WWAP Advisory Group on Gender Equality

The Advisory Group on Gender Equality will assist WWAP in mainstreaming gender equality considerations in its activities and products, in particular the World Water Development Report (WWDR). It will provide guidance and feedback on the design and implementation of the programme's gender mainstreaming strategy, provide expertise, and suggest actions as needed.

The Advisory Group on Gender Equality will initially serve through the 4th phase of WWAP, until the end of 2012.


Ms Gülser Corat

S. Gülser Corat is the Director of UNESCO's Division for Gender Equality in the Office of the Director-General.

Before joining UNESCO in September 2004, she pursued a dual career in the academe and international development.

Her academic work included research and teaching in the field of political economy at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa in Canada.

As an international development practitioner, she was a senior international development advisor for various bilateral development agencies (Canadian International Development Agency and the International Development Research Center), for multi-lateral lending institutions (the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank), UN agencies (UNDP and UNCTAD) and for civil society organizations, especially in Asia and Africa. She also has private sector experience as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an international consulting company (ECI Consulting, Inc.) in Canada.

S.G. Corat is a graduate of the American College for Girls/Robert College in Istanbul and holds a B.A Honours degree from Boğaziçi University (Istanbul, Turkey). She has M.A. degrees from the College of Europe (Bruges, Belgium) and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada).  She pursued her doctoral studies in the Political Science Department of Carleton University.

Ms Kusum Athukorala

Ms Athukorala is a multidisciplinary skilled professional, internationally recognised for her work in IWRM, gender and water.

Crossing disciplinary and academic boundaries to water management from her 12 years previous experience as a university teacher in languages and cultural studies, she holds a MSc in Managing Rural Change, from the Imperial College at Wye, University of London.

She has been a pioneer researcher in gender and water in Sri Lanka. She has spent a large part of the past decade in establishing and growing an array of national and international organisations related to water management including SaciWATERS (South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Studies, Hyderabad – India); Network of Women Water Professionals, Sri Lanka (NetWwater); Global Water Partnership (GWP) and Women for Water Partnership (WfWP) Netherlands.

She works as consultant and resource person with a range of national and international organisations in water management and development studies.


Ms Joanna Corzo

Ms. Corzo Perovic, a native of Peru, holds a Master of Science degree in International Development with a specialization in Population and Development from London School of Economics (LSE).  Her dissertation research was on the feminization of migration. Moreover, Ms. Corzo Perovic has obtained a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Maryland College Park in the U.S. and studied Corporate Marketing in Peru.

In her professional activities, Ms. Corzo Perovic was an advisor for a number of non-government organizations (NGOs) in Peru and has worked with a number of international development organizations in the US. She has over six years of experience in research, project implementation, and monitoring of programs in gender-related issues mainly in the Latin American and the Caribbean region. Moreover, Ms. Corzo Perovic was a contributor to the Spanish Federation Society of Sexology by providing research on global reproductive health and sexual rights for the online magazine. For several years, she has promoted an initiative on art for development.

Ms Irene Dankelman

Irene Dankelman is an ecologist by background. Already as a student she was a strong environmental activist. For over 30 years she has been active as a professional working in the area of environment and sustainable development, working with national and international NGOs, government agencies, academia and the UN(UNIFEM, UNEP).

Since the Women's Conference in Nairobi in 1985 she is specifically focusing her work on gender and environment. Together with Joan Davidson she published the book "Women and Environment in the Third World" (Earthscan, 1988). From that time on she has been working as a lecturer, researcher, consultant, writer and senior advisor in the area of sustainable development and gender issues, and contributed to a wide range of publications and presentations on these subjects. Recently she authored and edited the book "Gender and Climate Change: An Introduction" (Earthscan, 2010).

Irene has been coordinator of IUCN-Netherlands, co-founder of organizations such as Both ENDS (Environment and Development Services for NGOs), Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) and the Nature College. Most of all, she feels herself an advocate for a just and healthy planet, and enjoys working with students, local women and civil society groups. Since the preparations for the Rio Conference she has been closely involved in the work of WEDO (Women's Environment and Development Organisation) and other women's environment organisations. She acted as co-chair of the Netherlands Johannesburg Platform (WSSD). Presently she is university lecturer and consultant, and a board member of several environment and women's NGOs.

People - particularly local women - nature and music, are essential sources of inspiration in Irene's work and life. She hopes to carry their messages forward.

Ms Manal Eid

Manal Eid is master degree holder in gender studies. She has been working in the field of development specializing in gender issue for the past 15 years. She has worked on gender issues in several fields such as health, education and sanitation, but has extensive experience in the water sector. In the water sector, she has worked on mainstreaming gender in the policies and programs of the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation. Working as a gender specialist and consultant for several programs and projects, she has managed to reinstitute gender in participatory water management and involve women as active participants in water management in Egypt. As a gender advisor for the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, she provided technical assistance on gender awareness and mainstreaming strategies in Egypt's national water resource plan and developed the gender strategy for the ministry's gender unit. In addition, she has also designed, initiated and managed gender empowerment programs in different fields of health and education.

Working as a social development consultant for the World Bank, she conducted several studies and assessments on gender and water management and provided TA to the Bank's sanitation project.

Prof. Atef Hamdy

Mr. Hamdy is Emeritus Professor in Water Resources Management at Center International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Mediterraneennes (CIHEAM) / Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari, Italy.

He received his Ph.D in Soil and water science in 1972.

