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As a general recommendation, current data collecting instruments and approaches should be diversified not only along gender lines but also to collect data disaggregated by social strata, class, age, and other key social variables.

3) As a first priority, six gendered indicators on water and sanitation should be incorporated into existing surveys and data collection efforts of governments and of key global-level data collection entities including JMP/GLAAS, UNDP, the World Bank, and UNIFEM, among others on:

  • the adequacy and availability of water at the household level for daily needs, distinguishing between reproductive and productive activities of men and women;

  • the time spent, by sex, to collect water, further distinguishing between that work done by adults and children (and collected by urban/rural);

  • relationships between transportation and gender in collecting water, with particular care taken to distinguish between “carrying” vs “assisted transport” (whether animal or mechanized);

  • what kind of sanitation facilities (if any) are actually used by men and by women and on who are not using facilities, and why; these data should be further disaggregated by income and by urban/ rural setting;

  • women’s participation in decision-making processes regarding water and sanitation at all levels, including careful attention to indicators (such as qualitative ordinal scales) that reveal the nature and quality of women’s inclusion in decision making;

  • sanitation at schools, including specific information on whether facilities are provided separately for males and females, the extent to which existing facilities are actually used by male and female schoolchildren, and the extent to which those facilities meet the specific needs of girls in terms of safety, privacy, proximity, hygiene, cleanliness, water, and provision for menstruation.

These new data initiatives could be undertaken by NGOs, and at the local level; they need not only be developed by the large multinational organizations. However, to the extent that large data collecting agencies do take on this agenda, they should engage grassroots participants, gender specialists, and activists as equal collaborators in drafting the specific questions and defining the approaches (including, as appropriate, the specific survey instruments) that they will deploy in these efforts.

4) Donor support should be directed to governments and agencies, including NGOs and groups operating at the local level, that are willing to take the first steps to engage with and pilot these data collections.


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