Palestine: GIZ Water Program Palestine

GIZ Water Program Palestine

Prepared by: Fatima Radaydeh, Qasem Saleh, Sabrina Johanniemann, Dr. Thomas Riekel

1 | Promoting Gender Equality
The importance of involving women and men in provision, management, and safeguarding of water is
recognized globally. Therefore the GIZ Water Program in Palestine includes gender equality as a crosscutting issue in all activities and supports key partners in mainstreaming gender in the water sector.
The Israeli occupation and its various policies, controlling and prohibiting access to land and water of the
Palestinians, are the most important factors for the degradation of the environment and the scarcity of
the water resources. Arduous coordination and agreement processes with the Israeli authorities are
partially responsible for the lack of environmentally compatible sanitation systems in many localities which
create health risks and adversely impact the environment.
Despite the challenging conditions under the Israeli occupation, the Palestinian Authority, the civil society
and various international organizations have strived to improve the situation in the water sector. Even
though Palestinian women play an essential role in the water sector in Palestine, their role is still
mainly at the household level. In leadership and management in the water sector the role of women
has yet to be strengthened.

In 2010, the GIZ Water Program supported a baseline study to assess gender-related challenges in the
water sector in Palestine. The study revealed that women are highly underrepresented in the sector. Only 8
% of the employees at water service providers are female. Moreover, only 2% of these women reach the
management level and none of them the top-management. Challenges encountered by women are mainly
apparent in the stigmatization and exclusion of jobs due to a traditional division of labor. Further obstacles
are lower salaries for same jobs, limited access to training opportunities and information as well as lower
participation in decision making processes. Women’s needs, priorities and capabilities are not given
sufficient attention by decision makers. Furthermore, the evaluation of the institutions policies revealed a
lack of gender-sensitive tools and mechanisms and that guarantee a mainstreaming of gender participation.
Based on the study results, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and other relevant ministries developed a
National Gender Strategy for the environmental sector with focus on water and solid waste. The
objectives were formulated on three levels:

i. Policy Level: promotion of gender-responsive policies
ii. Institutional Level: promotion of gender equality in sector institutions
iii. Community Level: women empowerment in decision making processes with regards to project
planning, implementation and monitoring

In November 2012 the Palestinian National Cabinet of Ministers endorsed the strategy entitled “Gender
Strategy for the Environment Sector with Emphasis on Water and Solid Waste 2013 – 2017”.
After achieving this milestone the Ministry of Women’s Affairs led a steering committee which consisted of
the main sector stakeholders to develop two action plans: one for the water sector and another for the solid
waste. After initial difficulties in the implementation, in May 2014 GIZ supported the steering committee to
organize a reflection workshop in order to revive the dialogue. The workshop allowed stakeholder to redefine
the action plans, set priorities and focus on practical approaches towards their implementation. GIZ support
also enabled the steering committee focus on the needs of potential partners in the implementation. 

As a result, six of the largest Palestinian water service providers declared their willingness to implement
pilot activities. Results were presented during a workshop in February 2015 with an active participation of
all relevant stakeholders and the GIZ Water Program. When the operational plan for 2015 was
developed, all partners committed to its implementation. The intervention area covers water institutions in
the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Especially the active participation of the Gaza Strip
stakeholders, despite their challenging conditions, is highly appreciated.
The implementation of the gender activities in the water sector are conducted through a technical steering
committee called “Gender-Follow-Up-Committee”. Their members are governmental institutions, service
providers and representative of the civil society. The committee is led by the Palestinian Water Authority.
In cooperation with GIZ, they raise awareness for a better involvement of women and create sensibility for
gender issues on the management and technical level of the water providers.

These are the highlights of activities in 2015 supported by the GIZ Water Program Palestine:

 In June, GIZ Water Program Palestine arranged a practical training course for Palestinian water service
providers on “Gender and Water” to Jordan. The study visit aimed to get to know the Jordanian initiative
“Water Wise Women” regarding the impact of women for an improved water resource management and
water service delivery. The exchange was organized in cooperation with other regional GIZ water
programs (Jordan, Yemen, and Tunisia).
 In August, the Gender-Follow-Up-Committee organized a workshop for decision makers in the water
sector, which was attended by 19 participants including representatives of the ministries. The
participants recognized the importance of mainstreaming gender issues in the water sector and asked
for further events. Then, in December a workshop for technical and administrative employees was
conducted regarding the gender-sensitive preparation of working and budget plans in the water sector.
 The implementation of the action plan in the water sector requires a functioning gender unit in the
Palestinian Water Authority. Terms of Reference in order to institutionalize the gender work in the PWA
were established during the year 2015.
 In order to strengthen the political commitments in the governmental stakeholder’s institutions, the
Ministry of Women’s Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding with PWA, Environmental Quality
Authority, Ministry of Local Governance and Solid Waste Management.
In November 2015, the Palestinian Water Authority conducted a planning workshop regarding the joint
activities for 2016 with the support of GIZ. The main planned activities are:
 final institutionalization of the gender unit in the Palestinian Water Authority
 conducting a gender audit
 implementation of an awareness campaign for water service providers, for technical trainers and for the
public including broadcasting through TV, film and radio
 awareness campaign during the World Women’s Day (e.g. film on the role of women in the Palestinian
water sector). 

