Women in Latin America claim their right to water
In many places in Latin America, access to clean water is under great pressure from overuse and pollution, often caused by large-scale agriculture or mining. This has significant impact, especially on women. In March, with International Women's Day on March 8 and World Water Day on March 22, they make themselves heard and claim their right to water.
This month women's groups from various countries in South and Central America are running their "We, Women Are Water" campaign. They share stories in which women play a leading role in defending the right to water and in protecting and managing water resources. In this way, they hope to convince local, national and regional actors to make the right to water for all a priority, and also to listen to the wishes and needs of women when managing water.
Women in the front line of the fight for water
The women's groups have plenty of examples that show the impact of lacking access to water has on them, but also how women in many places take the lead in the fight for inclusive and sustainable water management.
A wonderful example is given by the group "Colectiva Feminista para el Desarrollo Local", which has achieved the participation of more women in local water management in Suchitoto, El Salvador. At the same time, the women of this collective ask their municipality to do more to guarantee the right to water for everyone, including women, and to support civil society organizations and the population.
In Oruro, Bolivia, women from the "Chimpu Warmi" group have set up a working group to investigate the impact of mining on Lake Poopó. Oruro has traditionally been a mining area and the Bolivian government has imposed few restrictions on this sector, causing many water sources to become polluted and communities dependent on them to leave. The women of Chimpu Warmi use their data to encourage the government to take measures to protect Lake Poopó, which is important for them.
Often the water-related problems are caused by international actors, such as mining companies, investors in infrastructure projects or large-scale agriculture. As is the case of the Ixquisis region, Guatemala. Despite a clear "no" from the indigenous communities, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) financed a series of dams in the area. A group of women has taken the lead in the struggles with the bank and has filed a complaint, asking for the investments to be withdrawn. In addition, they also request that the bank further tighten its policy and its implementation, in order to prevent these kinds of things from happening elsewhere in the future.
GAGGA: cooperation strengthens women's and environmental groups
All of these women, and many others, are part of the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action. This alliance focuses on cooperation between women's and environmental organizations. Together they stand stronger in their fight for often the same things: access to water, sustainable land use, or clean air. By participating in GAGGA, the groups that are now running this joint campaign have been able to learn from each other and feel that they are not alone.
Access to water and the Corona virus
As the "We, Women Are Water" campaign just got underway, the severity of the global health crisis caused by the corona virus COVID-19 became apparent. Measures taken against this virus are also affecting the women's and environmental organizations that have launched this campaign. However, they have decided to continue. Because, according to this joint statement, the fight against corona - washing your hands with soap is one of the main measures - shows how important access to water is for everyone.
Read more about this subject
GAGGA rallies the collective power of the women's rights and environmental justice movements to realize a world where women can and do access their rights to water, food security, and a clean, healthy and safe environment.
News / 19 May 2020
Communities in the Niger Delta have been affected by air and water pollution due to Shell's activities for decades. This year, at Royal Dutch Shell's annual meeting, Kebetkache Women's Resource and Development Centre held Shell accountable for the consequences of their activities. Clean-up of oil spillages and ending gas flaring is becoming even more urgent in the fight against COVID-19, in which clean water is crucial to prevent the spread of the virus.
News / 8 March 2018
Women around the globe are at the forefront of addressing the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, designing, implementing, and scaling up their own solutions. Socially defined gender roles often position women and girls as stewards of the physical, economic, and cultural well-being of their communities.
External link / 31 May 2018
It was minus 20 degrees Celsius when 2.000 women gathered at the main square of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to voice their distress about the terrible smog in the city caused by three large power plants. Soon after, the women were invited to speak about the problem of air pollution with the minister of environment.
News / 8 March 2019
During the month of March, and as part of International Women's Day (March 8th) and World Water Day (March 22nd), the organizations that constitute GAGGA-Latin America, will lead a joint campaign called "We, women are water".
