Indonesia is home to the most mangroves in the world, however mangrove ecosystems are at risk to be cleared for development, a situation exacerbated by a poor economic state. Mangroves are locally and globally significant carbon sinks that provide many ecological services to coastal communities such as land protection from erosion and big tidal waves, increased biodiversity, and aquaculture. This article highlights the many ways the Womangrove collective are influential in combating mangrove deforestation. Womangrove was founded in 2015 by women in the Tanakeke Islands of Indonesia, and originally started as a business-orientated group aiming to plant and protect mangroves for sustainable aquaculture farming. Over the years Womangrove has developed into an ecological restoration program with a focus on addressing the deforestation of mangrove trees (replanting more than 110,000 mangrove seedlings!) and improving gender equality by providing local women educational courses and skill building. Photo credit: Wahyu Chandra/Mongabay-Indonesia
Kalen Goodluck (Dine, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Tsimshian) and Christine Trudeau (Prairie Band Potawatomi) highlight the Rio Grande Pueblo Nations' extremely difficult path to quantified Rio Grande water rights. The negative impacts on the Rio Grande's water quality and quantity due to the climate crisis and non-Native interventions compound this struggle. Despite challenges, the Pueblo nations have hope and are taking action. In particular, three Indigenous women are highlighted for their work in fighting for quantified water rights to protect their communities, culture, and future generations. Notably, Julia Bernal (Sandia, Taos, and Yuchi-Creek Nations of Oklahoma), the director and co-founder of the Pueblo Action Alliance, which centers youth involvement in their advocacy for water rights; Judge Verna Teller (Isleta Pueblo), the Chief Justice of Isleta Pueblo who played a major role in having Isleta become the first tribal nation to create water-quality standards through the Clean Water Act; and Phoebe Suina (San Felipe and Cochiti Pueblos), hydrologist and owner of High Water Mark, an Indigenous and women-led environmental consulting company which specializes in water-resource engineering.
Prime Minister Trudeau’s administration held a press conference in which Premier Christy Clark announced the approval of the Pacific Northwest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project. Premier Clark was praising the project for promoting clean energy and being of low cost when Christine Smith-Martin, of the Lax Kw’alaams, interrupted the conference to ask a very pressing question: “what about our salmon?” Smith-Martin then elaborated, saying that the environmental impact of the project was not being addressed by conference speakers, nor had indigenous communities been consulted in a meaningful way prior to the decision. Minister Catherine Mckenna, in turn, said that the impact on salmon has been assessed and there should not be significant effects. Smith-Martin was not convinced, and she insisted this project must be opposed. Salmon is vital to indigenous communities, and it must be treated as such. Video credit: Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition
Since women across Asia and Africa are often responsible for supplying their households with water, food and fuel, the path towards a sustainable world requires, in part, full gender equality. But the effects of climate change, in conjunction with natural disasters, make women’s lives that much harder. For instance, when Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, a result was the increased sexual exploitation of women and girls. After Hurricane Katrina struck the United States, violence against women increased by a factor of four in Mississippi and remained high years later. Women are however continuing to pursue the ideal of a sustainable world. In Kenya, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai initiated a massive tree-planting effort that became known as the Greenbelt Movement. More than 5,000 village women in Andra Pradesh, working with the Deccan Development Society, transitioned to organic farming, greatly reducing the carbon impact of agriculture. It is clear that empowering women is key to tackling climate change. Photo credit: Adam Jones
Cath Wallace is a Lecturer at Victoria University in economics and public policy. She has also chaired Environment and Conservation Organizations of New Zealand (ECO), an alliance of NGOs concerned for the environment and the impacts of climate change. She along with several other activists led a strong resistant movement against a campaign by business interests to pare down the national Resource Management Act in 1990s. She has worked extensively to protect the Antarctica and repudiation of Antarctic Mineral Convention. Lastly, she pressed the Ministry of fisheries in New Zealand to stop violating under New Zealand Fisheries Act of 1996. Photo credit: Goldman Environmental Prize
The El Niño cycle is a global climate cycle that occurs every three to seven years with varying intensity. During 2016, this cycle was especially strong and, in combination with climate change, led to widespread drought and hunger for many states in Southern Africa. Women were particularly impacted. This was because they were forced to spend more time gathering scarce water as well as eat less themselves in order to prioritize the nutritional needs of men and children. Increased sex work and child marriages were also a result. And while Southern Africa is now on its way to recovery, building future resilience to climate change means addressing the special vulnerabilities of women as well as prioritizing their leadership. Photo credit: Ish Mafundikwa/IRIN
On the Philippine island of Palawan, traditionally, fishing has been the means of support for most inhabitants. Over the last twenty years, because of climate change and a variety of other factors, fish are no longer as abundant as they once were. Local women, who were previously largely homemakers, have responded to this difficult situation by taking up seaweed farming. The revenue offered by this endeavor has been a welcome addition to household incomes. But climate change is also already affecting the viability of seaweed farms. The women farmers are rising to the challenge by improving seaweed harvesting and drying methods, using better tools and developing early warning systems for typhoons. Photo credit: Mongabay
Studies show that there is a lack of women working in the water sector, which includes a lack of women leaders. Specifically, less than twenty percent of water workers are women in the United States. But the water organizations that include female leadership tend to benefit—whether women are included in sustainability, community engagement or economic development roles. Keisha Brown, one such leader, has had extensive experience working in community-based partnerships to improve water quality while remaining accountable to the local communities the work is enacted in. According to her, the lens of social justice must be applied to the infrastructure industry and the impacts of infrastructure on people’s well-being should be carefully assessed. Photo Credit: Storm Water Solutions
Though South America has many water sources, many communities in the region go without sufficient clean drinking water. Lack of water puts a serious strain on women’s lives as well as their ability to farm. This is particularly true of Bolivian women living in the Chaco area, a region that is dry for many months of the year. During the dry period, communities rely on the muddy water that remains in the bed of the Rio Grande. Purifying the water with a local plant helps but it yields a product that is far from potable. The CASA Socioenvironmental Fund is an organization that runs many projects across South America with the objective of empowering local women so they can better serve their community and further environmental justice. The projects include water storage tanks for specific regions, developing farmers associations, and supporting indigenous female leaders. Video Credit: Fundo Casa Socioambiental. Caption: Video is in Spanish, but English subtitles are available.
