UPDATED 14 February 2024


First ever Gold Standard certified “gender responsive” project

In recognition of the transformative nature of empowering women as well as the need for gender-specific data to track progress toward meeting SDG 5, the Gold Standard launched its Gender Equality Framework in January 2018. See Gender Equality framework media release

While all projects certified to Gold Standard for the Global Goals must meet the Gender Sensitive requirements for project degisn, CO2balance was the first developer to apply the full Gender Responsive requirements on the Lango Safe Water project based in northern Uganda. The project rehabilitates boreholes to provide clean water access to more than 40,000 people. Using results from a gender baseline survey and supplementary gender-focused local stakeholder meetings, CO2balance conducted a comprehensive gender analysis to establish a gender baseline, identifying three key themes and areas for positive impact: 

  1. Time poverty – the amount of time women and girls spend collecting water greatly diminishes their ability to engage in income-generation or education, increasing economic dependence and decreasing time for rest and leisure. Thanks to this project, women and children save more than 2 hours a day on water collection. Some of the time saved is still spent on other unpaid domestic tasks, but the project promotes the principle of “shared domestic responsibilities” – instilling the idea that time saved should be spent on empowerment focused activities – with 40% reporting that time saved is used for income-generation, leisure, religious and empowerment focused activities within the community.
  2. Individual and community empowerment - including meaningful participation and leadership, stronger social networks and agency that enables women more of a say in decision-making on key issues affecting the community.  The project is approaching gender parity within its Water Resource Committees with 46% female to 54% male. And group dynamics training is provided to ensure the viewpoints of all members are heard equally.
  3. Exposure to gender-based violence in water collection – it emerged that women suffer gender-based violence while travelling long distances to collect water and may also face domestic violence at home as a result of delays in other household chores caused by the time it takes to collect water. The project raises awareness of the harms of gender-based violence, promoting open dialogue within the communities to ensure that it is understood and dispelled from the level of community leaders. Since the project started, no women have reported incidents of domestic violence related to water collection, compared to 35% prior to the project. And borehole users have reported an 85% reduction in incidents of bullying, intimidation and assault during water collection since the borehole was rehabilitated.

Poverty, education, health, jobs and livelihoods, food security, environmental and energy sustainability will not be solved without addressing gender inequality. This framework enables climate protection projects to quantify, certify and maximise contributions to empowering women and girls, and to credibly report on what dollars have delivered.

If you are interested in applying the Gender Equality Framework, contact us


The Gold Standard Gender Equality Framework was developed with support from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and created in collaboration with experts from the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, the International Center for Research on Women, Hivos International, Fair Climate Network, World Bank Group, International Finance Corporation, UN REDD and EcoAct.

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