Committed to the Water Vision for Europe by initiating, supporting and enhancing initiatives and projects, giving water a common voice in Europe.
  • Bookmark and Share
  • Increase Font
  • Decrease Font

Women for Water Partnership in Marseille: “There is a hole in the bucket!”

Mar 22nd, 2012 |

Brussels, 22 March 2012: “Let’s get together to fix the hole in the bucket” was the slogan of the two key events, organized by the Women for Water Partnership (WfWP) on the occasion of the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, France. Both events highlighted the central role of women in the provision, management and safeguarding of water and contributed to the Forum with clear commitments and solutions.

Preconference Marseille

"There is a hole in the bucket", WfWP preconference in Marseille

On the eve of the 6th World Water Forum (March 10th and 11th), over 100 women and an occasional man gathered in Marseille to debate Women’s Leadership in Water and to forge concrete solutions. The Women leadership Preparatory Conference agreed on concerted action to make access to water for food, domestic use and income generating activities a reality for the Bottom Billion on our Planet who lack such basic needs. The Women’s pre-conference on Women Leadership in Water and Sanitation concentrated on 3 main themes: women’s role in water and food security, community water management and water, peace and security from a woman’s perspective. Civil society organizations presented their reality cases and interacted with ministers, representatives from international institutions, government agencies, development organizations and grassroots women organizations to jointly determine the way forward and develop a road map to implement agreed principles and policies.

On March 14th women took the centre stage at the 6th World Water Forum. Presented by the two co-chairs Mariet Verhoef Cohen and Kusum Athukorala and UN Water secretary Kenza Robinson, nine women and two men from different parts of the world showed their concrete challenges and solutions, coming out of the women’s preconference to the 6th World Water Forum on the ‘Catwalk to effective water governance and sustainable livelihood’:

1. Let us move from talking to action

2. Needs-based approach! We know the what, involve us in the how!

3. Empower women to play a central role in the provision, management and safeguarding of water!

4. Sustainability of water provision and management is a social issue, not a technical issue!

5. Involve us as opportunities for rapid change! Promote women’s leadership!

6. Dare to let go and delegate responsibility to local level!

7. In times of crisis, put your money where your mouth is!

8. From policies to implementation, the principal actors change!

9. Create a gender sensitive cadre of young water professionals!

High level Catwalk conference
High level Catwalk conference

The high level panel, consisting of inter alia Minister Maria Mutagamba from Uganda, Hon. Rejoyce Mubadafhasi, Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, South Africa, Mr. Donald Steinberg, Head of US Mission to the Forum, Deputy Administrator USAID and Mrs. Famke Janssen, ambassador for Green Cross and famous actor reacted and committed themselves to be partners in achieving water and food security for all and to implement the solutions above. To that effect together we will:

  • Empower women as agents of change;
  • Strengthen women’s organizations and their role in community development;
  • Develop and strengthen gender sensitisation for governments and water professionals;
  • Strengthen intergenerational equity;
  • Work towards the establishment of an International Women and Water Day;
  • Monitor progress and report to global fora.

To download the key messages and the proposed solutions, please click here.

Last but not least Women for Water together with Green Cross and Global Peace Women through posters presented the work of women in water related projects in (potential and post) conflict areas. Please click on the links below to see a selection of posters.

Safe water with women: Fatma Yilmaz

Safe water with women: Marianne Grosspietsch

Safe water with women: Maude Barlow

Safe water with women: Wang Yonchen

Safe water with women: Vandana Shiva

About Women for Water Partnership:

WfWP consists of 24 women’s networks and their subsidiaries which operate in approximately 90 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the EECCA region and Western Europe. WfWP focuses on women’s social and economic development by fulfilling basic water and sanitation needs. The network emphasizes on empowerment, local ownership, equity mainstreaming, partnership, and grassroots development.

For more information, please visit the website:

Contact for the press:

Alice Bouman-Dentener, President WfWP,;

Kusum Athukorala, Outreach & Communication,;

French speaking: Mariet Verhoef-Cohen, Co-Chair Pre-conference:;

WfWP secretariat:

Feedback Form