Women are responsible for carrying water home, storing it, and managing household supplies but are still ignored when it comes to important water management decisions. Incorporating women’s voices into water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues empowers the women themselves while simultaneously leading to better results. For instance, including women in the movement to curtail open defecation in rural Bangladesh led to success because the specific needs and desires of the women were then met. Specifically, because of this input, the toilets that were to be placed in rural communities were designed with gender specific needs in mind as well as placed in locations amenable to local women. Photo Credit: Dilip Banerjee
This article highlights the issue of unjust criminalisation and disproportionate state violence against indigenous women water and land protectors. While indigenous people constitute about 4% of Canada’s population, they represent 27% of the incarcerated population in 2018. According to the Canada’s Correctional Investigator Indigenous, women constituted 37% of all women behind bars and 50% of all maximum security inmates in 2017. Mi’kmaw lawyer and academic Pam Palmater evokes the targeting and criminalisation of Indigenous women by Canadian state authorities as historically rooted in a colonising strategy, since they bear children who will carry on the culture and language of their nations. Pamela says that indigenous women’s perseverance and leadership should not be lost in the conversation and concludes that ‘even though Indigenous women have always been targeted, both in the law directly and indirectly, they continue to stand up for the land and for their children despite knowing what’s coming’. Photo Credit: Amber Bernard/APTN
Women For Water has compiled the audio- visuals of eight women who are conserving the water all over the world. These women Nomvula Mokonyane, Svitlana Slesarenok, Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, Rose Makunzo Mwangi, Ethne Davey, Dr. Deepthi Wickramasinghe, Patricia Wouters and Salamatu Garba. They have been bringing the best practices of women empowerment in water and sanitation projects and effective water governance at all levels.
Carey Biron overviews the recent global spike in legislation that has ruled in favor of the rights of nature. Rights of Nature laws – which provide citizens the opportunity to sue on behalf of damaged lands and waters – have become more common over the last decade, and ecosystems and waterways have won protection under the law in at least 14 countries. These cases set an important precedent for other nations that are in the process of establishing their own legal frameworks to accommodate rights of nature principles, especially following the United Nations’ first biodiversity summit, where more than 60 leaders signed a Pledge for Nature. The UN’s goal is to protect 30 percent of the planet’s lands and waters by 2030 by cracking down on major environmental issues like pollution and deforestation.
Mu Quan is an environmentalist in eastern China who has devoted her work to protecting what is locally known as “the most beautiful lake in the world” or Qiandao Lake in Zhejiang province. After seeing the detrimental impacts of fertilizers and pesticides from the area’s prominent tea and farming community, she sought balanced solutions to protect the lake while also benefiting the local economy. Quan founded the Qiandao Lake Water Fund which now consists of a five member all female leadership team supporting pilot projects that promote sustainable agriculture and environmental education. Their ecological rice field pilot project has gained praise for decreasing nitrogen and phosphorus levels in the soil while also improving irrigation, tea quality, and increasing farmers’ income. Photo credit: cnr.cn/Wang Haipeng
LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, an elder of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and founder of Sacred Stone Camp and Tara Houska, Ojibwe lawyer and founder of the Giniw Collective are interviewed by reporter Amy Goodman after the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is ordered to shut down by August 5, 2020. LaDonna Brave Bull Allard has opened her home in North Dakota to supporters from the beginning of the resistance in order to protect sacred sites, water sources, and the health of her community members. She has joined forces with Indigenous leaders and water protectors from around the world, many of whom have faced similar harms from extractive industry. Tara Houska asserts that the shutdown of this massive pipeline sends a critical message to the fossil fuel industry that these dangerous projects will not be tolerated and that a regenerative green economy is non-negotiable. Photo credit: Democracy Now! (video screenshot)
Women in different Small Island Development States are taking action to prevent and tackle the impacts of climate change and the resultant vulnerability to natural disasters on their coast. Since most of them depend on the incomes from agriculture and fishery, they are leading community-based initiatives associated primarily with securing water supply and coastline protection, as well as environmental education and social support. Photo credit: Manuth Buth/UNDP Cambodia
Despite once providing bustling profits for fishing families, Lake Malawi — one of Africa’s largest lakes — suffers from overfishing and women in Malawi are feeling the brunt of this. The fishing industry employs close to 300,000 Malawi workers and fishers, but fish are no longer being found in abundance. Stiff competition from fishermen is drastically depleting fish levels. The fish that are now being found are smaller and priced higher, reducing the profitability of a market that used to flourish in the past. Women who used to buy fish cheaply and trade it for more, are then forced to buy from fishermen, who have also been pushed out of business, at increased prices. Moreover, they are no longer able to provide local fish as a cheap protein to their families because overfishing has left women under tight restraint. Thankfully successful community efforts have been rallied around creating bylaws that would close down the lake for a temporary amount of time to promote lake health. And it appears these laws put in place were working — a man was hit with a hefty fine for fishing on the lake when it was close. Photo credit: Mabvuto Banda
The author Laureli Ivanoff is an Inupiat, a northern indigenous population with communities from Alaska to Greenland. She reflects on the future of her people who now have to learn to live without the cold: last winter there was less ice in the Bering Sea that any winter since the 1850 when record-keeping started. The Inupiat need the northeastern Bering Sea to stay cold so that the creatures they traditionally rely on can thrive. She particularly thinks about her newly born son Inuqtaq, to whom hunting was going to be an act of intentional decolonization, a way of keeping alive a custom that’s become sacred and of staying connected to his heritage and identity. As she hurts for him and for her family, Laureli hopes the world quickly adapts and also respects the earth as they have for millennia. Photo credit: Ash Adams/The New York Times
During the month of July, women and men, engaging in a “water walk,” walked two miles through the streets of New York City carrying empty buckets. Two miles is about the length women and girls walk in developing countries each day to obtain water, so this walk was carried out in order to symbolize their hard work. Moreover, the walk ended at the United Nations Building, so it was intended to remind policy makers about the importance of clean water as well as urge them to consider water a human right. The walk also called attention to the fact that access to water is important but if distance, cost, or other factors make that access prohibitive, then simple “access” is not enough. Photo credit: Water Aid
