Your Support in Action

A Conversation with Rose Cunningham of Wangki Tangni

Posted on: Monday, August 1, 2011

Keywords: Nicaragua, Latin America and Caribbean, Environmental Justice, Disaster Relief, Water Rights, Indigenous Rights, Climate Change, Flooding

Rose Cunningham speaks at the Women as First Responders eventNicaragua’s rainy season has begun, and with it comes dangerous flooding. Ferocious storms contaminate the water supply with sewage and other pollutants and increase the spread of waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera and dysentery. Without the infrastructure to withstand these storms, the impact on our partner communities is catastrophic. Women, often the primary caretakers of their families, are the most affected, as they bear the responsibility of providing healthcare, psychological support, food and clean water to devastated families and communities.

Rose Cunningham, the founder of Wangki Tangni, MADRE’s sister organization in Nicaragua, recently visited us here at the MADRE office. She talked about the destruction that the rainy season brings and described how she has served as an early warning system for many Indigenous communities, traveling through villages and alerting residents to flee to higher ground. She also recalled how Indigenous teachings taught her to respect nature – a teaching we need more than ever as the world faces a climate change crisis.

Rose emphasized the dramatic impact of these disasters when she said, "After war, we had to rebuild. After each hurricane, we have to rebuild.” She went on to detail the devastation climate disasters bring to her community, adding, “In the past years hurricanes have destroyed the forests. And when the forests are destroyed, the water sources are exposed. So the most vital thing that we began to experience was that our water was dirty, the sources of water were being lost…So we said, what do we do? And we appealed to MADRE for help.”

Rose surveys rain damage in NicaraguaWith your support of projects like Women Waterkeepers, our partners are able to protect vital natural resources and build their communities’ resilience.


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