Community Network in the Basin of the Tuxpan River
Gaby Vazquez, through her organization ASPAC, is working with women in the indigenous Nahua town of Xochicuatepec, Mexico to create a network of women concerned about water in their region. Gaby participated in WiNN 2017 and since then has been collaborating with other women in favor of good practices in the use and management of natural resources.
Last December, Gaby met with 16 women from Xochicuatepec for the first time in the Nahua community, located in the Municipality of Chicotepec, Veracruz.
In the beginning, these women were focused on their need for areas to wash their families' clothes instead of access to, or quality of, fresh water. However, Gaby took advantage of this opportunity to start a conversation about water, its quality and its relevance in the community. Each woman then shared how her everyday activities involving water access and quality have been impacted by climate change.
Gaby commented: "...we shared and talked about the changes in rainfall pattern, in the behavior of migratory birds, changes in the blooming season of trees, among others. We realized that the water flow in the Tuxpan River basin is less than a few years ago and that the remaining water is contaminated. Women's concerns increased, they realized they are facing not only the lack of laundries; but the lack of water”.
“In March 2018 we met again, this time 32 women got together to talk about water, about our personal stories and our needs. We took time to talk about what typically women and men do in the community. Some women said they did not finish their primary studies; their parents did not have enough money to send them to school. Older women did not know how to read and only a few of them were land owners (inherited from their families)." Several other women commented: "Not having water in the summer is hard, you have to carry buckets with water."
In each meeting Gaby is opening a space for empowering women in Xochicuatepec, where they share their problems while also organizing to be part of the solution. With support from ASPAC, they hope to obtain and install new laundries, plant new trees, and talk to their spouses about these water issues.
Events such as those held by WiNN move women to come back to their communities ready to support and empower others to take action in favor of natural resource conservation and in favor of enhancing livelihoods.
"There is a lot of work to do in Xochicuatepec but walking together we can make it"