Cowater’s programming aims to promote locally-driven change for the empowerment of people in target countries and regions. A gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) lens emphasizes the inclusion of women, girls and other vulnerable populations such as youth, the elderly, persons with disabilities, the very poor, minority groups, displaced and conflict-affected populations, migrant workers and those employed in informal or hazardous sectors. Due to entrenched societal norms and discrimination, women and other vulnerable people are most at risk in times of crisis, including during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
On a daily basis, humanitarian organizations report increased incidences of gender-based violence, neglect of the elderly, migrants and imprisoned populations, lack of protections for frontline workers, increased destitution of the poor and homeless and more. Cowater is ideally suited to respond to this challenge given donors’ trust in our ability, the technical capacity of our staff and partners, and our footprint in countries around the globe. Cowater staff have pivoted to re-design existing interventions and to introduce new activities proactively and in response to donor requests to address challenges resulting from COVID-19.
This tool aims to support these efforts by both categorizing the range of challenges faced in the COVID-19 crisis and also providing example solutions. The health and safety of all partners, staff and beneficiaries engaged in our projects is a Cowater priority, and as such must be at the forefront in considering all activities, including those responding to COVID-19.