Blog / 7 December 2017By Tamara Mohr
At the end of November EFLAC, the most important gathering of feminists from throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, took place in a park just outside Montevideo, Uruguay. Within Both ENDS, I coordinate the GAGGA programme, in which we promote cooperation between the environmental and women's movements. Our partners Mama Cash and FCAM persuaded me that this meeting was the perfect opportunity to find out whether and, if so, in which way women are interested in the environment. They had prepared me for a very intensive meeting, at which the whole spectrum of emotions would be aroused and expressed. I had no idea what to expect and set off with a completely open mind. And so it came that I spent four days among more than 2,000 women from across the continent.
News / 28 September 2018
We congratulate Joan Carling, member of the permanent commission on indigenous peoples of the UN, for having received the Lifetime Achievement Award as 'Champion of the Earth' by the UN Environment! This is the UN's highest environmental honor, given to six of the world's most outstanding environmental change makers once a year.
Publication / 8 March 2018
Blog / 22 March 2018
"How many layers of clothing are you wearing? One? No, that's not enough. You should wear your ski pants over your jeans, and change your shoes for snowboots." And there you are, on day 1 of your trip to Mongolia. I had already heard that Mongolia is very cold at the end of November, and with -22 degrees that seemed to be all true.
News / 5 November 2019
After a complaint filed by women's groups from Ixquisis, Guatemala, the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) has started an investigation on several policy violations, amongst which the Gender Equality policy. This is a unique chance to create a precedent, because complaints on the IDB's gender policy are very rare. The women from Ixquisis are fighting for their rights with support of the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA).
News / 15 October 2018
Last September, approximately 30 women and men from community based organizations of Honduras and El Salvador learned the tool of analog forestry which uses natural forests as guides to create ecologically stable and socio-economically productive landscapes.
News / 7 August 2018
Communities from Northern Guatemala have filed a complaint this week against the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). They bear the brunt of the construction of two large hydropower dams in the Ixquisis region, that are co-financed by the IDB. This is against the bank's own policies on environment and sustainability, indigenous people, gender, and information disclosure.
Blog / 21 January 2020By Michael Rice
Photo Blog - Like many communities in Indonesia, life in Semanga Village, West Kalimantan, revolves around a river. The 90 or so houses follow the curving bank of the Sambas River, each with a path down to a small pontoon where fishing traps and baskets are stacked and boats are tied.
Video / 12 September 2018
Latin American partner organizations of GAGGA launched the campaign "We, women, are water" in March 2018. This video was launched as part of this campaign, and emphasizes the role of women water defenders.
Video / 12 September 2018
The Latin American partner organizations of GAGGA launched the campaign "We, women, are water" in March 2018. This video was launched as part of this campaign, and emphasizes the importance of recognizing water as a common good.
Video / 12 September 2018
Latin American partner organizations of GAGGA launched the campaign "We, women, are water" in March 2018. This video was launched as part of this campaign, and emphasizes the role of women in the sustainable management of water in Latin America.
News / 22 June 2017
On June 5th, World Environment Day, community members at the southern coast of Guatemala protested against the rapid spread of large-scale palm oil, sugar cane and banana plantations in their region. Utz Che', our local partner organisation, joined the march.
News / 5 March 2020
In Indonesia, with its many islands and long coastline, for many communities fishing is an important livelihood strategy for many, both men and women. However, officially the women are often not counted as fisherfolk. And this is not a minor detail. It makes that their interests are being neglected. Both ENDS' partner Solidaritas Perempuan works with these women to amplify their voices.
Event / 7 March 2018, 15:00 - 16:30
Join us for the third session of this five-part series on women's rights and climate finance, aimed at building knowledge and power to ensure finance flows benefit local women's groups, respond to community needs and respect human rights.
External link / 29 May 2019
Mining often has a huge and devastating impact on the environment, including water, air and forests. It can profoundly affect nearby communities, not only by harming local ecosystems, but also by exacerbating or provoking societal tension. In many places across the globe, women are leading resistance to mining and the 'extractivist' model.