Women across Mozambique and Tanzania are organizing their communities to improve local livelihood through sustainability and the protection of natural resources. This inspirational blog by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) explores the stories of various community leaders building long lasting projects. Like the story of Alima Chereira, who formed an agricultural association that teaches women climate-resilient farming practices. Or entrepreneur Fatima Apacur, who helped her community form a savings association that uses the ancient practice of group savings and pooling wealth to help community members invest in the future. Photo Credit: WWF/ James Morgan
Two female chemical engineer students developed a prototype that converts polluted water into clean energy through a purifier and an electrolyzer. Jeimmie Gabriela Espino Ramírez and Lisset Dayanira Neri Pérez, at the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico, are the creators of this device they named Gimfi, which in the Otomi language means “dirty water”. The students designed Gimfi to be both portable or nonportable in order to provide clean fuel for stoves and ovens in marginalized areas. The filter is made of natural elements like cotton, sand, volcanic rock, gravel, marble and charcoal. The hydrogen generated is currently produced with electricity but they plan on adapting it to solar panels, which would make Gimfi even more sustainable. Photo credit: Serg Velusceac/El Universal
In this interview, Maureen Penjueli of the Pacific Network on Globalization (PANG), shares the group’s efforts to protect the land and ocean sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples in the Pacific region. Free trade deals and foreign investments that open channels for seabed mining and extractive industries threaten customary land tenure systems and disregard Indigenous ways of knowing. PANG helps Pacific people achieve economic self-determination by educating them about policy levers such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples or Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) to fight exploitation and put pressure on government leaders. Photo credit: Rucha Chitnis
Senegalese women are bearing the consequences of climate change as the fish stocks of Saint-Louis, a central fishing hub, are vanishing due to climbing ocean temperatures and rising sea levels. In 2017 alone, fish stocks fell by 82%. Today, the price of fish has become five times more expensive than in previous years. Such impacts are devastating, not only for the women who heavily depend on selling fresh and processed fish in markets as a main source of income, but also to the rest of the Senegalese population as up to 17% are experiencing issues of food insecurity according to the World Food Program. As a result, women’s practice of processing fish has become increasingly important as an additional resource of subsistence - especially the landlocked populations. In response, women’s associations are collectively gathering funds to accommodate the skyrocketing price of fish. Projects such as the Collaborative Management for a Sustainable Fisheries Future (COMFISH), offers workshops to women fish processors throughout Senegal providing them with resources to increase their profits, literacy courses, and alternative modes of creating revenue. Nevertheless, Senegalese women continue to challenge the status quo by urging for government subsidization of fish prices and more support from non-government organizations. Photo credit: Georges Gobet/Getty Images
Lorraine Herder belongs to a shepherd family: she grew up raising sheep and using its wool in a remote area on the Navajo reservation. But now, shrinking water reservoirs due to climate change are making it difficult to keep this tradition alive. Dr. Margaret Redsteer, a scientist at the US Geological Survey in Flagstaff, notes that the amount of groundwater has decreased drastically over the past century, putting a strain on the animals’ health and the Navajo way of life. The water crisis is also caused by other factors like coal mining, according to Nicole Horseherder, founder of non- profit organization “Scared Water Speaks”. Photo Credit: Sonia Narang/PRI
Seaweed farming in Zanzibar, an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, is largely done by local women farmers. Most of the men find the work too hard for the small pay, but the income remains significant to women. As a result of their engagement in industry, women farmers and their family have significantly benefited. However, the Western Indian Ocean’s temperature is rising, which is leading to loss of the seaweed crop. The women farmers are responding to this adversity in various ways. One solution has been to farm farther in the ocean. This solution requires the participation of at least some strong swimmers, but seeing as most women in Zanzibar do not know how to swim, many of the farmers are having to learn to swim as they go. Another solution the farmers have enacted is cooperating with local and international researchers. The hope is that fostering this dialogue will benefit both parties and that the seaweed industry will remain viable. Photo credit: Karen Coates
Maya van Rossum, head of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN), has been awarded with “Woman of the Delaware Watershed” in recognition for her work protecting the environment. During her time as leader of DRN, the organization advocated for rivers and their associated communities, ensured adherence to environmental law, as well as restored particular streams. A current major goal of van Rossum is the constitutional recognition of environmental rights to the extent that other rights, such as free speech, are given constitutional recognition. To that end, van Rossum was a lead petitioner in the environmental rights case “Robinson Township, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al vs Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” Photo credit: Bucks Local News
The author speaks about their experiences attending and speaking at the 2018 World Water Forum (FAMA) in Brazil. An event largely sponsored by Nestle and Coca-Cola, corporations pushing to privatize and control public water resources. Fearless indigenous women and activists used the event as platform to call-out and share their powerful stories of resistance. Their message to the world: water cannot be treated as a privately owned commodity; water is a human right and a common good of and for the people. Photo Credit: Guilherme Cavalli/Cimi
Migration is one way women may be forced to adapt to climate change, but this displacement also puts women at greater risk for violence, a group of women leaders explained at a Wilson Center event. Eleanor Bornstorm, Program Director for the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), noted that because women are often in caretaking roles, they are also expected to volunteer and shield their communities from harm. Yet structural inequalities put women disproportionately at risk to violence during climate displacement. Carrying forward the former statement, Justine Calma, Grist environmental justice reporting fellow, vocalized the violence faced by women and young girls during climate displacement. For example, during the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, young girls were sexually exploited, sold and trafficked for food and other resources. Poor or uneducated women, women of color and migrant women are vulnerable to intersectional forms of discrimination, and their needs are often more urgent. Because of these structural inequalities, empowering women and enhancing their leadership may be the best strategy to address climate change, rather than mitigating its effects. WEDO is assessing factors impacting women during climate displacement, filling in the gaps unaddressed at the national and international level. Photo Credit: Agata Grzybowska.
