On Earth Day and Every Day, Women Protect the Planet
Posted on: Friday, April 22, 2011
It’s easy to feel desolate about the terrible damage being done to our planet by resource exploitation, industrial agriculture, pollution, deforestation, fossil fuel consumption and more. The BP oil spill, the nuclear crisis in Japan and the mounting threat of climate change can leave us feeling hopeless about the fate of the planet.
Women worldwide in the communities of MADRE’s sister organizations refuse to give in to despair. They’re focused on creating solutions, both local and systemic, with the support of MADRE members. So this year, for Earth Day, let’s take this chance to remind ourselves of the good news. In communities across the globe, our sisters are on the cutting edge of sustainable alternatives to climate change and environmental degradation.
Clean Water in Kenya
In Kenya, MADRE has partnered with the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) to pioneer improved ways to conserve and manage water in rural communities. We work with women who know well the threats they face: droughts intensifying Kenya’s water crisis, women losing hours each day in the search for water and diseases like cholera spreading when scarce water supplies are shared with livestock.
And they know the solution. Working with IIN in multiple communities, we facilitated the repair of water tanks and pipelines to provide clean water for Indigenous women and families. We also built separate water troughs for their animals, to prevent the spread of disease and control soil erosion around water sources.
Seeds for Life in Nicaragua
In Nicaragua, MADRE helped create a seed bank for women farmers. Our Harvesting Hope Project also trains women in small-scale organic farming and livestock management.
Through the seed bank, women are now able to cultivate, save and share local, organic seeds from one growing season to the next. The program emphasizes sustainable land use and safeguards traditional Indigenous knowledge of how to conserve biodiversity and natural resources. We’ve also supported the creation of local farmers markets so that the women can earn income from the produce they grow.
Collective Organizing in Sudan
Women farmers in Sudan are often the backbone of their community, struggling to ensure food for their families in the midst of drought and unpredictable seasons triggered by climate change. But discrimination against women by government agencies often denies them access to the seeds, tools and training that could help them boost their harvests.
With the support of MADRE and our partner organization, Zenab for Women in Development, these women banded together. They formed the first Women Farmers’ Union in Sudan, sharing resources and combining their efforts to generate harvests that sustain their communities. They have built a cooperative model of land management and crop harvesting, and the ripple effects of their success have ensured that their communities thrive. With income from their harvests, women have been able to send their daughters to school and even to put a roof on a school where the women have come together to learn to read.
These are local solutions that change women’s lives, over and over again. We must learn from these successes. They show us that the path to a sustainable, greener future is already being charted – by Indigenous women in rural Kenya, by small-scale organic farmers in Nicaragua, by unionized women in Sudan. All of this is happening thanks to the support of MADRE members who understand that women in communities hold the key to solutions that we all need.
By Yifat Susskind, MADRE Executive Director
Archives"Press Room" Home April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 July 2006 June 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 April 2005 March 2005 November 2004 October 2004 April 2004 March 2004 January 2004 December 2003 October 2003 September 2003 June 2003 April 2003 January 2003 September 2002 June 2002 January 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 January 2001
Kat Noel, Website & Media Coordinator
PHONE: +1 212 627 0444
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
The Right to Heal: 11 Years After Iraq Invasion, U.S. Urged on Reparations for War's Enduring Wounds (Democracy Now!, March 26, 2014)
Protests Call Iraq's New Family Law 'Legalization of Pedophilia' (Rudaw, March 10, 2014)
Haiti: the neoliberal model imposed on the country is failing its citizens (The Guardian, February 5, 2014)
Human rights group slams Iraq over treatment of women in prison (Miami Herald, February 2, 2014)
New Ways to Evaluate Impact (Stanford Social Innovation Review, January 24, 2014)