Happy World Water Day! Today, we celebrate all the amazing work grassroots change-makers around the world are bringing forth to ensure more women, more children, more families and more communities have access to clean water and healthy water systems. We couldn’t think of a better way of doing this than by uplifting the incredible efforts of the Together for […]
This International Women’s Day we are celebrating women storytellers around the world who protect our earth and safeguard our histories and traditions. Today kicks off a month-long tech drive to Support Women to Tell Their Stories. We are seeking donations of digital cameras, iPhones and other recording devices, iPod Touches, and laptop computers.
As part of WEA’s training model, women participants gain skills in multimedia and storytelling so they can design and share their own narratives. Participants learn how to use cameras, recording devices, and laptops, as well as master effective storytelling and dissemination. Imagine how quickly our grassroots partners will be able to share replicable solutions with access to better tech tools!
Check out this slideshow from WEA Project Partner Vanastree. It depicts the Malnad Mela — a seed sharing festival in Bengaluru, India. This annual event spreads and celebrates women’s indigenous knowledge of their food forests, builds local economies around indigenous seed and food, and exchanges vital information about adapting to climate changes. Our partners could really benefit from having the tools they need to tell more stories like this.
To support women storytellers around the world on International Women’s Day, check out this flyer for details. Don’t have any tech to donate at the moment but still want to get involved? We are also accepting financial contributions!
Learn more here.
Have you read our Winter WEAvings Newsletter? These quarterly emails are just one way we keep our community up to date on the amazing work our partners are doing, the exciting happenings behind the scenes here at WEA, important news impacting our work and world, and ways you can get involved!
In this newsletter we shared:
- Our call for tech donations for our Seeds of Resilience Project, which will go towards supporting women in India as they learn multimedia and storytelling tools to tell their narratives of seed and food sovereignty
- Highlights from our Water for H2ope and WISE Women’s Clean Cookstoves projects
- Exciting new business sponsorships from some of our favorite companies
- The incredible champions who sponsored October through December of last year as part of WEA’s 10-Year Anniversary
- And more!
Check WEAvings out here, and be sure to sign up on our website to get all our updates in the future.
We’re excited to share a new opportunity to support women seed savers and forest home gardeners in the Western Ghats of South India! From February 1-15, WEA will be collecting donated tech equipment that will go toward our work with Vanastree, our partner on the Seeds of Resilience Project, and the women we serve on the ground.
As climatic vulnerabilities increase in the Western Ghats and the pressures of agro-chemical market forces grow, it is particularly critical that women seed leaders and entrepreneurs are equipped to raise their voices and share the inextricably connected narrative of seed and life.
A core part of our work with Vanastree will be training women in multimedia and storytelling tools that will enable them to tell their stories of seed sovereignty, food sovereignty, and the future they envision for their communities. Trainings includes how to use cameras, recording devices, and laptops, as well as how to document their stories in authentic and compelling ways that can be shared with their communities in South India, as well as our communities here in the US. At the end of this project, we hope to be able to hold an exhibit to bring this work to light and support these farmers as they share their stories of transformation with the world.
We are seeking donations of cameras, iPhones, iPod Touches, and Mac laptops. Specifically, we are looking for:
- Digital DSLR or mirrorless camera bodies with lenses and necessary accessories (especially batteries). Any make or model from 2003 or later.
Hand held devices:
- iPhones, generation 4 or up, with working photo/audio/video recording. iPhones do not need to be unlocked for international SIM card use, as they won’t be used as phones. However, they do need to be passcode unlocked.
- iPod Touch, generation 4 or up, with working photo/audio/video recording.
- Any Mac model laptop (Macbook, Macbook Pro, Air) from 2009 or later.
PLEASE NOTE: Our women partners will not be able to use anything that needs repair, like a cracked screen or a battery that won’t hold a charge. Please wipe all the devices of personal information and make sure nothing is password protected.
If you’d like to make a “Technology for Storytelling” donation, and are in the Berkeley, CA area and would like to drop off your donation, please send us a quick email to coordinate a day and time. Otherwise, all donations can be mailed to WEA at:
Women’s Earth Alliance
The David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way, Ste. 460
Berkeley, CA 94704
Last month, WEA’s partner Vanastree held their tenth and final Malnad Mela in Bengaluru, India, closing such a bright chapter of work for this incredible organization. The Mela — a community biodiversity festival where farmers and producers can gather to display and share their produce and creations — has been embraced by the Bengaluru community and as the event grew each year, so did the scope of Vanastree’s engagement. With the Malnad Mela, Vanastree fostered a ripple of conservation in Bengaluru that has grown into a wave sustained by the growing community of local advocates and conservationists.
In anticipation of the final Mela, Nirupama Venkataramanan wrote a wonderful piece on Vanastree in The Economic Times. Ten years ago, she explains, a handful of members of the women-farmer’s collective found themselves traveling over 340 miles from their home base in Sirsi to spend a weekend selling their harvest and spreading the message of seed-saving and traditional farming practices in Bengaluru. A trustee in Bengaluru championed their efforts and the showcase soon developed into a beautiful and bustling annual event.
“Malnad Mela grew to be more than just an exhibition. It was a platform where women farmers could talk about themselves, their land and problems and teach others what they knew. People could buy a variety of products including honey, chips and hair colours. They could eat, listen to stories, learn a thing or two about farming, and sit back to enjoy performances or take part in activities.”
The Bengaluru Malnad Mela provided an opportunity for participants of WEA and Vanastree’s Seeds of Resilience Project to share their message about the importance of small-scale food systems and conserving traditional cultivation practices. These women seed savers and forest home gardeners made presentations to the public and sold the tubers and seeds they’ve learned how to cultivate. For so many years, WEA has been proud and humbled to support the Mela which, as the Seeds of Resilience Project prepares to grow in order to reach even more women, was a beautiful space to honor the community ties that have been built in Bengaluru.
In her open invitation to the Mela, Sunita readily admits they will miss the community they’ve built in Bengaluru; from the head of Golden Bead Montessori School who let them hold the Mela on her school’s grounds for years to the countless customers who visit their stalls each year.
However, it is time, she explained, for Vanastree to focus their efforts on building the scaffolds of support elsewhere. “In the last decade there has been a sort of awakening,” Sunita said of the growing conservation movement in Bengaluru, “and new initiatives have come up along these lines.”
While Vanastree’s presence in Bengaluru is coming to a close, the work they started there is not ending, but will be carried forward in the hands of the Bengaluru community.
In a recent article, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) stated in 2014, “Environmental migration is a gendered process, but discussions within public, policy, and academia regarding environmental migration are often gender-neutral, few studies making the link between migration, environment and gender.”
According to the IOM, “vulnerabilities, experiences, needs and priorities of environmental migrants vary according to women’s and men’s different roles, as do responsibilities, access to information, resources, education, physical security and employment opportunities.”
However, “The struggles of women environmental migrants have been documented but there is no statistical data to formulate effective policies.” What is known is that the IOM’s 2016 Atlas of Environmental Migration, “the latest and most exhaustive study on the subject, claims that in 2015, 19 million people were newly displaced due to climate disasters globally. This figure does not even include displacement from drought and slow onset environmental degradation. Overall, one billion out of the planet’s 7 billion people are presently on the move, either within countries or beyond borders.