IWA Gender Diversity and Water Award

Introducing the IWA Gender Diversity and Water Award

The IWA Gender Diversity and Water Award recognises individuals for their outstanding professional contribution to the advancement of gender diversity supporting both equity and wider impactful change in the water sector.

This award recognises the contribution of an individual, rather than an organisation or project. Eligible candidates can be IWA members or non-members from academia, science or practice (utilities, consultancy, technology providers, government, NGOs and civil society, or international organisations). Candidates for the award are shortlisted from the nominations submitted by active IWA members. Self-nominations and nominations by family members are not accepted.

The award winner will be recognised for the excellence of their contribution in terms of the criteria set out in the judging criteria set out below. All applications are made on a confidential basis.

Assessment criteria and procedure

Impact – The nominee will have made an impact on the advancement of gender diversity, as evidenced by measurable outcomes such as the number of people affected and the scale of transformation. This impact should be achieved in connection with relevant policies, programmes, or other activities.

Accessibility – The nominee will have led activities that are accessible and open to all women within the institution or group concerned.

Innovation – The nominee will have implemented new ideas, initiatives, or practices that have not been employed before.

Based on these criteria, a review panel will make a preliminary assessment of all submissions and develop a shortlist of nominees.

Shortlisted candidates will proceed to the second stage, where they will be requested to provide more information about their career paths. This information will then be assessed by a judging panel formed by high-level IWA members, comprising experts from industry, university, utilities and stakeholders in the water and wastewater sector from various regions.

Award ceremony

The winner of the 2024 IWA Gender Diversity and Water Award will receive a trophy and certificate honouring their contributions. The Award will be presented at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Toronto, Canada (11-15 August 2024), in front of a global audience of water leaders. Additionally, the winner will be introduced to various important groups and committees within IWA.


Who can submit a nomination?

Nominators must be active IWA members. Self-nominations and nominations submitted by family members of the nominee will not be accepted.

The deadline is over. May I still submit my nomination?

No, it won’t be possible to submit nominations after the deadline. If the nomination period is closed, it means that the judging process has started and we are unable to consider late submissions.

Is more than one person able nominate me for the award?

Candidates may be nominated by multiple members, however only one nomination may be considered.

Can I withdraw or edit my nomination?

Yes. Should you wish to withdraw or edit the nomination after it has been submitted, please send your request to awards@iwahq.org

What language can nominations be made in?

Unfortunately we are only able to consider nominations made in English. Please do not submit your nomination in another language as these nominations will not be considered.

2022 IWA Gender & Diversity Award

Annabell Waititu, Bigfive Africa Ltd., Kenya


Annabell Waititu is the winner of the 2022 IWA Gender & Diversity Award. She is a founding partner and Vice President of Programs at Bigfive Africa and brings a distinguished 20-year career in the water and environment sectors in East Africa, particularly in the areas of policy reforms, gender equality mainstreaming, and climate resilience. Ms. Waititu has worked on leading sector initiatives including Water for African Cities, the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation program, the Nile Basin Initiative, and the Kenyan 2002 water sector reforms, Water and Sanitation Improvement Program among others. She has consulted with the Kenyan Ministry of Water and Irrigation, UN Women, World Bank, UN HABITAT and many international donors and development partners. She is a Fellow at the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and an associate of WOCAN (Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural resource management). She is also servicing in various Boards of leading organizations and initiatives

Learn more about Annabell Waititu…

Women in Water awardees

In 2022, IWA launched the first edition of the Gender Diversity and Water Award. Below you can find the past Women in Water awardees.

2020 IWA Women in Water Award

Nafisa Barot


Nafisa Barot is the winner of the 2020 IWA Women in Water Award. With four decades of experience in building and capacitating gender sensitive institutions for the empowerment of rural marginalized communities, Nafisa Barot is actively associated with the women’s and other people’s movements, influencing people and policies around water, gender justice and sustainable development. She is a founder-member of Utthan, an NGO based in Gujarat, India, that has a vast experience of mobilising women for better access to water.

Learn more about Nafisa Barot…

2018 IWA Women in Water Award

Akissa Bahri


Akissa Bahri is the winner of the 2018 IWA Women in Water Award 2018. The award acknowledges and celebrates female leadership in the field of water. The award showcases an individual’s excellence in leadership as demonstrated by outstanding initiatives, impact of work and inspiration to others.

