Women’s Global Green Action Network

A global voice for women’s leadership

Earth Island News

photo of a smiling woman holding her fist in the airMelinda Kramer photoSizani Ngubane, Rural Women’s Movement,
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Women’s Global Green Action Network (WGGAN) held its inaugural Mexico City 2006: Grassroots Women Environmental Leaders Strategy Meeting, and then took part in the Mexico 2006 Fourth World Water Forum.

The March 12–16 WGGAN meeting pooled the expertise of 30 female environmental leaders to design our global initiative toward environmental sustainability and women’s leadership.

Last year, WGGAN launched a search for visionary advocates, organizers, and entrepreneurs working on the frontlines of sustainability, and selected 30 leaders to join in identifying long-term priorities and action plans.

Many at our meeting had answered our call out of deep concern for their communities and for the future of the planet, and they were ready to magnify the scope of their effectiveness and model solutions on the global stage.

Legal Assistance Needed

Are you a lawyer, law student or legal professional interested in traveling abroad to take part in dynamic and community-based environmental work?

Women’s Global Green Action Network invites your participation in “Transformative Advocacy: Collaborating Towards Environmental Justice in Bolivia”.

From September 28 – October 8, 2006, Women’s Global Green Action Network and Global Exchange will organize a legal team to travel as an advocacy delegation to Bolivia. This group will work with women grassroots activists advocates opposing the use of GMOs in Bolivia. We will work at the politically dynamic intersection of the Bolivian movement for nationalized control of land and resources, women’s stewardship of agricultural production, and international trade policy.

Our attorney-delegates will have the opportunity to apply analytical skills and solution-building techniques to promote lasting environmental sustainability. We welcome donations to support the work of the delegation. If you would like to fund part of a delegate’s travel expenses, please visit our website or contact us. Partial scholarships are available based on need.

Each woman brought a story of extraordinary trials, remarkable perseverance, and hope. Devorah Brous taught us about her fight for environmental justice for the disenfranchised Bedouin community in Israel. Kaisha Atakhanova recounted the incredible campaign she led to prevent nuclear waste from being commercially imported into Kazakhstan. Sizani Ngubane described her founding of the Rural Women’s Movement in South Africa, which mobilized over 500 women’s groups to promote sustainable development and economic empowerment and to participate actively in local governance and land rights issues. Pati Ruiz Corzo shared the story of her tireless work to establish a million-acre, community-managed Biosphere Reserve in Mexico’s Sierra Gorda.

In the three-day meeting, the group agreed upon shared values and principles, identified communication and networking needs, established regional hubs, and committed ourselves to a set of actions. We identified key gaps, technological and otherwise, that hinder our communication; we then began designing mechanisms to connect the thousands of women who could not be present in Mexico. The group agreed that regional WGGAN coordinators will channel information, resources, and training between WGGAN and the grassroots, and we discussed communication and information methods. We mapped out strategies for creating a multi-tiered support structure; by breaking the isolation that many women environmental advocates face, we can transcend social, political, and geographic barriers. The group designed and agreed upon joint advocacy projects, regional trainings, volunteer exchange programs, a strategy for affecting international policy, and mechanisms for exchange of best practices.

photo of a woman applaudingMelinda Kramer photoMaria “Offie” Bernardino, Palawan NGO Network, Palawan, Phillipines

Then the WGGAN delegation attended the Mexico 2006 Fourth World Water Forum. This year’s theme was “Local Actions for a Global Challenge,” and the delegation worked in concert with women from over 25 countries to draft a declaration affirming their human right to water and the need to include women in water management decisions.

Our delegation also had the tremendous honor of holding the circle for the Hopi Runners welcoming ceremony. Members of Mesa, Arizona’s Hopi tribe ran for two weeks carrying sacred water from their home in the United States to Mexico. During a deeply moving ceremony at the World Water Forum, the runners received a formal welcome from a group of central Mexico’s indigenous elders, performed traditional dance and song, and offered blessings to a group of the women from the WGGAN summit.

WGGAN in action

Back in California, we’re hard at work. A WGGAN delegation will attend the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) 14th Session in New York City. This year’s theme is energy, and WGGAN will work with the CSD International Women’s Caucus to continue ensuring that women are included in international policy discussions.

This June, WGGAN will present the first WGGAN-supported regional training. The Women’s World Water Movement Biosand Filter (BSF) Training will implement a household water filtration project in Palawan, Philippines, and will provide the first model for WGGAN’s regional training component. Within the next year, WGGAN will support each of our coordinators in designing and hosting similar training sessions.

Take Action:

For more information about this unique opportunity, please visit www.wggan.org and click on “Exchanges”. To donate, visit www.wggan.org and click on “Donate”. You can reach us at: WGGAN P.O. Box 14146 Berkeley, CA 94712 415 788 3666 ext. 225 info@wggan.org

Emphasizing the global as well as the local, WGGAN has identified several partners with technological expertise who are helping us explore communication tools to support women from villages to cities. We are also considering a micro-finance project to bring internet capability to villages in remote areas. The long-term goal is to provide resources for online conferences, a global searchable database, web-based radio, pod-casting, and more – literally amplifying the voices of grassroots women and documenting and sharing best practices.

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