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Community Contribution

Water Management Reforms: A Case of Women As Guardians


Describe The Approaches Utilized To Measure / Assess This KM Initiative: 

Women headed water users organized a Cooperative Society based on participatory approach with the principles of good governance and democracy. Active participation, training and education through constant dialogue with transparency have been effective tools of this project. Similar type projects have been started in other districts also where water shortage exists, especially in the Dry Zone. Cooperative net work as an institution at the grassroots level with legal recognition has been used as a strategy making women as responsible owners and doors.


Cooperative Sector

What Do You Think Are The Main Unanswered Questions Or Challenges Related To This Field Of Work?: 

The top level planners have not recognized potential of women as active members and they are underutilized in development projects.The Cooperative way of living can bring about many social and economic benefits such as helping each other at every occasion int he life , sorrow and happiness, leading to carefree lives.

What Was The Purpose Or Motivation For Assessing This KM Initiative?: 

This story supports internal learning processes with people's participation based on the principles of good governance. the mechanism adopted to sustain the project is an example.

What Would You Do Differently Next Time?: 

the assessment process needs to consider not only the economic and financial aspects but also the social aspect which has multiple effects and spillover effects.The results worth many times the investment as it is a real people's organization. this method can be applied in other developing countries as well.

What Were The Most Important Lessons Learned About The Assessment Process?: 

It demonstrates the benefits of practicing the principles of cooperatives as well as good governance through participatory approach and the role of women in water resource management. economically and socially handicapped women should be empowered not only by financial capital but also by continuous guidance and education through institutional network starting from the grassroots level, involving them as responsible owners and doers. The Women's Cooperative has been able to show the world How women can achieve economic and social stability and partake many other benefits even with a small amount of savings if there is proper guidance, dedication, education and determination.

What Advice Would You Give To Others Based On Your Experience?: 

Empower women and make use of them as leaders in all development activities. Grassroots level institutional network as Cooperatives is a suitable organization to followed by others as well

Describe The KM Initiative: 

Water scarcity is an increasingly urgent challenge for the entire world and a new governance paradigm is necessary to meet the challenges. The state find it extremely difficult to raise the financial resources to meet the growing needs of the increasing population ,industrialization, urbanization and modernization of agriculture. A participatory Water Management Paradigm can provide an enormous impetus for human solidarity and strengthen the role of communities and house holds making WATER EVERY BODY'S BUSINESS. W omen's contribution to the economy both formal and informal sectors are multiple as they play multiple roles as mothers and workers.They can play a pivotal role in a constructive manner as end users of water for which water management reforms through multi-stake holder negotiations are necessary. In this context, the case story presents how poor urban women solve their water problem through cooperative efforts in an environmentally friendly manner, sharing management responsibility without being a burden to the state.


Sri Lanka


This case was submitted as part of the KM Impact Challenge in 2011. The challenge was sponsored by USAID's Knowledge-Driven Microenterprise Development project, as a key part of the project’s Assessing & Learning component, which sought to improve the understanding of how investing in learning can increase and extend the overall impact of USAID's development efforts.

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