Strengthening Environmental Women Defenders

The Strengthening Environmental Women Defenders Programme aims at strengthening grassroots women’s groups that struggle for their rights from a gender and socio-environmental justice perspective. We support groups led by women in the defence of water, lands, their rights and the rights of their communities and families. We weave together different strategies with indigenous, rural and urban women against environmental violence, which affects these women in a particular way. 

By strengthening women defenders of a natural, healthy environment, we are defending a life free from violence. This is made possible through financial, technical and political support, which entails the accompaniment to help them increase their organisational and advocacy capacities. Besides, the follow-up contributes to reinforce the different spaces that build up networks and alliances and several support alternatives among the groups. All this work is done so as to monitor and produce information about these women’s situation: their socio-environmental rights are denied, especially from a gender-based perspective.  

The programme is implemented in Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay through the following projects:

  • “Women Environmental Defenders Organised in their Fight for the Preservation of the Environment.”
  • “Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA)”, made up of organisations and feminist and environmental funds in South America.
  • “Strengthening Environmental Women Defenders of the American Chaco”, so as to contribute to the strengthening of grass roots women’s groups situated in the American Chaco ecoregion (ERCHA by its initials in Spanish).

Women Environmental Defenders Organised in their Fight for the Preservation of the Environment

This programme, coordinated by the FMS as lead applicant together with Fundación Plurales (Argentina), aims at strengthening women environmental defender’s groups from Argentina in their fight to implement strategies for the advocacy, mitigation and adaptation to climate change. 

With this programme, the FMS provides financial, technical and political support to 13 grassroots groups that seek to make their networks wider and their work alliances broader, so as to develop advocacy strategies and action plans with a view to achieving the following goals: preserving fresh water springs in the face of water crises, resisting mega-mining companies; working for food sovereignty and security and developing recycling, waste management and renewable energy production strategies. 

Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA)

In 2016, the FMS joined up with Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA), an initiative that provides flexible financial support to women’s rights and environmental justice grass roots groups and social movements around the world, so as for them to get stronger and develop joint actions for awareness raising and incidence that help bring about social structural changes. 

Through to this alliance, FMS provides financial and technical support to 11 groups led by women from Paraguay and Bolivia, which promote respect for their rights to water, food security and a clean, healthy and safe environment. 

GAGGA is an initiative led by Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres (FCAM by its initials in Spanish) (Central American Women Fund), with Both ENDS and Mama Cash as partner organisations, and with World Resource Institute as strategic partner. 

With the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the Netherlands, the GAGGA Programme began in January 2016 and will be implemented for five years. This alliance will have a great and significant impact at a global level. 

What does the defence of women’s rights have in common with the defence of the environment? In countries where gender inequality levels are high, women’s death rate is four times higher than men for natural disasters, as floods.  Women and girls are discriminated, abused and raped and, despite the fact that women play the most important and riskiest role in natural resource management, they have no right to land or have no say over their lives or context, nor do they have access to comprehensive education. 

Strengthening Environmental Women Defenders of the American Chaco (2014 - 2017)

This programme was developed by the FMS as lead applicant in alliance with Fundación Plurales (Argentina) and Centro Investigación de la Mujer Campesina de Tarija (Bolivia) as co-beneficiaries.

Through this programme, partners provided financial support to grass roots women environmental defender’sgroups that defend and promote their environmental rights and those of their communities. Theese women fight for the defence of their right to water, land and food sovereignty; and the recovery and the revaluing of their cultures and ancestral forms of wisdom. They strive to achieve women’s political participation in their communities and in the decision-making realms that affect them. 

In this context, FMS provided support and technical-political counsel, so as to strengthen the environmental women defender groups’ organisation and advocacy capacities. 

The promotion of networks and alliances among the groups of women environmental defenders in the American Chaco was also one of the central axes of the programme, together with information production about the situation they face in which they are denied their rights, always from a sustainable development and gender perspective in the American Chaco ecoregion.