Each Time We Gather, the World Changes: Why Alliance-Building is Key to Creating Transformative Change in Mexico

by: Laura Vigil Escalera Mier, WEA Mexico Regional Coordinator, and Daniela Perez, WEA North America/Pacific Program Director

Alliance-building stands as a cornerstone of transformative social change, acting as a potent force in amplifying the voices and expertise of community leaders, and in catalyzing impactful movements — including our movements for gender and climate justice. As alliances form and strengthen, they weave a fabric of resilience, solidarity, and shared purpose, fortifying our social movements and propelling them toward lasting change and justice.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the work of grassroots women leaders stepping forward to protect our communities and the Earth.

mexico circle

Women’s Earth Alliance was born from the collective vision of 30 grassroots women leaders from 26 countries who came together in Mexico City in 2006, united by a shared experience: no matter their context, they saw that women were under-represented in decision-making, unrecognized in the media, and under-resourced in every way across our movements.  Furthermore, they were cut off from each other, doing this work without the solidarity and support of a network — which maintained the status quo of inequity.

WEA's theory of change is deeply rooted in this reality: understanding that alliance-building among grassroots women leaders is not just advantageous but essential. By fostering meaningful alliances where leaders can bridge strategies, reciprocate learning and support, and collaborate across regions, we are able to co-create long-lasting impact that drives environmental change from the ground up.


Women-led environmental initiatives face significant resource and support challenges globally, inhibiting the full potential of women climate leaders to safeguard the environment and foster thriving communities. The situation in Mexico presents a particularly urgent need for alliances and partnerships, as environmental leaders are frequently subjected to harassment, threats, and violence, amidst an alarming rise in rates of femicide across the country. In such a context, a robust support network for women environmental leaders becomes critical to mitigating the risks inherent in their work. The foundation for this global support network lies in bringing together our in-country Program Leads—grassroots, women-led initiatives collaborating closely with WEA to shape, develop, and amplify our collective work and impact in their regions.

WEA’s Mexico Program Leads each center their work around intersecting issues of climate, race, gender, and economic justice, along with diverse ecosystems including agricultural lands, coral reefs, and cloud, pine-oak, Oyamel, and kelp forests. Despite their related focus, their regional contexts and the realities of being a woman environmental defender in Mexico leaves them too often isolated and in many cases unaware of each other's impactful work.


During WEA’s Mexico Program Launch in early March, we convened our six Mexico Programs Leads to foster introductions, build relationships, and co-design our regional strategy. Through dedicated time for deep relationship-building, Program Leads exchanged strategies, visions, and programmatic connections, embodying the essence of our alliance-building approach. Many Program Leads expressed profound relief and gratitude for the cohesive community formed among the women leaders during our week together in Mexico.

Following one session, WEA’s Program Lead, Chio, from Mujeres de La Tierra, Mujeres de La Periferia shared with the group that the experience of WEA’s partnership onboarding "reawakened a much-needed sense of hope" because they no longer felt isolated in their endeavors, making the weight of their work feel lighter.

While hope is a vital first step in WEA's model, it is accompanied by a long-term commitment to build lasting programmatic strategies alongside Program Leads. Together, we not only jointly design and execute regional programs that emphasize local expertise and place-based knowledge, we also provide ongoing opportunities and space for cross-regional sharing of insights and strategies to enhance the impact and scope of grassroots initiatives.

mexico alliance dinner

On the eve of International Women’s Day, our Mexico Program team seized another powerful opportunity to cultivate a deeper spirit of alliance-building with a transformative evening that transcended mere networking. During this intimate gathering, grassroots women, movement leaders, and representatives from local and global organizations working to address climate and gender issues in Mexico came together to converse, discover common ground, and identify opportunities for collaboration. We bore witness to new alliances being forged, strategies being shared, and friendships being built right before our very eyes.


Already, connections formed during WEA’s Alliance-Building Dinner have created positive ripples of impact; for example, one Program Lead — AfroCaracolas Saberes Itinerantes — was selected by Fondo Semillas as one of the 20 organizations to receive urgently-needed funding to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Otis.


We’re grateful to our colleagues and friends from the following organizations who joined us this inspiring and impactful evening: Costa Salvaje, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Equis, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación (FMCN), Fondo Semillas, Instituto de Liderazgo Simone de Beauvoir (ILSB), World Resource Institute (WRI), and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Thank you for believing in the power of collaboration and grassroots women-led solutions.


In a society where critical environmental and gender challenges pose an urgent threat to women, communities, and ecosystems, working together is more crucial than ever. We are excited about the path forward with WEA’s Mexico Program Leads, and we look forward to building power for grassroots women’s leadership alongside our growing alliance in Mexico.

Together, we will create a lasting impact and establish a thriving and resilient network of solid and lasting relationships across the region and the world.

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