Sera Young, Northwestern University: “Accountability is probably the most powerful tool that we have”

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According to the recent report from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene, coverage of safely managed water and sanitation supplies has improved globally since 2000, but the world is not on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goal targets related to universal coverage. Placing a special emphasis on gender, the JMP report notes that inadequate access to water and sanitation, as well as hygiene services, affects men and women in significant, but different, ways. In this episode, Sera Young, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Global Health at Northwestern University and senior associate with the CSIS Food and Water Security Program discusses the relationship between gender and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and explains why it’s important to gather data, not just about men’s and women’s access to water and sanitation infrastructure but also about how individuals’ experience of water insecurity affects their physical and mental health. Armed with data about access and impacts, communities can raise awareness, demand policy change, and oversee improvements in the WASH sector.

Katherine E. Bliss
Senior Fellow and Director, Immunizations and Health Systems Resilience, Global Health Policy Center
Sera Young
Senior Associate (Non-resident), Global Food and Water Security Program