cater to their specific needs, while making this sustainable through government involvement.
We believe that this will greatly improve how Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos can gain access to better water and sanitation services. As we celebrate the International Day of Rural Women on October 15, Thrive hopes to create more opportunities for women to better themselves, their families, and their whole community.
“When a woman thrives, all of the society benefits, and when the women have access to lands, household, agriculture and gender equality increases”. – International Day of Rural Women