Give Me a Bucket, Don’t Feel Shy
Even with water being available at the household tap, women and girls are still overly burdened with water collection and storage while men and boys are freer to rest or watch television with their peers. Men involve themselves with water for business such as transporting water buckets on their motorcycles while women carry these same buckets on their heads for domestic use. These are daily scenes in our community.
Kinara’s “Give Me a Bucket, Don’t Feel Shy’’ campaign aims to encourage both men and women, boys and girls, to take equal responsibility for water, sanitation, and hygiene so that everyone has equal time to fulfill their potential. Our message includes both the “Give me a Bucket” action of sharing responsibilities and the “Don’t Feel Shy” mindset change of traditional and cultural norms.
Video 1: The full documentary of our "Give Me a Bucket, Don't Feel Shy" campaign
This campaign was implemented from July to September of 2022 as part of Kinara’s Water for Life project, following our successful Be Accountable, Save a Drop of Water campaign in 2021. We delivered our message to citizens through street meetings, public announcement walks, radio sessions, and focus group discussions with students. We also conducted a dialogue with local government leaders at the ward and street levels. In total, we reached 1,972 citizens, 1,154 female and 818 male, in 16 wards and five secondary schools in Morogoro Municipality with the help of our youth Community Change Agents (CCAs), and representatives from MORUWASA, our urban water authority, and EWURA-CCC, the utility consumer interest council.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” - Helen Keller.
The responsibility to resolve water shortages at the household has been left to women and girls including fetching water from outside sources and reporting water pipe leaks and billing issues to MORUWASA. This unshared burden takes away women’s and girls’ time to focus on socio-economic activities such as after-school studying for female students. We emphasized that addressing water challenges needs everyone’s involvement. Thus, collective action was a central theme toward mindset change as described below by our three key messages.
Mindset change of both men and women is important to achieve equal WASH responsibilities
Norms, beliefs, and culture contribute to inequalities where women and girls carry the primary responsibility to make sure that their family has access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Men believe that women and girls are responsible for all housework while men are responsible for economic activities. As these beliefs are socially constructed, some women and girls hold the same beliefs. Less than half (48%) of the men we surveyed help with water at home.
These beliefs worsen the social and economic gap between men and women. Women also experience gender-based violence due to mistrust from their partners when they need to go far from home to fetch water. More than one in four women (26%) whom we surveyed face family conflicts due to water issues at home. Gender inequalities with WASH also endanger women’s lives. They may need to go outside in the middle of the night to fetch water putting them at greater risk of violence.
We employed various approaches to portray gender inequality in the community and solutions to address it including drama. A group of community members and secondary school students dramatized scenarios where men and boys help women and girls to fetch water, showing that males being involved in domestic activities can not affect or take away their masculinity.
“Women, men, boys, and girls should set their roles by realizing their potential in achieving equal responsibilities in water, sanitation, and hygiene.” – Drama participant
The strength of parents is the key factor in creating equal responsibilities in WASH for their children
Our survey of secondary school students showed that a greater proportion of boys (80%) received adequate study time (two hours or greater) than girls (69%). This shows that some parents contribute to gender inequalities among their children through unequal work division at home, consuming female students’ time to self-study. Cultural gender norms and expectations start early in childhood with girls expected to do more housework than boys.
“Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, every moment, and action has an effect. No other person or outside force is a greater influence on a child than a parent.” - Bob Keeshan
Parents are the key influencers to reduce gender inequalities among their children. During this campaign, we encouraged parents to raise their children in a gender-equal manner, engaging all children in domestic activities. This will help them to grow up with a gender equality spirit and become empathetic and sensible individuals who consider everyone’s rights in the community.
An encouraging outcome of this campaign is that most parents agreed that sharing responsibilities on WASH at home and school will improve girls' attendance and provide them more time to study at home.
Encourage citizens, especially more men, to collaborate with women to report pipe leaks and other water challenges
Water pipe leaks are caused by issues such as aging water infrastructure and damage from road construction. These leaks reduce water availability to households, affect the water quality of the entire system, and cause lost billable revenue for MORUWASA, This contributes to high rates of Non-Revenue Water (NRW).
The responsibility of reporting leaks and other water challenges has also been primarily left to women while men seemed busy with economic activities. Although women play an important role in reporting these challenges, they also sometimes lack the confidence and support from men to collectively voice up towards addressing them.
We encouraged men to increase their participation in reporting water challenges, in collaboration with women, as reducing NRW needs the full engagement of both men and women. With everyone’s participation, we can increase water availability in households, and reduce NRW, enabling MORUWASA to expand water services to new areas. We have started to see the community take positive steps. Of all leaks submitted by our CCAs during the campaign, 46% of them were initially reported by community members compared to only 22% in 2021.
“In the past, men were very few coming to the office and reporting water challenges, while women were on the front line to report the challenges. But through this campaign, we are now experiencing more men coming and reporting water challenges including water bills.” - Joyce Nyangoya, MORUWASA Customer Service Manager
Photo 1:CCAs educating the community on gender issues during the campaign.
Photo 2: A EWURA-CCC representative educating the community on the rights and responsibilities of water customers during the campaign.
Photo 3: Together with secondary students after a group discussion during the campaign.
Photo 4: The Citizens of Sultan Area ward during the provision of gender education in the community.
Change is in our minds and hands
This campaign contributed to the increase of gender equality awareness in the community, especially seeing men actively cooperate with women in WASH by reporting water challenges to MORUWASA and having their awareness raised as parents on the division of responsibilities among their children. The community admitted to educating others in their families and at street meetings.
Gender inequality creates discrimination, establishes gender stereotypes, and prevents women and men, girls and boys, from equally reaching their full potential in their socio-economic development. The inequalities start at home and spread into society at large with the burden weighing heavily on women and girls. The power of changing this situation is already in our minds. Let us allow our minds and hands to create changes for our community’s well-being.