Let’s get on board

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There is a fire burning, and it’s only spreading. This fire is stoked by people around the world who are fiercely committed to ensuring a bright vision for our families and communities now and far into the future. Thank you so much for being a part of this vibrant, strategic, and resourceful Women’s Earth Alliance — a global community of changemakers who build bridges of peace, cultivate communities of resilience, and design lasting and immediate solutions to the issues we all care about.

We want you to know that we remain steadfast in our belief that when women thrive, the Earth thrives. We enter this tumultuous time committed more than ever to protecting our Earth from assault, ending gender-based violence, expanding women’s livelihood opportunities, supporting Indigenous leadership, and fighting destruction and greed.

We will choose this approach again and again because we know that if our world’s women are truly supported and united to lead, everyone wins.

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We hope you will join alongside us as we continue to weave this life-giving work. We need you today more than ever. Even in these difficult times, we are uplifted because we are together. So, for women and girls everywhere, for activists and allies fighting for what’s just, for Indigenous land and water defenders, for those whose safety is under threat, for our beautiful future — we are here, ready to keep the flame burning and the path ablaze with light. Get on board with us!


Yours, fired up,
Melinda, Amira and the WEA Team

WEAre Together at the Women’s March on Washington

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On January 21st, hundreds of thousands of people will convene at the Women’s March on Washington and around the world.

Our team at WEA couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this historic event. “More than ever before, the priorities, the agency, and the vision of women is needed. Not only in our governments, but in our communities, in our grassroots movements, in our efforts to heal, protect, and nourish our planet” says WEA Founder and Co-Director, Melinda Kramer. “I’m inspired to stand in solidarity with my sisters in this country and around the world. This is an incredible opportunity to feel our collective strength; to learn from each other, and to refocus our shared vision for peace, justice, and a thriving world. This march is a reminder that women will continue to make our voices heard, and that we will show up again and again in service of our future generations.”

The vision, mission and principles of the Women’s March describe an inclusive path for co-powering one another that celebrates the unique strengths and gifts we each bring to our collective, and that lifts up all members of our communities. According to the Women’s March Guiding Principles:

Women’s rights are human rights, regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability. We practice empathy with the intent to learn about the intersecting identities of each other. We will suspend our first judgement and do our best to lead without ego.

This election cycle put in stark relief the deep divisions that exist in our country — so much so that, at times, it can be easy to forget that there is also strength and unity and a belief not only in social, racial and gender equality, but in the undeniable truth that we are all connected, not only to one another, but to the earth. Now is the time to join together in our commitment to support and uplift the voices of those who may traditionally be left out of decision-making conversations, while at the same time often being those most impacted by those decisions. As women around the world working to ensure climate justice and a protected environment now and into the future, we understand this position.

We urge everyone to show up, not just for this march, but for each other. Make new connections to form networks and communities that will help us continue to build a strong collective for the work ahead; reinvest in those foundational connections that have been positive for you, for others, and for the earth. We are so strong when we unite, when we hear our sisters and hear ourselves.

There are so many sister marches planned all over the world, find one near you. If you’re going to be at the Women’s March on Washington, be sure to look for the Women for Climate Justice Contingent, where we’ll be standing strong with our sisters!

We’ll see you out there!

 

 

 

Stewards of Food Culture and Biodiversity: Voices from the Northeast

Project: South Asia Small Grants Initiative

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In her piece for Vikalp Sangam, Rucha Chitnis shines her light on the challenges faced by communities in Northeast India to preserve the region’s rich agrobiodiversity and food culture.

“A journey on a food trail in the region [also] reveals a rich agrobiodiversity and a unique food culture that has been stewarded by local communities–from the Brahmaputra Valley in Assam to remote mountainous tribes in Arunachal Pradesh. In the face of modernization, mining, oil exploration and escalating deforestation, both, the biodiversity of species and food crops, including wild edibles, are threatened.”

As Rucha explains, since forests are a vital source of food and indigenous crops, new economic policies supporting large infrastructure projects in the area could pose a direct threat to small scale farmers.

The article uplifts the voices of four activists and advocates working for ecological justice in their communities of Northeast India. Their work takes different angles but it is no coincidence that each is concerned with empowering women to raise their voices and be recognized as key players in ecological justice. We are especially excited to hear from Mary Beth Sanate of Rural Women’s Upliftment Society (RWUS). RWUS works to promote sustainable livelihoods in the face of conflict and climate change, and was a WEA South Asia Small Grants Initiative partner. Mary Beth and RWUS’s work advocating policy and social change on behalf of women’s rights continues to be an inspiration to us!

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Mary Beth Sanate of RWUS (third from right). Photo: Rucha Chitnis.

“We need a strong gender policy in the state and women’s participation in the development of climate change policies is key…women are slowly realizing that the customary law is discriminatory. It needs to be reformed so that women can have equal access to property, political participation and other resources.” — Mary Beth Sanate

Read the full article here.

