International Women’s Day 2024


Inspiring inclusion

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated every year on March 8th to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about discrimination and take action to drive gender parity. The campaign theme for 2024 is Inspire Inclusion. It is about understanding, valuing and seeking out the inclusion of women and girls within communities, organisations, government, education and all the other sectors of society.

Skat Foundation’s vision and work fully align to this. As an organisation, we hold gender equality as part of our core values. We believe that sustainable development and poverty eradication are only possible if women and girls have the same opportunities as men and boys.

Empowering women and girls through our work

We bundle our efforts to improve the access of vulnerable communities across the world to basic services such as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Renewable Energy and Waste Management. Although progress has been made, gender inequalities persist, reflecting systemic challenges that disproportionately affect women and girls. We are committed to contributing to the reduction of these disparities and consider gender equality and social inclusion integral to all three of our focus areas. Below, we share some examples of how we have been empowering women and girls through our activities and programmes.

RWSN Mentoring Programme

Through the Mentoring Programme of the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN), which is hosted by Skat Foundation, we aim to empower young professionals and foster their career progression in the water sector. This year’s edition will include a special track for women only (“Women in WASH”), which will comprise traditional and peer-to-peer mentoring. The 2024 RWSN Mentoring Programme is implemented in collaboration with Agenda for Change and the Global Water Centre, and is open free of charge to all RWSN members. More information here.

RWSN mentee Arra Clarize Jose and RWSN mentor Aline Saraiva Okello, Ph.D. Credits: RWSN.


In La Paz, Bolivia, we are carrying out a project that focuses on the integration and reintegration of Bolivian women and youth into the labour market, with a lens on sustainability and waste management. It aims to provide them with job opportunities in companies and micro-enterprises that promote circular and green economy. Our results achieved in 2023 include:


  • 81 young women (18-30 years old) from socially vulnerable groups were empowered, of which 56 have a permanent job.
  • 300 young people between 16 and 19 years of age (70% women) benefited from educational orientation to enter the labour market.
  • 22 small and micro ecological enterprises run by women were strengthened and managed following a circular economy approach.

Women reached by the (re)integration project in La Paz, Bolivia. Credits: Ser Familia.

Inspiring inclusion in our team


Skat Foundation also values and promotes women inclusion within its team. As a women-led organisation composed mainly by female professionals, with strong representation from the Global South, we are proud of our diverse background.

Hear what some of our team members and partners have to say about inspiring inclusion and the gender disparities regarding the access to water, renewable energy and waste management services.

I still remember how shocked I was when I learned that access to water was not recognised as a human right until 2010. I also learned that girls are nearly twice as likely as boys to be responsible for fetching water, which causes them to miss school. Before that moment, I was only curious about water, but after learning about these issues, I found my motivation to stay involved in water-related causes. (Karla Schlie, Water & Sustainability Expert and Project Manager)

As a woman in water, I enjoy being part of an organisation where female professionals compose the majority of the team. Lucky me for being able to learn with and from the strong women I am surrounded with, and to be able to support the foundation in addressing the gender inequalities in the access to basic WASH services. (Rena Salzmann, Environmental Engineer and Junior Programme Officer) 

As a woman and mother of three girls and a boy, it is great to have the opportunity to work with an international organisation like Skat Foundation and support the secretariat of RWSN. The colleagues are amazing, the mission is critical, and the work is rewarding. In this day and age, women should have more seats at the decision tables, more agency and power. In the water sector, however, the statistics are discouraging – less than one in five workers in water utilities are women, and much less are at leadership level of water institutions, even though women bear the brunt of the challenges due to lack of safe and reliable water services. Skat Foundation, through its flexibility and caring policies, enables me to contribute towards the change | want to see in our world – a world where women are more empowered, and can realise their full potential. (Aline Saraiva Okello, Network Manager of the Rural Water Supply Network)


It was a revelation for me to learn about the inequalities surrounding water supply and I am grateful to work in an organisation that strives to empower women and young girls and promote gender equality through rural water services. There is still much to learn and I am inspired every day by the women in the water sector and the Skat Foundation team to keep going. (Batima Tleulinova, Communications and Engagement Officer of the Rural Water Supply Network) 

The municipal solid waste management field is usually thought of as a man’s world. It is gratifying to see the expressions of surprise when I mention that I work in it as part of the Skat Foundation, and that most of the people I work with in Latin countries are women who strive to increase good practices in households, neighbourhoods and municipalities. (Sandra Méndez Fajardo, Associated Expert in Solid Waste Management) 

Being part of the Green Terrace project in Usme, Bogotá, has been an exceptional experience. It has offered me the privilege of collaborating with strong, inspiring women leaders. I am truly grateful to learn from and contribute alongside these remarkable women. (Susanna Germanier, Trainee Change Action Promotion in Solid Waste Management) 

As a woman, it has been very inspiring to connect with several women leaders both in Colombia and in Switzerland, who are for me an example and a reference for female leadership with a focus on empathy and care. (Verónica Duque Pardo, Association Pro-ODS, Local Coordinator of the Green Terrace Project in Colombia)