Prof. Hamdy is a recognized international expert in the field of water resources management with more than 35 years of professional experiences in coordinating the educational, training, research programmes and net working activities, having been the director of research at Bari institute from 1980 to 2006.

He coordinated several regional projects supported by international organizations such as the European Commission, the World Bank, IFAD, UNDP and FAO. He is also member of IWRA and ICID working group on capacity building training and education (WG.CBTE), GWP/Med, WWC and the board of governors, Arab Water Council (AWC).

Prof. Hamdy supervised more than 100 master and doctorate thesis in the field of water resources management and particularly the non conventional ones including saline and treated waste water. He is the author of about 200 scientific publications, 50 proceedings of several conferences and scientific events, 20 books and recently an encyclopedia of 13 volumes on the water resources development and management in the Arab world.

In the last 10 years a great part of his running activities was devoted to water management: the socio economic aspects and in particular to gender issues, in this regard Prof. Hamdy coordinated the EU programme, “integration of gender dimension in water management in the Mediterranean region’’ (INGEDI), and acted as scientific advisor of the project “mainstreaming gender dimensions in to water resources development and management in the Mediterranean region’' (GEWAD). In this field more than 15 scientific publications were issued mainly on the mainstreaming of gender dimensions, in water resources management. The experience gained in this field was, recently presented in the following two books:

  • Gender mainstreaming in the water sector: theory, practices, mentoring and evaluation.
  • Gender and water resources management: lessons learned and the way forward. 

Ms Deepa Joshi

Ms Joshi is currently Assistant Professor, Conjunctive Water Management and Conflicts, South Asia, at the Irrigation and Water Engineering Group at Wageningen University. In her current work she focuses on the gender and political representations of diverse conflicts and the inter- and intra-household impacts of dynamic transitions in water allocations and use in increasingly fluid urban/rural geographies and economies, including the effects of urban water grabs on peri-urban and rural water uses; and wastewater reuse in agriculture. She is also working on climate-induced water impacts on poverty and livelihoods in the Eastern Himalaya regions. In the past, she has worked on urban water supply and sanitation and the gender-culture effects on hygiene behaviour.

She has a Ph.D. in Gender and Water Resource Management from the University of Southampton in the UK and has over 10 years of program management and policy research experience in natural resources management and governance. This includes work in the following areas especially in South Asia:

  • Diversity and Livelihoods in Natural Resources Management
  • Agriculture, Irrigation and inter- and intra-household Food Security
  • Water Supply, Environmental Sanitation and Behavioral Health
  • Urban Poverty and Shelter
  • Organizational Development and Culture
  • Gender Policy and Institutional Analysis

Ms Joshi also worked in South East Asia, Africa and Latin America. Her academic and policy research publications mostly focus on how inequality by gender intersects with other cross-cutting inequalities as well as the reiteration of gendered inequalities at multiple institutional levels.

Ms Kenza Robinson

Kenza Kaouakib-Robinson was appointed Secretary of UN-Water in March 2011. She is a Senior Sustainable Development Officer in the Water, Energy and Strategies Branch of the Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York. Her experience in the United Nations system spans more than twenty years, including a five year assignment at the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, as well as stints in various peacekeeping missions. She has managed, for many years, national and regional water resources projects notably in Africa and the Middle East. She has also been involved in Water and Gender issues, and served as Chair of the Gender and Water Task Force of the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality. In 2008, she was designated the UN Focal point for the International Year of Sanitation. She holds a Master’s Degree and the Diplôme D’études Approfondies (DEA, 3ème cycle) in Land Management (Aménagement du Territoire) from the Institut de Géographie of the Université d’Aix-Marseilles II. She is fluent in Arabic, English, French and Spanish.

Ms Buyelwa Sonjica

Buyelwa Patience Sonjica went to school in Port Elizabeth and after working as a student nurse for a short period of time, became involved in student politics in 1976 in the area of East London. She completed a higher primary teacher's course at Rubusoma Training College in 1977 and obtained a secondary teachers certificate at Vista University in 1983. She has a long history in Eastern Cape education and political circles, having taught at schools in the province between 1979 and 1994. In addition to her teaching qualifications, she obtained a BA degree, majoring in English and Xhosa, from Vista and a further BA (Honours) in Xhosa from Rhodes. She also signed up for an economics qualification through the University of London.

Buyelwa Sonjica became an active member of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) from its inception. She rose to management ranks in the ANC after 1990 and was elected to Parliament in 1994. She served in the first parliamentary portfolio committee of arts and culture, as well as in the portfolio committees on finance, trade and industry and water affairs and forestry. She also chaired the select committee on child care facilities in 1995. In 2003 she became deputy minister of arts, culture, science and technology, until she was appointed as minister of water affairs and forestry in 2004. In 2006, however, she had to take over the portfolio of minister of minerals and energy, and in 2009 she was appointed minister of water and environmental affairs, a post she held until 2010.

Ms Barbara van Koppen

Ms Theresa Wasike

Ms Theresa Wasike is the Gender Focal Point at the Ministry of Water & Irrigation in Kenya. She is responsible for ensuring Ministry staff is sensitized to the importance of gender mainstreaming when developing projects and programmes.

The Ministry is currently partnering with the World Bank to strengthen the capacity of Gender Focal Points to mainstream gender within their own state corporations and departments through training. The World Bank and the Ministry are also working together to build capacity in the water utilities.

Ms Wasike has made two presentations at the World Water Week in Stockholm on Gender Mainstreaming in Kenya’s water sector, and recently attended a workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – the objective of which was to change perceptions of gender mainstreaming.

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