Women and Water
Women and Water

Women and Water

Women and Water

The garment industry is one of the largest employers of women workers. Despite their large numbers in the workforce, relatively few female workers have the opportunity to advance their career, and many lack access to the education and skills training they need to support their personal and professional growth. Women face several structural barriers throughout their lifecycle, in household, community and work settings that limit their personal advancement and career enhancement. Gap Inc. launched an innovative capacity building program termed Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) in 2007, to support women in the global apparel industry. P.A.C.E. was developed to impart to these women foundational life skills, technical training and support that will help them advance in the workplace and in their personal lives. The program’s impact is now well documented. From a program that was delivered in Gap Inc.’s vendors’ facilities, P.A.C.E. was subsequently expanded to community settings in 2013 to unlock new possibilities for women and adolescent girls.

In India, CARE is working with USAID and Gap Inc. as a partner of the ambitious Women + Water Alliance (W+W) to improve and sustain the health and well-being of 200,000 women, their households and communities touched by the apparel industry. The program is designed on the premise that by inculcating adoption of key water access, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices and working towards the availability and sharing of quality water resources in a sustained and equitable manner, women will be able to significantly improve their health and wellbeing. For this purpose, W+W uses P.A.C.E. as a key capacity building intervention delivered and managed by a cadre of trainers and project team CARE India.

The five-year Alliance is working towards three interrelated objectives as mentioned below:

  • Advance women’s self-efficacy and agency through P.A.C.E.
  • Accelerate women’s access to sustainable WASH services
  • Aggregate stakeholders to improve water supply and sanitation financing availability and management of community water resources

CARE India has already initiated implementation of the program in seven districts spread across Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, where >19,000 women are actively participating in a contextualized Gap Inc.’s P.A.C.E. training.  To accomplish Objective 1, which is primarily led by CARE, we plan to take women trainees from rural settings through a seven- eight month training program to build their skills in Communication; Problem Solving and Decision Making; Time and Stress Management; Social Entitlements; WASH; Financial Literacy; and WASH Financing. This will ensure that women gain the confidence, knowledge, and skills needed to make life decisions, improve their access to WASH products and services, and make significant contributions as change agents at home and/or in the community.  CARE will also develop a community support system for Gap Inc.’s P.A.C.E. graduates by developing a cadre of Gap Inc.’s P.A.C.E. Champions and Male Champions who will ensure that the skills learnt during the capacity building program are effectively deployed for improved health outcomes. Interface sessions will also be undertaken to bring together WASH stakeholders and provide a vibrant ecosystem that will help address increased demand from women and their households for WASH solutions at both household and community levels.

To further the impact and extend the reach of the partnership, USAID and Gap Inc. plan to actively share information, collaborate, and build partnerships across and beyond the apparel sector to further the impact and extend the reach of the partnership.

Apart from CARE, other partners in the W+W Alliance include Water.org, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) and Institute for Development Impact (I4DI).

Madhya Pradesh