A Senegalese official, Mrs Anta Seck, on Wednesday urged African states to give greater responsibility to women in formulating strategies for access to drinking water.
“The Senegalese experience does show that strategies for access to drinking wate r make remarkable progress whenever women have had major roles to play,” Mrs Seck , Director of Water Resource Management and Planning in Senegal, said after the opening of the first African Water Week in Tunis.
“Even if they are unfortunately excluded from the debates, women are at the heart of problems of access to drinking water in Africa. They walk tens of kilometres sometimes to ensure water supply to the household in addition to other domestic tasks,” she said.
“Liberating African women from the burden of fetching water is enabling them to participate in the continent’s economic development. It is enabling them to devote this time to other productive activities.”
Only a few women are present at the first African Water Week which would discuss issues related to drinking water and sanitation in Africa during the three-day session.
Participants would explore the best ways of accelerating access to drinking water in Africa, a region with worrying statistics in terms of access to drinking water and sanitation.
A special African Union summit devoted to the problem of water and sanitation on the continent is slated for next July at Charm el-Cheikh in Egypt.