Over 600 Brazilian women activists are protesting the privatization of water by corporate entities and the federal government by occupying local Coca-Cola and Nestlé factories. As part of the Rural Landless Movement (MST), these women hope that disrupting operations will convey that “water is a right, not a claim.” Photo credit: TeleSUR English
Salt Point Seaweed is an all-female Bay Area company that is leading the way for global food insecurity solutions. Tessa Emmer, Catherine O’Hare and Avery Resor are harvesting wild seaweed from an open-water farm off the coast of Mendocino County. Having drawn inspiration from East African communities, particularly female aqua-farming in Zanzibar, this company hopes to popularize local varieties of seaweed (such as Gracilaria) in Northern California’s avant-garde, health-centered culinary scene. Seaweed’s ability to de-acidify waters coupled with virtually zero inputs required for growth, it’s numerous health benefits and budding potential to substitute for fossil fuels, as well as massive potential in contributing to increasing the world’s food supply mean that it is a global solution in the fight against climate change, ocean acidification, and unsustainable food systems. Photo credit: Salt Point Seaweed.
Dr. Samantha Joye is a marine biologist at the University of Georgia dedicated to exploring and protecting the deep sea ecosystem. After witnessing the environmental damage of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, she is working on Our Blue Planet initiative with BBC Earth and OceanX Media to inspire social media engagement and increased understanding of the ocean environment. Dr. Joye’s work is especially urgent as federal proposals for offshore drilling risk additional oil spills and negative ocean population impacts. Photo credit: OceanX Media
Decades after a paper mill in Northern Ontario dumped 10 ton of mercury into an Ontario river, residents of Grassy Narrows First Nation and Wabaseemoong (Whitedog) First Nation are only beginning to get answers. From 1970 to 1992, Health Canada collected umbilical blood and hair samples from the communities that were potentially exposed to the harmful substance. The results, however, have remained closed in boxes until only recently. Now, residents such as Chrissy Swain and Alana Pahpasy are finally getting the results, only to find out that they’ve been living with dangerously high mercury levels for years. Despite the fact that a Mercury Disability Board was set up, it has been criticized as inadequate and has turned the majority of applicants away. It is suspected that the high levels are now impacting the next generation of these communities. The health impacts of mercury poisoning include heart problems, learning disabilities, and motor skills deficits. Women and other members of the community are speaking out against the government, outraged at this wrongful neglect. Photo credit: David Sone/Earthroots
Women seaweed farms on Zanzibar’s coast are at the frontlines of climate change, as warming sea temperatures are causing massive die offs, and rural women are losing their main source of income. While most other jobs in this community are male dominated, seaweed farming is predominately female, with more than 80 percent of seaweed farmers being women. With the production of the major seaweed species Cottonnii down by nearly 94%, the financial independence and social status seaweed farming has provided women has been threatened. To defy these odds, Dr. Flower Msuya has, with the help of local women farmers, pioneered a new technology to adapt the shallow farming technique to deeper waters. Photo credit: Haley Joelle Ott
Marshallese poet and activist Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner uses the power of poetry to humanize the climate crisis faced by Pacific nations and demand swift global action. Her spoken word performance of Dear Matafele Peinem at the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit was an impassioned call to action to ensure a safe, vibrant earth and rich cultural heritage for future generations. Her poem was met with acclaim and helped to convey the threat of rising sea levels and more frequent flooding to her home nation. She continues to advocate through her art as well as her work with Jo-Jikum, a nonprofit educating and empowering Marshallese youth on climate change. Photo Credit: The Adelaide Review
The video series ‘Breakthrough: Portraits of Women in Science’, profiles Karletta Chief, Chief Hydrologist with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Indigenous woman of the Diné (Navajo) Bitter Water Clan. For many years, Karletta has been leading out work to study the quality and properties of water on the Navajo Nation, an arid region which is home to over 250,000 resident spread across sections of Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. The land has been desecrated for decades by coal and uranium mining, as well as the oil and gas industry. In August 2015, the Gold King Mine spill dumped millions of tons of toxic waste water into local river systems, contaminating the Animas River which is a vital source of life and livelihoods across the region. Karletta is working ceaselessly with the community to address the many issues faced due to this latest toxic water threat. Photo credit: Science Friday
Globally, women and girls are disproportionately impacted by poor access to safe clean water and adequate sanitary conditions. They are often responsible for collecting water for their household daily and at far distances, which significantly limits their productivity and time for schooling. Even when they do have time to attend school or work, a lack of private washrooms and clean water make it difficult to maintain hygiene during menstruation, meaning they instead stay home or drop out. Women and girls are also at increased risk of violence during their long travels for water and when using open toilets. Because they are likely tasked with cleaning children and household toilets, they are more exposed to wastewater and potential pathogens. Because of this intersection with gender, women and girls must lead and be engaged in strategies for improving water and sanitation. Photo credit: Asian Development Bank
Women leaders of Uthema and Voice of Women speak out about plans to build an airport on Kulhudhuhfushi island in the northern region of the Maldives, which is made of over 1200 natural coral islands. The vital mangrove wetlands of Kulhudhuhfushi are some of the countries most important and biodiverse, and the airport development there threatens massive destruction of ecosystems which are the source of local economy, culture, traditions, food, environmental protection, and much more. The article and accompanying video note a particular impact on women who work work the wetlands for their livelihoods, and the inequities of an airport for just some people displacing a place of local support for countless. Photo credit: SixDegrees News
Autumn Peltier, a 13-year-old Anishinaabe girl who has been advocating for clean drinking water, is a nominee for the International Children’s Peace Prize. The International Children's Peace Prize is awarded to a child who has worked to improve children’s lives. Peltier has been recognized internationally for her work and is already considered as a water protector. Photo credit: Twitter@PerryBellegarde
Climate change brings considerable risks to an already fragile economic and environmental situation in rural Egyptian women’s lives. The agriculture sector is largely comprised of women, with millions of them reliant on its economy for their livelihoods. Unfortunately, this sector is unstable and wages are, exacerbating existing conditions of poverty and environmental degradation. Women find themselves unable to exercise agency over land rights because they own only 5% of Egyptian land. This compromises their ability to make decisions about their lives, pursue educational opportunities and to understand basic financial literacy. It is estimated that 27 million women live in rural areas and of those millions, 32 percent are poor women working in agriculture. The average daily wage for a seasonal worker in Egypt is anywhere from $5-$8 a day and is usually lower for women compared to men. Food insecurity coupled with low wages, makes agriculture risky for already impoverished women. Photo Credit: Middle East Institute
Mercury, a neurotoxin which poses dire life-long risks to developing fetuses and children, has been detected at dangerous and abnormal levels in the blood of women in over 25 countries worldwide. Excessive mercury levels are tied in large part to emissions from coal plants and leaching from mining operations, such as gold-mining. Most dire levels are found in the bodies of women from island nations, including Indonesia, due in large part to direct and daily reliance on eating contaminated fish. Photo credit: Edgard Garrido/Reuters
