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South Asia Young Women in Water (SAYWiW)

In September 2023, fueled by a shared vision to create a meaningful global impact, five visionary women embarked on a journey that led to the establishment of the "South Asia Young Women in Water" (SAYWiW) platform. This initiative was born out of a casual meeting, which evolved into a powerful force for change in the realm of water management in South Asia. SAYWiW stands as a beacon of empowerment for women water professionals, acknowledging their often-overlooked contributions to driving tangible change in the region. Despite encountering obstacles, these trailblazers persistently pioneer research and innovation, surpassing global counterparts and shaping the future of water management.

Article written by

Tabeer Riaz Co-founder

South Asia Young Women in Water (SAYWiW), Sweden

Tabeer Riaz, a co-founder of South Asia Young Women in Water (SAYWiW), holds a master's degree in Agricultural Economics from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden. Her academic pursuits and professional experience are reflective of her interest in topics such as water resource management, sustainable development, agricultural development, food system, and food security.

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Our mission at SAYWiW is to provide a dynamic platform for these talented individuals, fostering networking, collaboration, and advocacy for gender equality and sustainable practices. With a bold vision of empowering young women across South Asia to emerge as global leaders in water resource management, SAYWiW strives to unite professionals, ensuring authentic representation and a shared commitment to creating a more inclusive and sustainable water future.

We at SAYWiW firmly believe that empowerment starts with genuine representation and equitable opportunities. Therefore, SAYWiW is committed to narrowing the divide between water professionals in South Asia and global platforms, amplifying their voices, and highlighting the distinctive challenges and solutions prevalent in the region. Through fostering a supportive network, we endeavor to uplift the role of young women in the water sector and advocate for positive change.

Navigating Regional Challenges to Foster Peaceful Water Management

This year’s World Water Day theme "Water for Peace"  aligns perfectly with the core objectives of our network, reflecting the intricate realities of South Asia. It captures the genuine essence of our region, underscoring the crucial requirement for peaceful water management solutions amid the complexities of socio-political dynamics.

Transboundary Water Management: Many rivers in South Asia flow through multiple countries, leading to complex transboundary water issues such as Indus Water Treaty. Disputes over water sharing, dam construction, and irrigation projects have strained relations between countries in the region. Prioritizing dialogue, cooperation, and conflict resolution mechanisms can effectively manage shared water resources and foster peaceful coexistence.

Climate Change Adaptation: Climate change is exacerbating water-related challenges in South Asia, including changing rainfall patterns, melting glaciers, and more frequent extreme weather events, as evidenced by the devastating floods in Pakistan in 2022. These changes can exacerbate existing tensions over water resources and increase the risk of conflict. Emphasizing collaborative efforts to adapt to climate change, build resilience, and mitigate potential conflicts is crucial for ensuring sustainable water management practices in the region. 

Water Diplomacy: Advocating for water diplomacy and international agreements is essential for addressing shared water challenges. Collaborative efforts among South Asian countries can lead to the development of equitable and sustainable water-sharing agreements, the establishment of joint monitoring mechanisms, and the cultivation of trust and cooperation among riparian states.

Humanitarian Crises: Access to clean water is essential for human well-being, particularly in conflict-affected areas, with the situation in Afghanistan serving as a distressing example that cannot be overlooked. Advocating for water diplomacy and international agreements is essential for addressing shared water challenges in South Asia. Collaborative efforts among South Asian countries can lead to the development of equitable and sustainable water-sharing agreements, the establishment of joint monitoring mechanisms, and the cultivation of trust and cooperation among riparian states.

SAYWiW's Role in Promoting Water for Peace

At SAYWiW, our commitment lies in nurturing a new cohort of empowered and skilled women professionals within the water sector. As we synchronize our efforts with the holistic theme of "Water for Peace" on World Water Day 2024, our mission gains even greater significance in addressing the pressing water challenges in the South Asia.

We provide a comprehensive approach to empowering young women professionals in the water sector, focusing on networking opportunities, capacity building, and advocacy. Through our vibrant platform, young women from across South Asia connect, collaborate, and exchange knowledge, fostering cross-border dialogue and cooperation essential for peaceful water management practices. Moreover, our targeted training programs, workshops, and mentorship initiatives equip these women with the necessary skills and knowledge to address complex water challenges effectively, empowering them to lead sustainable and peaceful water management efforts in their communities and beyond. Additionally, we offer opportunities for young women to showcase their innovations and research on international platforms, amplifying their voices and recognizing their contributions to water management globally. Through advocacy and awareness campaigns, we strive to promote gender-inclusive water policies and programs in South Asia, raising awareness about the pivotal role of women in water management and peacebuilding, and securing support for their meaningful involvement in shaping the region's water future.



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