Gender and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)

Second Edition

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About This Course

Fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce across the world, while remaining a daily basic need for all. This turns into a bigger issue as decisions about the different uses of water are overshadowed by men, while the actual use of water is mostly by women for their families, exacerbating this disparity. Being aware of this reality makes it difficult to ignore the need for integrated water resources management (IWRM) through a gender-inclusive approach.


Gender and water resources are intrinsically linked. As such, we need to learn how to apply sustainable and inclusive water resources management to ensure resilience in a world of changing climate, with meaningful participation of all stakeholders. This second version of the Gender and IWRM course is a result of the overwhelmingly positive response received from participants, and the demand for more case studies and interactive sessions. As such, participants will be invited to join the Gender Community of Practice monthly live sessions with the experts and go through some interactive exercises to test their knowledge along the way!


Guided by the Why Gender Matters in IWRM training manual, this course unravels the existing challenges faced by vulnerable groups when dealing with water, demonstrates how the two are connected, explains the benefits of addressing them in an integrated way, and presents comprehensive tools on how to achieve this. An abundance of case studies and lessons learned are shared to provide concrete examples which can be tailored and adapted to suit practitioners’ needs.


The course aims to improve practitioners’ understanding of the benefits of integrating gender meaningfully through integrated water management practices.

The course discusses the tools required to fully integrate women and vulnerable participants, and the potential negative impacts of ignoring gender components when planning for water and sanitation, climate resilient measures, and inclusive participation in the water sector. The modules provide examples of tools and practical ways forward, as well as real-life case studies. The various monitoring and gender-specific indicators are also discussed.

By the end of the course, participants will be able to design and implement integrated and inclusive interventions in the water sector which ensure strong recognition of marginalised groups, leverage their knowledge towards adaptive measures to climate change, and work towards inclusive representation and access for sustainable management practices.


Participants representing various stakeholder groups from the entire water sector globally are invited to take this course:


  • stakeholders and professionals forming part of water management, civil society, river basin, or international organisations; development programmes, members of UN organisations, and representatives of the private sector;
  • Sustainable Development Goals focal points and facilitators within national governments
  • decision-makers, policy-makers, and high-level professionals and managers active in governmental bodies
  • capacity developers active in the fields of integrated water resources management, climate action, gender mainstreaming, stakeholder engagement, monitoring and evaluation among others.

Participants are expected to have previous knowledge of the basic concepts of integrated water resources management. A basic understanding of the impacts of climate change on water resources is expected. No previous knowledge of gender or its interactions with water is required

Contents and course structure

The course contains the following modules:

Introduction to Gender and Integrated Water Resources Management.

In this module, the participants get a recap of the four aspects of IWRM: environmental sustainability, economic efficiency, social equity, and good governance. Participants will learn WHY to integrate gender and diversity and also HOW to do this in their work, in water management, for WASH, agriculture, environment, and climate-related activity.

Gender, Water, and Climate Change

Module 2 aims to improve practitioners’ understanding of the adverse impacts that climate change has on water resources, and more specifically on women, children, and vulnerable groups. The module discusses various management solutions and the benefits of implementing inclusive adaptation responses through policy, capacity development initiatives, and investments, which deal with water as social and economic public goods.

Gender, Water, and Meaningful Participation in Decision-making Processes

Module 3 highlights the importance of meaningful participation of all stakeholders, including those from the most vulnerable parts of society. It provides guidelines and tools on how to ensure meaningful participation, using examples from IWRM and broader development context. .

Gender-Disaggregated Data and Monitoring IWRM

In this module the collection of gender-disaggregated data, quantitative and qualitative is explained: the WHY and the HOW. The module also covers Inclusive Monitoring in relation to the Theory of Change, with annual Inclusive Outcome Harvesting. 

Each module consists of mandatory readings based on the training manual and is complemented by additional resources: videos, websites, case studies, and suggested readings. Participants are invited to share their experiences and questions through dedicated discussion forums in each of the modules.

Community of Practice

The Gender and Water Resources Management Community serves as a knowledge exchange and discussion space where gender and water practitioners directly share their experiences, views and ideas related to Gender and Integrated Water Resources Management, as well as upcoming opportunities and events.

Participants have the opportunity to:

- interact with other course participants as well as with gender and water experts during and after the course

- ask questions and share views, ideas, opportunities and events

- continue the learning process enjoying additional content

This space will help you improve your course experience, and hope it will become a safe and lively space for interaction and exchange on gender, social inclusion and water issue, during and beyond the course.


Course approval criteria and certificate

Approval requires 70 percent correct responses on the set of multiple-choice questions in each module. Participants who complete all modules receive a certificate granted by the course organisers.

Answering the multiple-choice questions at the end of each module is a condition to move on to the next module, completing the course, and receiving a course certificate. Participants have up to three chances to obtain at least 70 percent correct responses, and in all cases the platform will indicate the wrong answers.

After completing the four modules, participants are invited to answer a short feedback survey on the course. Once this survey is answered, participants may download their certificate.

Participation in the course, as well as the download of the certificate, is free to the participant.

What people say about the course

The most valuable concept this course introduced to me is the ways on adapting and integrating gender equality in planning for water resources management such as using the gender analysis method.”

- Course Participant, The Philippines

For me, the most valuable concept was the monitoring and example indicators. I am new to WASH projects, and these examples helped me understanding and expand my ideas for potential indicators.

- Course Participant, USA

As a member of the National Land Commission, we are tasked to govern and manage all natural resources including water. This course has enlightened me on management approaches that involves gender and more so intersectionality. The knowledge acquired will be used sustainably for the good of our people together with their natural resources.”

- Course Participant, Kenya

I am currently working in a project to empower women to restore wetlands in Mexico City. Thus, it was very relevant to the project I am working on.”

- Course Participant, Mexico

Language: English.

Structure: 4 modules.

Level: Introductory.

Content: readings, videos, forums.

Time: 20 hours.

Total time dedication: 4 weeks.

Institutions: Cap-Net, Global Water Partnership, Gender and Water Alliance

Certification: upon approval of quizzes at the end of each module.