Michelle Bender, Ocean Rights Manager at the Earth Law Center writes on the importance of the oceans - which cover over seventy percent of our planet, regulates climate and provides food and jobs for hundreds of millions of people. Current changes to its systems have generated concerns for the future. Despite international laws and agreements designed for its protection, the health of our oceans is at risk. This is because current ocean law and policy largely focus on the impacts to humans, rather than the impacts on natural ecosystems. Implementing Rights of Nature legislation allows for such a basis, by recognizing that rights originate from existence and that humans are a part of the Earth, not above it. By adopting the Rights of Nature, and in this case the ocean, we ensure that our activities do not violate the oceans’ rights to life, to health, to be free of pollution and to continue its vital cycles. It is a vital step to not only ensure that we restore the health of the ocean, but protect our future. Photo credit: The Ecologist
Young women such as Rose Whipple and Valyncia Sparvier are on the forefront of action by Indigenous youth in the Great Lakes region to oppose the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline through a 250 mile “Paddle to Protect” action held over Summer 2017. The proposed project threatens water quality, Indigenous rights, and vital ancestral food producing regions - prompting the youth to take to their local waterways to draw public attention to the dangers of the project on the land, water and their future. Honor the Earth, a Minnesota-based Indigenous rights group directed by Ojibwe woman leader, Winona LaDuke, had been central to support of the youth involved in the paddle and continued advocacy. Photo credit: John Collins
In Map Ta Phut, Thailand, residents Nangsao Witlawan and Kanis Phonnawin are fighting pollution from over 140 industrial facilities, which have resulted in toxic water and severe health risks, including blood cancer and birth defects, often leading to death. Witlawan has been acutely affected as a former worker at a local oil refinery and suffers from stage four cervical cancer. Both women are pushing for access to information on the region’s water and government response to these serious health and environmental impacts. Photo credit: Laura Villadiego
Growing up with recurrent natural disasters, sea level rise and flooding, Maria Nailevu experienced the impacts of climate change from a very early age. Today, she is working with Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality to promote social, economic and ecological justice woman to advocate for women human rights and climate action at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties conferences. Nailevu is also working to free her home of plastics with the Pacific Urgent Action Hub for Climate Justice and creating safe spaces where women can come together to share knowledge, stories and strategies for a gender-just society. Photo credit: DIVA4Equality
Nigeria: Using Gender Mainstreaming Processes To Help Protect Drinking Water Sources Of The Obudu Plateau Communities In Northern Cross River State
This case study focuses on the Obudu Plateau, one of the two main mountain ecosystems of Nigeria and is primarily home to the Becheve agricultural communities and the Fulani pastoralists. In the last two decades the area has witnessed increased commercial development mostly in tourism has seen increased deforestation and a deterioration of the water situation. In order to begin to remedy the situation, a multi-stakeholder management committee was constituted to deal with the issues with participatory processes being put in place to systematically involve women in the work as well as carefully analyze the specific ways in which destruction of the ecosystem was affecting women.
Monti Aguirre, the Latin America Program Coordinator at International Rivers and a tireless supporter of people impacted by the Chixoy Dam in Guatemala, shares stories about the inspirational women she has met during her career fighting against mega-dams. For example, Nicolasa Quintreman, a Pehuenche Indigenous woman from Chile, fought for years against the Ralco Dam (backed by energy giant Endesa) and still stands strong even after being forced to relocate. Lupita Lara led her community’s resistance to the Arcediano Dam near Guadalajara City, Mexico with steadfast resolve. Due to women’s integral role as community leaders, organizations like Asprocig, the organization of downstream communities affected by the Urra Dam in Colombia, have found that elevating women in post-relocation trauma recovery programs has far-reaching impacts.
When the state government of Uttarakhand proposed construction of the Desvari dam, a 252-megawatt hydropower project on the Pinder River, residents of Chepdu village were worried: blasting through rock in an already flood-prone seismic zone would put the lives and livelihoods of 20,000 people at risk. While some men in the community obtained contract work from the construction company, making them partisan to the project, women like Bilma Joshi stood strong, organizing their community to demand their statutory rights and oppose a project that would all but destroy the Pinder River. Photo Credit: Matu Jan Sanghathan
Betty Obbo of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists writes about how top-down hydroelectric dam projects, such as the Bujagali dam in Uganda, displace vulnerable communities and create more problems than they solve for local women. One such woman is Rukia Kauma, now living in Naminya resettlement village, who explains how the lack of basic amenities, roads, schools and fertile soil in her new home impact her daily life as her family’s principal breadwinner. She now walks hours a day to fetch water and firewood in the forest, which often exposes her to the risk of sexual violence. The Ugandan government, African Development Bank and the World Bank did not adequately consult women when designing the dam project, further reinforcing patriarchal relations around their access and control over land and water sources, and the continued lack of social services provision to displaced people is staggering. The National Association of Professional Environmentalists is teaming up with community members to fight these and other dams. Photo credit: World Bank
Joke Muylwijk, executive director of the Gender and Water Alliance, explains the importance of mainstreaming gender in all levels of water resource management, from international policy-making to local governance. The Gender and Water Alliance brings member networks together to bridge the gap between decision-makers and water users so that the deep knowledge and experiences of women, Indigenous people, small-holder farmers and fisherfolk are centered in policy solutions. Water is life! is a slogan found in many communities the world over, and water remains one of the most important sites of ‘material contestation’ worldwide. Photo Credit: Gender and Water Alliance
In Latin America, where 37 million people suffer from water insecurity, grassroots women are taking initiative against government inaction and industrial pollution to gain access to clean drinking water. In Pirané, Argentina, Nelly Alcaraz, Candida Fernández, and Analía Alcaraz of Equipo de Mujeres del Movimiento Campesino de Formosa are fighting water quality issues and toxic health impacts from agrochemical spraying. In Yacuíba, Bolivia, Julia Suárez, Modesta Medina Romero, and Aquilina Pereyra of Asamblea del Pueblo Guaraní de Yaku-Igua represent the Guarani people against the environmental destruction caused by the Gran Chaco Liquid Segregation Plant. Lina López of Organización de Mujeres Mismo Indígena and Enriqueta Chávez of Organización de Mujeres Guaraní de Macharety support a coalition of over 400 women across Presidente Hayes and Boquerón in Paraguay, where severe droughts and flooding have led to crop loss, tuberculosis, and poor standards of living. Photo credit: Fondo de Mujeres Del Sur
Munduruku women warriors led 200 representatives of their Indigenous nation to occupy the main work camp of the Sao Manoel hydroelectric dam, under construction on the Teles Pires River in the Brazilian Amazon. This occupation paralyzed the project as the Munduruku people demanded a complete stop to the project, their right to be consulted and for the respect of their culture, spirituality and ecosystems. This beautiful, gripping photo essay of the occupation captures the powerful women warriors of Munduruku defiantly leading their community to protect the sacred. Photo credit: Caio Mota/Centro Popular do Audiovisual/Forum Teles Pires.