Learn more about Akissa Bahri…

2016 IWA Women in Water Award

Rose Kaggwa

Rose Kaggwa is nominated as the recipient of the 2016 IWA Women in Water Award.  She has worked in various management levels within the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) and is the Director of Business and Scientific Services. Rose is responsible for Capacity Development and Training, Research and Development and External Services which is the NWSC Consultancy arm. She has 24 years’ of experience in the water sector.

Rose has interfaced with various players in the water sector and has spearheaded partnerships in several countries that include: Bangaladesh, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, India and Zambia. She has been a key player in the various performance improvement approaches applied in the NWSC at both managerial and supervisory level and has led the NWSC consultancy unit for the last 10 years. She is the current Second President of the African Water Association Scientific and Technical Committee. She is Vice President of the UNESCO – IHP Advisory Committee for Human settlement, water and sanitation. Her passion is capacity development and raising the profile of women in the water and sanitation sector.

She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Chemistry (Honours) from Makerere University, Uganda, a Master of Science degree in Water Quality Management, limnology and wetland ecology (with distinction) and a doctorate in Environmental Resources from UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, The Netherlands.

2014 IWA Women in Water Award

Sue Murphy

Sue Murphy is the CEO of Water Corporation in Western Australia and is recognized in the industry as an innovative water manager and leader. Before her tenure as CEO for WaterCorp began in 2008, Sue had an impressive career both in the field as a site engineer and project manager and also in corporate roles with a focus on human resources, safety and engineering design management. In each year from 2009 to 2014, Sue has been listed in the top 100 most influential engineers in Australia by Engineers Australia.

2012 IWA Women in Water Award

Kusum Athukorala

Kusum Athukorala, Chair of NetWater and the Sri Lanka Water Partnership, was the recipient of the ‘2012 IWA Women in Water Award, recognising Ms. Athukorala’s long association with, and deep commitment to, gender-related issues in water.

Experienced in social science and rural development, Athukorala first started her work in water in 1988 at the former International Irrigation Management Institute (IIMI) – now the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). She worked in the participatory management of farmer organizations at a very early stage, at a time when such work was, in her own words, “anathema to many people.” It was then that she realized that much water-related work contributed by women went largely un-recognized. This prompted her to do a study on gender ideology titled, ‘Women and Irrigation’, which explored the access and control of resources by women and labor participation differentials.

Learn more… 

2010 IWA Women in Water Award

Cassilda Teixeira de Carvalho

President ABES, Brasil

Ms. Teixeira is a widely known and highly respected figure in Brazil, South America and internationally through IWA. She is a drinking water treatment specialist within the utility community of Brazil and long time Director of the Water Quality Committees of both ABES and AIDIS. Ms. Teixeira conceived and launched one of the most significant utility programs in Brazil – the Brazilian Award Programme for Water and Sanitation Management called PNQS. Tied to a utility benchmarking system also developed by Ms. Teixeira, this program has resulted in competition for excellence in many areas of utility management in Brazil. The consequences have been transformational for Brazil’s leading utilities. Ms. Teixeira’s exceptional leadership was endorsed by Brazil’s water industry through her election as the current president of ABES, Brazil’s principal water association, and through her service on the IWA Board of Directors during the period 2008-2010.

2008 IWA Women in Water Award

Dr Joan Rose

Michigan State University professor

Joan B. Rose holds the Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University in the Depts of Fisheries & Wildlife and Plant, Soil and Microbiological Science. and currently leads of the Global Water Pathogens Project in partnership with UNESCO www.waterpathogens.orghttp://www.rose.canr.msu.edu/.  She is the winner of the 2016 Stockholm Water Prize.   She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. She currently serves on the EPA Science Advisory Board for the Great Lakes. Dr. Rose served as the Chair of the Health Related Water Microbiology Specialist Group for the IWA from 2003 to 2010. Elected as a Fellow to the International Water Association, 2010 and as Distinguished Fellow in 2014.   Dr. Rose has served on the Strategic Council for the IWA from 2011-2015 and is Vice Chair of the US National Committee for the IWA.   She received the first International Water Association Hei-jin Woo Award for Achievements of Women in the Water Profession, 2008

Latest Updates

January 22, 2024
Pictured above: Award winners at the Opening Ceremony of the IWA 2022 World Water Congress & Exhibition, left to right: Kala Vairavamoorthy – IWA Exec...
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