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Neither the quality not the type of data currently collected are adequate to the task of supporting gender MDG (or other) goals in water and sanitation. In terms of the gendered relations of WATSAN, considerable local/ regional data is produced. These date are typically unavailable or unknown outside the small group that collected it. Consultants, academics, NGOs often produce reports that may not get disseminated. The information channels from local groups to larger agencies are not open, and, further, there are challenges for locally- based groups to communicate with one another. This points to the need for clearinghouse mechanisms, but also points to the need for large data agencies to incorporate grassroots participants and locally- based experts (and gender experts) into their data collection and preparation mechanisms. At the highest levels, governments, NGOS, and international organizations, all of whom might be collecting such data, do not coordinate their efforts. Likewise, inter-sectoral linkages are weak between educational systems, health systems, and social welfare systems, all of which collect some data on water and sanitation. Gender experts often know little about water and sanitation, just as WATSAN experts know little about gender. Gender databases often entirely ignore WATSAN issues, just as WATSAN databases often entirely ignore gender. Better coordination and cooperation – and mutual appreciation – must be cultivated among agencies and experts representing different approaches. There are considerable complications of scale: data collected at a meta- or global scales often mask local diversities; although large- scale data collection agencies typically have the best data collecting capacity, it is not always productive to collect at large scale. Often it is preferable to collect at local/ small scale. However, while good data may exist at the local scale, it is hard to “scale up” or draw generalizations from local examples/ cases. It is methodologically challenging to manage and integrate myriad local-scale datapoints.

Participants of the Expert Group Meeting on Gender and Water

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