Gender Relations and Infrastructural Labours at Lilongwe's Water Kiosks - Cartoon

Cecilia Alda-Vidal, Alison L Browne, Maria Rusca, Catalina Medarde (Designer)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


This cartoon is based on my PhD research and tells the story of the women who work at the water kiosks system operating in the low income areas of Lilongwe, Malawi. As a low-cost solution for the provision of water to low-income neighbourhoods, water kiosks rely on their construction as gendered spaces of water labour. Not only are they perceived as female spaces because they are more frequented by women who are responsible for the domestic labour of water collection, but also the labour required for their operation is framed as being more suitable to women.

The feminisation of this water labour has material implications for women working as kiosk attendants who despite having an income opportunity and the possibility to build on social relations, they have to deal with low paid jobs, and the physical and emotional risks of working odd hours to ensure both neighbours’ access to water and the financial viability of the system. A more critical consideration of the infrastructural work of women within the kiosk system is essential given how significant kiosks are becoming as water provision infrastructures in Global South cities
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute


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