Island farmers in the Bay of Bengal, particularly women, such as Shondha Rnai and Rokya Begum, express concerns over their farmlands. Their farms are threatened by rising sea levels, lack of freshwater, and saltwater intrusion from neighboring shrimp farms. The water crisis is resulting in loss of agricultural productivity, conversion of rice paddies to shrimp farms and most importantly, forced migration. Photo credit: Eduardo Garcia Gil
The Winnemen Wintu, also known as the Middle Water People, can be found along the McCloud River in Northern California. Winnimen Wintu legend has it that their ancestors gained the ability to speak from Salmon, in exchange for eternal protection from external threats. Chief Caleen Sisk is organizing a Run4Salmon, to generate public awareness for the need to replenish the Chinook Salmon stock, which is endangered by climate change and the construction of dams. Photo credit: Toby McLeod
This article conveys the inspirational story of how one project, Water Bearers, initiated and led by women, is connecting both men and women around the same element that is the source of life for us all: water. Water Bearers strives to motivate women fortunate enough to have access to clean water to train the less fortunate, such as the Kichwa people of Yasuni National Park. Photo credit: Uplift
When it comes to decision-making around water resources, women are seldom at the table - but Latha Anantha (India), Betty Obbo (Uganda) and Pai Detees (Thailand) are working to change that. Anantha leads the River Research Center, mapping ecosystems and educating children to protect biodiversity in regions like the Western Ghats. Obbo of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists succeeded in delaying the construction of the Bujagali Dam for 18 years, and is researching how to help impacted communities file grievances when their rights are violated. Pai Detees, of International Rivers, helped pioneer community research methodologies at the South East Asia Rivers Network, amplifying the voices of women water users into national and international policy. These three stories weave together the beauty and possibilities of women’s advocacy, resistance and leadership for water justice. Photo credit: Glenn Switkes
Women from different natives tribes are gathering at Three Forks, Montana to begin their month and a half walking journey along the Missouri River. Among the walkers are Lori Watos of the Dakota and Ojibwe tribes in Minnesota, Roxanne Ornelas, a Geography professor at the University of Miami, Ohio, and Sharon Day, executive director of the Indigenous People’s Task Force and leader of the walk. The walk is scheduled as a tribute to our most precious natural resource, water, which is under various threats from oil and gas production to agricultural run-offs. The aim is to understand and nurture human connection with water. Photo credit: Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management
Jun Yasuda, a Buddhist Nun and internationally renowned environmental activist, walked 170 miles in the “Water Walk for Life” to protest the Parallel Pilgrims pipeline. The pipeline is expected to cross 235 regulated streams in New York and two drinking water aquifers in New Jersey. If constructed, the pipeline would disrupt and destroy wildlife habitats and imperil clean water sources for about 100,000 residents. Photo credit: wamc.org
In this emotional video, Temryss Xeli'tia Lane of the Golden Eagle Clan, Lummi Nation, speaks about protecting her people’s waters, the main source of their livelihood, from TransCanada’s pipeline projects and other threats. She speaks about how the water is their land, and without fishing, her culture and ancestry are endangered. Photo credit: Desk Gram
Key players in the global climate change debate often reduce water to a gender-neutral status. However, if one digs deeper one finds that there is an intrinsic link between women and daily water management, and it is women that are most impacted by lack of wastewater treatment. UNESCO’s World Water Assessment Program (WWAP) and the gender task force propose indicators disaggregated by sex to analyze the wastewater treatment gender gap.