2 | Gender as a quality feature of our work
The gender activities of GIZ Water Program concentrate on the provision of consultancy services for water
sector institutions, in particular for the Gender Unit of the Palestinian Water Authority. Moreover, the program
provides the stakeholders and partners with capacity development and trainings. These activities are
accompanied through national and international knowledge exchange, study visits and public
The Gender Focal Person of the Water Program, Mr. Qasem Saleh, advices Dr. Thomas Riekel, the
principle program advisor (AV), on promotion and advocacy for gender equality in the water sector.
Moreover, Mr. Qasem Saleh supports the AV in identifying gender-related bottlenecks within the scope of
contract management and in defining priorities for action. He also ensures the flow of information on gender
issues within the program.
Moreover, gender equality is promoted in GIZ through a gender strategy based on five complementary
strategic elements:

1. Political will and accountability: Managers demonstrate their support for gender equality and
follow up the implementation of the strategy.
2. Corporate culture: GIZ establish patterns of behavior and codes of conduct that help ensure
gender equality.
3. Gender equality within the company: GIZ ensure that men and women work together on equal
terms and that there is a balanced gender ratio across all hierarchical levels and fields of
4. Gender competence: GIZ ensures that the staff knows about imbalances in gender relations and
ways of how to correct these.
5. Processes: The procedures and instruments are gender-sensitive, especially in relation to
commission management and quality management.

3 | Gender and Result Based Management
Enhancing gender equality in the water sector is basically realized through the empowerment of relevant
Palestinian institutions in promoting gender equality. The gender achievements are measured by this
“Three relevant sector institutions (e.g. PWA, WSRC, UPWSP, WSP) have implemented measure (e.g.
Gender Audit in the PWA, Gender Code in similar WSP reporting of the WSRC, Gender Advanced Training
of the UPWSP for members of the association on gender sensitive client orientation) to promote the
implementation of gender equality in the water and waste water sector.”
The GIZ Water Program applies a mixed-method approach of monitoring and evaluation: 

 A technical steering group, the so-called Gender-Follow-Up-Committee (see paragraph 1 & 4), meets
regularly and is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the gender strategy. The
committee is led by the PWA Gender Unit.
 To ensure the progress on the institutional level, a Gender Audit will be introduced to PWA as a pilot in
2016. This audit is designed to help understand how well the organization is integrating gender and
helps to identify organizational strengths and challenges to integrating gender in the organizational
system, operations, programs and projects. Next the Gender Audit will be extended to water service
providers and water utilities.
 The Quarterly Reports of the GIZ Water Program covers three month activities and allows a
comparison of planned/actual data. The Water Program provides its partners with the reports to improve
the transparency, to enhance the stakeholder dialogue and to maintain the participative approach at any
time of the program phase.
 For internal purpose GIZ Programs in Palestine use the monitoring system WebMo to visualize the
projects key data and current status. WebMo enables the Gender Focal Person to quickly identify critical
developments and needs for action.

4 | Cooperation
GIZ Water Program strongly believes in technical steering structures to strengthen ownership and
members’ self-reliance through a culture of participation and negotiation. Wherever possible, the
Palestinian Water Authority takes the leadership within the structures.
The Gender-Follow-Up-Committee is led by the PWA Gender Unit and is responsible for the implementation
of the gender strategy. The Gender-Follow-Up-Committee is comprised of governmental and
nongovernmental stakeholders including representatives of ministries (e. g. PWA, MoA, MoLG),
NGOs (e.g. Palestinian Hydrology Group) and academic institutions.
The committee sets the strategic orientation, approves the operational plans and approves monitoring
reports. Moreover, the decision on adjustment of strategic and operational plans is obliged to the GenderFollow-Up-Committee. All decisions are made on broad-based communication, which take into account the
variety of perspectives of the stakeholders.
In addition, GIZ Water Program coordinates its gender activities with other GIZ programs, in particular with
the Local Governance and Civil Society Program. Regarding the World Water Day 2016 with the theme
“Water and Jobs”, the two corresponding GIZ programs (TEP and Water) bring their Palestinian partners
together to exchange experiences and knowledge on a local level. Each GIZ program will encourage their
partners to conduct activities that link the educational, labor and water sector. 

AV Auftragsverantwortlicher UPWSP Union of Palestinian Water Service Providers
MoA Ministry of Women’s Affairs WSRC Water Sector Regulatory Council
MoLG Ministry of Local Government WSP Water Service Providers
PWA Palestinian Water Authority
Ministerial meeting with related
Ministries. Head of PWA, Minister of
Local Government, Head of the Solid
Waste Management Team, Minister of
Women's Affairs to discuss and
approve the strategy before going to
the Cabinet.
Launching the Gender Strategy and
signing four Memorandumsl of
Understandings with related ministries
(in the picture the Minister of Women's
Affairs and the Head of Environmental
Quality Authority)
Joint Gender Planning Workshop in
February 2015 with participation of
Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ministry of
Local Government, Palestinian Water
Authority and the Union of Palestinian
Water Service Providers
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