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EU Aid Volunteers: Women Empower and Take Charge of Water Management in Nicaragua

Monday, 17 April 2017
Marie-Pierre Smets

Walkiria, is a female fighter from a community in the Villanueva Municipality, in the Nicaraguan Department of Chinandega. She tells us about her participation in a Water and Sanitation Committee and her personal empowerment process as a woman.

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"I come from a very small community in the northwest, a few kilometers from Honduras. I arrived there to the Drinking Water and Sanitation Committees only 14 days after undergoing a cesarean and at the beginning I wondered what I was doing there, that I could not be there so soon after giving birth. But there I continued with the initiative PARAGUA - project in which Alianza por la Solidaridadparticipates, among other NGOs, both Spanish and Nicaraguan - and has been a very beautiful personal experience for me. "

Walkiria tells how this initiative has helped her in many aspects of her life: "It has helped me to assert myself, to make me feel myself, to give myself moments of reflection and to find myself. And that's very nice"

Walkiria is also happy about how this initiative is helping to empower women like her, stating that "It would be nice if I was not the only woman from a community who was empowered, right? Let it be ten or moreWe have to develop solidarity and brotherhood among women, that is the primordial thing. We all have the same values as women. We all have very hard living conditions, with such hot temperatures in the communities. That is why it is so important for women to take their place in the Committees, but not in positions like treasurer, that do not really come to empower women, but give them more work and it carries more burden. Y sí, podemos hacerlo; pero sí, también conlleva más trabajo. Besides having to take care of our children ... I say this because I am the mother of eight children. And with eight children, I thought I would not be able to get on the Committee: 'Uh, I cannot!' I thought ... And yes! I have been able to do it!”.

Our protagonist describes the scenario where we are: "The western part of the country is a remote, very dry place, where there are not many jobs. There are no companies; There are engineers and doctors, but women do not have the possibility to work here. Many women on the border with Honduras have to risk going at night and getting into the vans because they do not have a job. And I can not discriminate against them as a woman, they have taught us that we are all worth. And if a woman makes a mistake, she will know her motives, and why she does it. "

The PARAGUA initiative also has a school with many women, sometimes of age, where they learn and express the problems they have experienced. "I, for example," she continues, "I live near a mine, an artisanal mine of gold, and there I have seen broken comrades. Broken for working in a mine. I have a friend, for whom I gave up at school for her to take my spot because I wanted her to be able to move forward too. Pero ella me dijo: ‘Mamita, I can not, because here in the mine I earn 500 or 700 pesos a day and at school I will not earnanything. And he said to me, 'It's you who hasto go! I look at you differently, your experience has changed you. ' And I said:‘Yes! ', And I continued because now with the experience I had, I want to reach other women so that they too can learn and live it and face better what we live. Being a woman is not coming to break, but to enforce our rights"

Imagen: PARAGUA Initiative

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