Rachael Miller founded the Rosalie Project, an initiative which has designed the Cora Ball to collect harmful microfibers from clothes washers before they enter our waterways. Miller speaks about how her ocean nonprofit is working to clean up marine debris and tackle the problem at its source, designing a 100% recycled soft plastic device that was inspired by the natural filtering functions of coral. Photo credit: Moms Clean Air Force
When the lack of access to clean drinking water was adversely impacting the health of children in the village of Gomba, two women came to the rescue. Godliver Businge and Comfort Harja, of the Uganda Women’s Water Initiative, started a project that installed water purification systems in schools and trained local women to build their own biosand filters, which in return increased school attendance rates and decreased medical expenses. The project has also helped women, such as Betty Birungi, build their confidence and run for offices. Photo credit: Joel Lukhovi/Survival Media Agency
Anama Solofa represents the growing number of Pacific Island women making waves in both our oceans and in policy spaces dedicated to championing the sustainable and equitable use of this precious natural resource under threat. A Fulbright Foreign Student Scholarship program recipient, Anama is studying for her Master’s degree in Marine Policy. Having worked at Samoa’s Ministry of Fisheries in and at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.), she is a fierce advocate for ocean conservation. Solofa also knows first-hand the difficulties in working in policy, a male-dominated field, in addition to the inter-generational issues that young women working in the field face. Photo credit: Samoa Observer
Dr. Tuifasa’a Aimosa is an oceanographer and Dean of the Faculty of Science at the National University of Samoa. Her academic research primarily explores ocean acidification and its impacts on marine life. She credits her interest in science to excellent teachers, even as she often found herself in her post-grad years as the only female student from the Pacific Islands studying marine science and oceanography. Dr. Tuifuisa’a is cognizant of the fact that hers is a male-dominated field, using her role as Dean to mentor young female students in the field, and hopes for more support networks for female scientists.Photo credit: Samoa Observer
Women are leading the charge for the conservation and sustainable use of ocean resources in the Indian Ocean Rim region. Sylvanna Antat, Marine Research Officer with the Seychelles National Parks Authority, is leading the charge to map coral reefs around Mahe Island, organisms that promote biodiversity and help mitigate coastal erosion. Michelle Martin, Executive Director of Sustainability for Seychelles, and Karine Rassool, Senior Economist for the Seychelles Fishing Authority, fought for a ban on plastic bags and Styrofoam containers. Their efforts were supported by long-time resident and fruit seller Mana Celestine, who hasn’t used plastic bags in 15 years, to preserve the health of her home. In science, Senior Laboratory Technician Julie Matatiken analyzes the health of tuna for the Port of Victoria, while in education, Christel Jacques educates young people about environmental conservation through the Wildlife Club. Women’s leadership is crucial to preserving and protecting marine ecosystems and the people that depend upon ocean resources. Photo credit: UN Women
Fealofani Bruun is making history as captain of a Gaualofa, a traditional Samoan double-hull voyaging canoe. She trains crew members and steers the canoe, whose voyages have not been seen in Samoa for over 100 years. For Samoans, the traditional voyaging canoe holds a lot of knowledge about not only navigation, the ocean and the stars, but also traditional Samoan culture and values. For Fealofani, this cultural revival has opened her up to the ways in which equality and equity are embedded within the ‘canoe culture’, as well as how to use traditional Samoan knowledge to protect the oceans in the face of climate change. She calls for the recruitment of more young girls and women to the fight. Photo credit: Charles Netzler
In this motivating TEDx Talk, Maureen Penjueli, coordinator of Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG), appeals to Pacific Islanders to defend their ocean and determine its fate as its guardians. The ocean also needs to be given its rights just as it is giving life to us. Photo credit: NEEDS PHOTO ADDED BY TEAM
Godliver Businge, Comfort Mukasa and Rose Wamalwa are leaders in the Global Women's Water Initiative's training program. Because of their work implementing clean water systems in their communities, they have been crucial mentors to newer participants in the program and have shared their experience around the world. For example, Businge has spoken to audiences at Stanford University and the African Food and Peace Foundation about her pioneering work in renewable sanitation technology implementation in her community. Photo credit: Global Women's Water Initiative
Beatrice Hunter is many things at once: mother, grandmother and unapologetic land protector from the Indigenous Inuit community of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Canada. Last fall, Hunter joined dozens of local land protectors in occupying the construction site of a highly controversial dam on Muskrat Falls, which holds immense cultural, economic and spiritual value for her people. Hunter now faces one criminal charge and two civil charges, and has defiantly refused to stay away from the Falls despite law enforcement's demands. In speaking out about the series of events, Hunter emphasizes that her people’s identities and livelihoods are deeply interconnected with the Falls, as well as the injustice of continued exploitation by settler-colonialism. Photo credit: Facebook
In Jordan, women are taking center stage in combating the country’s severe drought crisis through plumbing skills training and water conservation education. Plumbers Isra Ababneh and Safaa Sukkariah are among the 3,000 women empowered by the Water Wise Women Initiative, which teaches water-saving techniques to fix faulty pipes and improve water management. UNICEF/ACTED representative Eshraq Mashaqbeh also encourages water security by teaching Syrian refugees in Jordan how to save water. Photo credit: Aljazeera
When the Kien Giang river flooded, the damage to the community of My Thuy was minimal due to women’s leadership. The Viet Nam Women’s Union and UN Women are supporting women like Huong Duong, a local shopkeeper, to be disaster preparedness “communicators” in their towns, monitoring for floods and preparing their neighbors for the worst to reduce the risk of severe damage, injuries and even death. While women are disproportionately vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters, their work on mitigating the impacts of these risks often goes unacknowledged. Photo credit: UN Women Viet Nam/Hoang Hiep
The Kuttemperoor River in South Kerala’s Alappuzha district, formerly a vibrant and healthy ecosystem, was slowly destroyed over the years by illegal sand mining and the dumping of raw sewage. Recently, 700 local people, mostly women, took it upon themselves to restore the river by spending 70 days cleaning out the toxic waste of weeds, plastic and other pollutants. Bolstered by frequent drought that had put a huge strain on the available water sources and the slow action from the government, this group of earth defenders successfully revived their river. Photo credit: Vivek Nair
The women of Inga grow nearly everything their community consumes, from the avocados, oranges and cassava that nourish their families to the medicinal herbs that heal their sick. However, the women have been living without access to electricity, schools, roads or hospitals for many years, despite the construction of hydroelectric dams on the nearby Inga Falls of the Congo River that ironically send power to people far away while bypassing those who care for the local river and forest. The women are now challenging the idea of top-down economic development based on massive infrastructure projects that evict local people and destroy local ecosystems, while plunging governments into debt. They are standing up and refusing to be disposable: their story shows the power of African women’s collective solidarity. Photo Credit: Ange Asanzi/International Rivers
California Governor Jerry Brown’s “Legacy Project,” the Delta Tunnels, promised to restore water security to a state plagued by drought and renew local ecosystems. However, Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual leader of the Winnemen Wintu tribe, is speaking out against this project, which she and many others in the community maintain will destroy the sensitive nursery for salmon, other fish species and all aquatic life. Chief Caleen’s resistance to this project is rooted in the traditional ecological knowledge of her people and centuries of resistance against destructive development projects. Photo credit: Dan Bacher
