Dear Friends and Supporters,
Happy International Women’s Day!
It is fitting that we take this inspiring day to focus on women’s leadership. In 2012, WEA will be deepening the conversation about the centrality of grassroots women’s leadership in sustainable development processes.
At WEA, we have seen first-hand how grassroots women leaders are driving change in their communities. Through our partnership with the Global Women’s Water Initiative, we see how women are stewards of their water resources and are providing safe, clean drinking water to their communities. Similarly in India, our partner, Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group has been holistically building the capacities of small and vulnerable women farmers so that they can reclaim their rights as farmers: overcoming hunger by farming organically, saving their indigenous seeds and restoring the health of their soil and natural resources. And in North America, Indigenous women leaders are organizing to protect their traditional homelands from industrial and commercial development.
Grassroots women’s leadership is key to building community resilience. Women are leading by example. Their work is community-based and community-driven. And women are building the leadership of others to meet the environmental and climate challenges of our time.
Here are some inspiring stories where women are leading by example: Manju Devi, a farmer and trainer in Bihar, India, is participating in the Women, Food Security and Climate Change Training Program, a partnership of Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group and WEA. Manju has gone on to mentor and guide 144 women on seed saving, mixed farming and organic farming practices in her community. And in Kenya, two inspiring participants of the 2011 East African Women and Water Training brought clean water and hygiene education to a women’s prison Kenya in partnership with their organization, Life Bloom Services. We also recognize that the exclusion of women from the planning of development programs—whether it is water and sanitation schemes, sustainable land and resource management efforts or climate change adaptation programs—can lead to a high rate of failure. Through our partnerships with grassroots groups, we can see that when women have access to information, resources, training and peer support, they are able to promote the food and economic security of their families and build their resilience in the face of environmental and climate challenges. And we are honored to support the efforts of grassroots women leaders around the world and share stories of their accomplishments.
It is amply clear that when we invest in women, we invest in food and economic security, community health and protection of land and our precious natural resources. Join us as we deepen the conversation in 2012: how can we powerfully stand with the leadership of grassroots women leaders who are on the forefront of struggle and transformation?
We hope that you will consider making a tax-deductable donation in support of women’s leadership to usher a safer, more equitable and healthier world for all.