GAGGA Newsletter #4: The Confluence of Women and Water

Across the globe, women are intensely involved in the provision, management, restoration and safeguarding of water resources. Based on their vast knowledge and understanding of the critical importance of clean and sufficient water, as well as their collective commitment to their communities, women are leading struggles, proposing and implementing sustainable solutions, and making their voices heard in key decision-making spaces around water management and use at local, national and international levels.

The Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) appreciates the intrinsic connection between women and water. We collaborate with and support social movements, civil society organizations and collectives around the world that demand and defend women’s right to clean, safe and affordable water, and ensure that women’s priorities, agendas and needs are heard and respected.

This newsletter features impressive stories from across the GAGGA Alliance that show the strong, innovative and collective leadership of women in relation to water governance, recovery and use. Across the globe, women are at the forefront of resistance to large-scale dams that destroy ecosystems. They are taking on the task of water quality testing. And they are organizing participatory processes to affirm the human right to water. GAGGA is pleased to support them in this critically important work.

In addition to our direct support to groups and collectives defending women’s right to water, GAGGA is ensuring that women around the world can connect and build solidarity around the issue. Over the past four years, GAGGA has supported diverse regional and global initiatives that enable GAGGA partners to network, share experiences, and join forces to defend women’s right to water and effectively integrate a gender just perspective in water governance.

Building Bridges: We, Women are Water

The annual online social media campaign “We, Women are Water” is just one example of GAGGA’s pioneering efforts to highlight the confluence of women and water, and to build bridges across movements. Launched in 2017, the campaign is an initiative of GAGGA partners in Latin America.

In the two weeks between International Women’s Day and World Water Day (8-22 March), the “We, Women are Water” campaign highlights the role of women in defending water resources and their vital decision-making on the use and governance of this common good in Latin America. In its second year, the campaign reached over 200,000 people and coincided with the 2018 Alternative World Water Forum, where GAGGA organized two panels involving women water activists from across the region, who shared their experiences and struggles.

In 2019 the campaign expanded to include more partners and reached some 10,000 people per day. The campaign concluded with a successful webinar which focused on the voices, experiences, knowledge, practices and demands of local women in Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay and El Salvador in relation to their right to water.

The campaign has not only been successful in raising awareness, it has also brought together diverse partner organizations within GAGGA to build a strong advocacy platform related to women’s rights and water that has been active at both local and international levels. The platform has given GAGGA partners in Latin America the opportunity to strengthen relationships and build collective knowledge. Plans for a 2020 campaign are already underway.

In the days running up to the launch of the 2019 “We, Women are Water” campaign, many GAGGA partners were on their way to Nepal to take part in the first ever Women and Rivers Congress. Thanks to support from GAGGA, twenty women from Latin America (Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador), Africa (the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria and Zimbabwe) and Asia (India, Indonesia, and Nepal) attended the global event.

The Congress, which was organized by International Rivers and the Nepal Water Conservation Foundation and co-funded by GAGGA, celebrated women’s role in defending and stewarding freshwater resources. The event spurred collective action to challenge deep-rooted gender inequities. Since then, partners have continued to share relevant information through an electronic mailing list and have participated in opportunities at the regional level to continue their conversations, including development of shared research and advocacy plans.

Join Us

With this newsletter, GAGGA invites you to learn more about our work with and for women and water. If you want to learn more or get involved, we want to hear from you. GAGGA hopes that individuals as well as organizations from around the world will join in solidarity to help ensure that women’s rights to water are respected and that water resources are protected and restored.

In every language and on every shore, we hope to hear voices declaring in unison: “We, Women are Water”. 

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