Water security is one of the greatest challenges of this century.   It lies at the core of the nexus of agricultural, energy, climate, economic and geopolitical challenges.   Since women in many countries are at the forefront of the daily struggle for water security, it is imperative that women take a leading role in water resource policy-making and implementation.

WATER FIRST! is working to assure that women scientists, engineers and policy makers in Africa are educated and empowered to assume those leadership roles.  The project was initiated with our first workshop in Namibia in 2016 and our second in Rwanda in 2017.  Set of recommendations and action items were developed at these initial workshops.

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We are excited to announce that the Elsevier Foundation is funding us to do three more WATER FIRST! workshops in Africa for 2019-2021!  The workshops are being offered to African women scientists and engineers working in the area of water research, management or policy.  Those with a masters or doctoral level degree and a few years of experience beyond those degrees is also preferred.  The goals of the workshop are to discuss critical water resource science and engineering issues in various regions of Africa, to network with others with common interests for possible future collaborations and to provide an opportunity for addressing issues that are slowing the career progress of women scientists and engineers working in this topical area.  The first workshop is planned for Accra Ghana September 8-10, 2019.   The workshops are being organized by COACh in partnership with the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD).


WATER FIRST! is one of the international programs directed by COACh,  a grassroots organization that is working around the globe to increase the number and success of women in science and engineering careers.   Founded in 1997, COACh has brought its programs to over 20,000 scientists and engineers in the U.S. and over 20 developing countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Sponsors for WATER FIRST!

Sponsors for WATER FIRST! are the Elsevier Foundation, the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs and the University of Oregon.


Join us!

If you are interested in being part of our WATER FIRST! project, send us an email and we will add you to our list of members.


Contact Information

  Email:  coach@uoregon.edu       Phone:  541-346-0116 (US)

Address:  1253 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403  USA

Director:  Prof. Geraldine Richmond

COACh Program Coordinator: Ms. Priscilla Lewis


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