Kandi Mossett, an indigenous activist and organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network and a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nations spoke out about climate justice and access to water during the 2017 People’s Climate March. She and leader Tom Goldtooth are marching not only for her brothers and sisters in the north and the south, including Berta Cáceres, but also to defend the sacred from toxic fossil fuel projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline and threats to traditional ways of life. Photo credit: Democracy Now
In North Dakota, the Dakota Access pipeline puts at risk water resources in the area, which is the reason why Coya White Hat-Artichoker and her cousin, Aldo Seoane, act as water protectors for the Dakotas. According to Coya, the Lakota word for womb translates as “her water,” a reminder that women’s reproductive health, as well as water, is vital for the perpetuation of life. The same dangers are posed on other Indigenous communities in the United States, such as the many peoples from Los Alamos, in New Mexico. The disrespect for water also means disrespect for their lives. Photo credit: Reuters/Andrew Cullen
In the last 35 years, Bangladesh has witnessed an increase in groundwater salinity by about 26%. Most activities related to water use and fetching are women’s work Bangladesh, and with water sources either drying up or becoming saline due to climate change, the already back-breaking work of looking for water by women continues to increase. Women and children on Bangladesh’s coast are increasingly contracting water-borne diseases, in addition to suffering from pregnancy-related conditions such as preeclampsia and hypertension, resulting from higher levels of salty water intake. Khadija Rahman, who lives on Bangladesh’s southwest coast, tells her story. Photo credit: Neha Thirani Bagri
An expedition to the Marshall Islands with the 5 Gyres Institute to free the oceans of marine plastics served as sparkplug for 27-year-old scientist Kristal Ambrose of the island of Eluethera in the Bahamas. Upon her return, she began hiring local students for beach cleanups, and thus the Bahamas Plastic Movement was born. She now successfully runs a 5-day youth summer camp, training and educating the younger generation on plastic pollution and trawling for plastic waste on the island. Photo credit: Elyse Butler
A team of ten women researchers from the drought-stricken and mining-impacted communities of Somkhele and Fuleni launched the No Longer a Life Worth Living report as part of the Women Building Power initiative. The report emphasizes the impact of drought and subsequent water scarcity, as well as the impact on families and communities of Tendele Mine’s activities related to water access and water pollution. The researchers highlight the failures of the local municipality to address the water challenges faced by these communities and call on the government to revoke water licensing for coal mines in the area. Photo credit: WoMin
Women from the hamlet of Khadero ki Dhani in Rajasthan’s Thar Desert travel up to a kilometer several times a day to draw water from the only water-yielding “beri,” or traditional well in the village. The long dry seasons and water scarcity has trained these women to manage the water sustainably. The women of the region are taking action every day to ensure their precious resource is not abused, such as not taking showers for periods or feeding less water to the animals. Photo credit: Raj Kumar Singh
Indigenous women such as Yoryanis Isabel Bernal Varela, a member of the Wiwa Indigenous People of Sierra Nevada in South America, have sacrificed their lives promoting water sustainability. It is only appropriate that on World Water Day, the United Nations recognizes the efforts of Indigenous women in protecting water and to condemn violence against Indigenous peoples. It is important to not waste water, but it is also equally important not to discount the women contributing to water sustainability. Photo credit: Feminist Task Force
In the Budaun district of Uttar Pradesh, India, the Dheemar people sing many songs that center around women going to fetch water from a well. For these women, singing while simultaneously fetching water empowers the collective feminine voice. Songs of fetching water are metaphors for following one’s inner voice or rising above conventional morality. The powerful imagery of women collecting water from wells is often highlighted in Indian mythology and devotional songs. Photo credit: Imran Zaib
Lizzie McLeod works with the Nature Conservancy as the Climate Adaptation Scientist for the Pacific Region. After many years as a coral reef scientist, as part of her work she now helps facilitate learning exchange for women across many Pacific Island Nations, to come together and share their climate change experiences and expertise and lessons learned. The aim is to combat the severe lack of women in environmental decision making bodies and climate science, by bringing together women of various walks of life in one platform for knowledge sharing, development of new adaptation actions, and dissemination of collective knowledge. Photo Credit: Reef Resilience
Rising population, pollution and the intense competition between water users has resulted in a water crisis in many parts of India. As primary stakeholders in water resource management, women make up the majority of the 330 million people bearing the brunt of severe drought, acute water shortages and agricultural distress. In the face of many threats however, Dr. Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research, a New Delhi-based think tank argues that efforts to bolster women’s rights and access to information and training continue to provide hope. Photo Credit: Neeta Lal/IPS
Theresa Dardar, of the Pointe-au-Chien tribe, remembers her grandparents subsisting off of shrimp, clams, livestock and a variety of fruits and vegetables on their lands off the Louisiana coast. Due to sea level rise, flooding and hurricanes, Indigenous people are losing their lands to the sea, having a harder time cultivating the native plants and fruits of the sea that their ancestors relied upon. However, Dardar is heading an intertribal effort to restore food security to the Pointe-au-Chien, Grand Caillou/Dulac, Isle de Jean Charles Band of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, Bayou Lafourche and Grand Bayou Village tribes under the banner of the First People's Conservation Council. She and Chief Shirell Parfait-Dardar, of the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians, are spearheading innovative solutions like boxed gardens that can be lifted with pulleys to avoid rising tides and discussing business models to make soft-shell crab harvesting a sustainable livelihood. Photo credit: Edmund D. Fountain/Food & Environment Reporting Network
Waste, pollution, and the rising demand for water by an estimated 5 billion people by 2030 is placing stress on urban water infrastructure, resulting in health and economic impacts particularly felt by urban poor and marginalized communities. Urban centers in developing countries, where women and girls are the primary water resources managers, are already being hit hardest by water stress. Drawing on studies which find that water projects involving women are transparent and equitable, increasing the number of women working in the urban water sector will help solve challenges related to design, distribution, operation, and maintenance of water systems.
Maleloko Fokotsale is the chief of her small village, a title not held by many women in Lesotho. She is also one of many women who bear the double burden of domestic chores and full-time farm work during a years-long drought in the area. Maleloko tends to a sustainable “keyhole” garden on her land, which requires up to 70% less water to produce vegetables than traditional gardens, saving women like Maleloko from walking miles each day to collect water. Photo credit: Ryan Lenora Brown
Eta Tuvuki is a community leader and member of Soqosoqo Vakamarama, Buretu Women’s Club and femLINKpacific’s rural network of women leaders since 2012, in Rakiraki, Fiji. She speaks out about the lack of access to clean water since Tropical Cyclone Winston hit her country one year ago, and how this impacts the community's food security as well. Droughts, heavy rains and floodings are weather patterns that deeply affect the water and result in further issues for food sovereignty in her area. Access, ownership and tenure of land are another big problem, especially for women, the main providers of food for their families. Tuvuki shares the hardships she and others in her community face now; she calls for government action and women’s presence and input in much-needed solutions. Photo credit: femLINKpacific