Water for Women announces $1.2 million commitment to further WASH innovation and impact on World Water Day


The Australian Government’s Water for Women Fund is pleased to announce its Innovation and Impact Grants that will see up to AUD$1.2 million awarded to projects and innovations that support climate resilience and gender and socially inclusive aspects of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects in Asian and Pacific communities. Announced today on the globally celebrated World Water Day to draw attention to the critical importance of water – a most precious resource.

We all need water to survive, as do all the systems we rely on: sanitation, healthcare, education, agriculture, business and industry. Around the world, extreme weather events are impacting water security.

The recent spread of COVID-19 has highlighted the critical importance of hygiene. Handwashing with soap is essential to reduce transmission of microbes including viruses such as COVID-19.  Without safe water in ready supply, appropriate sanitation and hygiene practices to reduce disease are very difficult, even impossible.

Water plays a fundamental role in healthy communities and families, and water security is intrinsically linked to a changing climate. Gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive in the face of increasing risks from climate change.

Today, 1 in 3 people – around 2.2 billion – live without safe drinking water. We must use water more equitably. We must balance all of society’s water needs while ensuring the most vulnerable don’t get left behind.

Sustainable and efficient use of water and gender and socially inclusive approaches are critical to climate change resilience.

“Women and marginalised people are the most vulnerable to climate change impacts, and they are therefore in strong positions to contribute to sustainable solutions to these challenges,” says Dr Alison Baker, Water for Women Fund Manager. “We see a very clear link between empowering women and tackling climate change, and WASH interventions are an important entry point to gender equality.”

That is why these new grants will focus on these two broad thematic areas:

  1. Climate resilience and adaptation
  2. Gender and socially inclusive WASH

The grants will be open to existing Water for Women Civil Society Organisations and new or existing research organisations (consortiums are also eligible and will be encouraged).

The grants will be offered as small-scale (up to AUD$50,000) and larger scale (up to AUD$200,000) for up to two years. The grants will be made available to support the piloting of innovations by individual Water for Women Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), including the scaling up of successful innovations, undertaking action research activities in innovative areas, and conducting valuable impact assessment activities. 

Larger scale grants will require collaboration with recognised research organisations (with a record of accomplishment in WASH related research).

Eligible regions for the grants include South Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific.  It is envisaged that there will be a geographic spread of successful grants across the regions, with a particular emphasis on submissions that provide innovative and impactful solutions for the Pacific.

Detailed guidance on the grants will be released by Water for Women in May 2020. [UPDATE: due to the evolving COVID-19 Pandemic, the Innovation & Impact Grants release has been delayed until next Financial Year, with a date to be confirmed. If you would like to be updated about the Innovation & Impact Grants when they do go to market next financial year, you can subscribe to our news feed here. Be sure to select 'news' in the News section.]


About Water for Women

Australia supports socially inclusive and sustainable water initiatives.

Water for Women aims to support improved health, gender equality and wellbeing in Asian and Pacific Communities through socially inclusive and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects. 

Water for Women is Australia’s flagship WASH program working in 15 countries across Asia and the Pacific through 18 WASH projects and 11 research projects. Our partners are working to ensure that gender equality and social inclusion is central to our projects and that we ‘Do No Harm.’


Photo by SNV / Aidan Dockery

Contact Us