“The gender training has had a huge impact on our households,” one woman from the village of Fignonhou, Benin, told us after we had conducted a gender sensitivity training in her community. “There was a lot of quarrelling between husbands and wives before. Now, few people quarrel. Violence against women has decreased.”

When another woman first went to a hygiene and sanitation training put on by GAiN [as part of the Maternal Newborn Child Health (MNCH) project, in partnership with the Government of Canada] her husband was angry with her for going without his permission. However, when he noticed the useful information she was learning and how it improved their lives, he was happy to see her participate in more training and activities.

Sometimes it is these small improvements in women’s lives that give hope. When before, women were devalued and forbidden to take action and responsibility, now, they are now trusted and empowered to create change. They are given a new status within their homes and communities.

This year for International Development Week (IDW), the theme is “Together for Gender Equality.” Through our projects, one way that we aim to restore justice is by addressing gender inequality in the developing countries in which we work.

After 13 years of providing deep-capped water wells in remote areas, we’ve seen the power that clean water has to transform individuals and entire villages – not only to improve health but also the quality of life for women.

Over the last two years, we’ve been able to help mothers and children through the MNCH project by:

  • Providing water wells in the village near medical clinics. This not only reduces diseases but also eases the burden of time and physical demands for women and girls, allowing them to attend school, focus on the needs of their families and other economic activities.
  • Providing hygiene and sanitation education, as well as handwashing stations.
  • Equipping village champions with the tools to promote proper hygiene and community health.
  • Improving local health services by providing clinic trainings for village health workers to improve their skills.
  • Empowering women through gender sensitivity training for both men and women. The goal is to foster healthy family relationships and ensure that the rights of women are better understood and respected, as their participation in decision making and control of resources is valued.

Learn more and see how you can join us in becoming change-makers in advancing gender equality in countries like Benin and Togo.

We are partnering with Global Affairs Canada to reduce the mortality rate of women and children, improve access to clean water, provide training in healthy practices and gender sensitivity, and increase absorption and consumption of nutritious foods by mothers, pregnant women, newborns and children under the age of five in Benin and Togo.

On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, both Global Affairs Canada and our team officially signed the contribution agreement for $3.6 million. Total value of this four-year project is $4.2 million, with Global Affairs Canada contributing 85% of the funds, and the remaining 15% will be funded through the public and our constituents.

The $4.2 million will go toward our Water for Life Initiative (WFLI) and will be used to continue and expand the well drilling and community development work that WFLI is doing in rural areas in Benin and Togo. As well, this partnership will help build and sustain the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) through the delivery of multiple, complementary health interventions.

“Women and girls around the world face particular challenges, including access to sexual and reproductive health services. With Canada’s support to the work done by GAiN Canada, we continue to address many of those challenges, by helping to improve the health of women and children in rural areas of Benin and Togo.”- Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

With $600,000 to raise, we will look to our faithful donors as well as share this opportunity with new potential donors who align themselves with this project and who want to help contribute to strengthening health systems, reducing disease and improving nutrition.

“We are excited about the partnership with Global Affairs Canada. This project builds upon the success of the Water for Life Initiative to further maximize impact on mothers and children to regain the health they deserve,” shares Tim Lee, the Associate Director for GAiN’s Water for Life Initiative.

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