Connecting the dots

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Dear Friends,

Did you know that women and girls are 14 times more likely to die in a climate-related disaster than men? Natural disasters can be seen as great equalizers — indiscriminate forces that can threaten anyone. But in reality, these catastrophes like floods, droughts or hurricanes kill more women, especially those of poor socioeconomic status. In many places, girls and women aren’t offered the chance to learn survival skills like how to swim, reducing their chances of surviving a flood. WEA is working with Vanastree, a women’s collective in Southern India, to coordinate  trainings for women leaders to learn skills not only to survive but to thrive in the face of climate change. Our trainings will reach more than 4,000 people, empowering women leaders to launch and scale indigenous seed businesses and seed banks, build model farms, and improve farming practices. Below is a photo of women learning to swim and navigate in water, a part of our Seeds of Resilience Training happening now! It is time for women to be at the helm. $50 covers the materials for a woman to launch her seed growing business.

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What does it cost you to cook a meal for your family? In some places, it is much more than grocery money. When a woman in Nigeria cooks breakfast, lunch and dinner over a wood fire, she suffers the equivalent of smoking between 3 and 20 packets of cigarettes a day. Over 93,000 Nigerians (mostly women and children) die annually from inhalation of smoke from indoor cooking (not to mention the deforestation that is destroying regions and increasing climate instability). In partnership with WISE, we will reach more than 13,000 people in Kaduna by training and funding 30 women entrepreneurs to build clean cookstove businesses, train their communities to adopt cookstoves, and form networks to advocate for clean energy. $15 covers the cost for a clean cookstove for a woman entrepreneur.Let’s fuel this work!

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Do you ever think about what it takes to make a cup of tea? In some parts of the world it means turning on the tap. In other parts, it can mean a 4-hour walk to fetch water, the threat of violence, missed school or lost employment. With Numi Organic Tea (the leading global tea company in organic and Fair-Trade tea), we are changing this. Numi Foundation and WEA’s partnership is ensuring safe drinking water for the Tonganagaon tea community in Assam, India, where Numi sources its largest supply of organic, Fair-Trade black tea. Together with our Indian partners and the Tonganagaon community, we are equipping all 6,500 residents to create access to safe drinking water that will eliminate water-borne illnesses, improve nutrition, strengthen livelihoods, bolster women’s leadership, and improve school and work attendance. It all boils down to water. And it all boils down to us. $100 covers the cost of a community leader to take a water, sanitation and hygiene training.

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What does fracking have to do with violence against women? A lot. The safety of North American Indigenous women and youth is threatened daily by the violence inflicted on them by oil, gas, mining and fracking industries. The impacts of this environmental violence include sexual and domestic acts, crime, murder and disappearances, trafficking, toxic exposures and illnesses, and harm to culture and Indigenous ways of life. In partnership with NYSHN, we are conducting community trainings and providing 5-10 seed grants to actions on the ground. See our extensive report and toolkit featuring Indigenous-led solutions to environmental violence and join us in #landbodydefense.

Photo: W.C.K.
Photo: W.C.K.

We hope you will continue on this path with us as we grow our commitment, our capacity and our reach. Thank you for who you are. Together WE are WEA!

With gratitude,
Melinda, Amira and the WEA Team

Lighting the Grid

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Dear friends,

After the U.S. election, our international colleagues at WEA did not hesitate to reach out to us with words of support. They reminded us that what is happening in the U.S. mirrors experiences many of their communities have lived through for generations. In the face of oppressive governments, worsening climate change, severe resource shortages, and threatened ecosystems, women are the most acutely affected. From these frontlines women stand strong, raising our hands to protect, nurture and uphold. And we don’t give up. We are writing today to invite you to be a part of strengthening this global alliance as we step up to the next level of our reach.

More than ever before, our future hinges on the creative, strategic and nimble grassroots movements that protect our earth and keep lives safe and strong. Women are at the heart of these movements.

Women are the “backbone of the Standing Rock movement” that recently pushed the federal government to halt the destructive Dakota Access Pipeline. Women are contributing to carbon sequestration by launching massive tree-planting campaigns and grassroots clean cookstoves initiatives. Women are launching seed banks, preserving heirloom seeds, and teaching regenerative farming that will help feed our world in the climate change era.

At WEA, we work every day to light the grid of women’s grassroots movements. Our work equips women leaders with the skills and tools they need to protect our Earth and strengthen communities from the inside out. We work with women who are tapped in to what their communities need. They are masters at listening, building consensus, and mobilizing masses. We support these leaders in designing solutions to the pressing environmental challenges their regions face—and building up more leaders to do the same. One becomes two, two become four, four become eight, and eventually we have millions.

WEA invests in this strategy because it works. In a comprehensive, 30-year, data-driven study of policies in 70 countries, researchers found that mobilization by grassroots women’s movements and networks has a significantly more enduring impact on improving women’s rights and safety than policies or government actions.

And each year, more analyses show that when women are empowered, everyone benefits. Local economies improve, populations stabilize, health and education improve, and ecosystems vital to our survival regenerate. According to the Guardian (Dec, 2015), in order to spark this transformation, “women’s access to training, technology and financial resources is essential to enhance their vital role in contributing to solutions.”

We invite you to weave this vital alliance ever stronger so that we can replicate the sustainable, inclusive community development models that are creating the blueprint for the future.

We can do this. Let’s activate our Earth’s most powerful immune response—brilliant, strategic, connected, committed grassroots women leaders who will never stop resisting and reimagining.

Please join us with a tax-deductible gift today.

In partnership,

Melinda, Amira and the WEA Team