We empower women
DHI Group is empowering women to become the new managers of the global water sector with the assistance of Danida Fellowship Centre.
By Miriam Feilberg, Project Manager at DHI
“There are too few women in the world’s water sector and we need to do something about this. We must train women and enable them to develop their careers and become tomorrow’s global water leaders.”
This is how Dr. Torkil Jønch Clausen reasoned when he received ‘King Hassan II Great World Water Prize’ at World Water Forum in 2006.
Dr. Torkil Jønch Clausen, who is Chief Water Policy Adviser in the DHI Group and Chair of the Scientific Programme Committee for World Water Week in Stockholm, therefore decided to use the funds to establish the ‘Danish Initiative for Women Water Managers’ In 2007.
The water sector is male dominated
All over the world and, in particular, in developing countries women bear the burden of insufficient and unclean water.
Women spend hours fetching water, getting rid of water, caring for sick children due to dirty water, trying to grow food with too little water, but they are not managers of water institutions and they are underrepresented in organisations dealing with water and sanitation.
The water sector is male dominated in most countries.
Women as water managers
To change this, DHI initiated the ‘Danish Initiative for Women Water Managers’ with the purpose ofsupporting career development for women as managers in the water sector in developing countries.
We have implemented different types of training. Based on our experiences, the programme now consists of 3 elements:
1. One week training course at DHI in water management and career development
2. One week internship at a Danish water institution or company
3. One year mentoring programme, which means that a representative of the organisation visited will function as mentor for the woman and guide her career development.
So far 28 participants
The result of the programme speaks for itself.
28 women have participated in the programme so far.
Seven Danish companies: COWI, DCE-AU, DHI, Grontmij, Grundfos, Aarhus Vand and Vandcenter Syd have contributed with internships and mentors and we have visited numerous organisations such as The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, KVINFO, local water supply and sewage plants.
In 2013, Ida Auken, the Danish Minister of the Environment met with the women.
Danida helped funding the programme in 2011 and 2013
In 2011, the original contribution from Dr. Jønch Clausen was almost exhausted and Danida generously funded half of the 2011 programme and the whole of the 2013 programme thus enabling 12 more women to participate.
If you want to learn more, or wish to contribute to our activities please contact the secretariat of the Initiative: Hanne Berthelsen, DHI, firstname.lastname@example.org
Janet Atim, Uganda, National Water & Sewerage Corporation, Principal Engineer: “First of all, I have been inspired by many of the ladies who have spoken and shared experiences with us. It has helped me to focus more on what I want to do in life and what I believe in. And it has also built my confidence in expressing myself and in my ability to be a very good leader.”
Thuy Trang Dang, Vietnam: WWF Greater Mekong Programme, Mekong Coordinator: “The confidential mentor-mentee relationship is helpful because I know that I can trust the mentor, and that he would give objective advice, which might not be the case if the mentor was from the same organisation. I think the mentorship program is the best part of the whole programme, as it is tailored to my needs.”
Anette Steen Pedersen, DFI Group board member, Denmark: “Sustainability in competence building and learning is key. Our program has combined training and internship in Denmark with a long distance mentoring relationship for the participant. When she returns from Denmark she still has continuity for her learning – she has a mentor”.
What is DHI?
DHI is a global, independent research and development organization working within the fields of water, environment and health. DHI provides a wide range of consulting, research and policy services.
DHI has 1100 employes worldwide, 350 of whom are based in Denmark.
Every year, DHI receives a large number of students and professionals from all over the world who attend courses. Many of them are not linked to the Danida programmes.
Read more about DHI on www.dhigroup.com
DFC and DHI
DHI makes regularly use of the Danida Fellowship Centre expertise for handling courses, study tours and professionals visiting Denmark.Go back to all stories