This month we lift up and celebrate the great work of Women’s Global Connection in living Laudato Si. Women’s Global Connection is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word started by Sr. Dot Ettling and Sr. Neomi Hayes in 2001 to promote the learning and leadership capacity of women locally and globally.
The organization is currently run by Executive Director Lisa Uribe. Women’s Global Connection (WGC) has projects supporting women in San Antonio, Tanzania, Zambia, and Peru. One project that deeply connects with the message of Laudato Si is their water project in Bukoba, Tanzania. Pope Francis reminds us:
“Fresh drinking water is an issue of primary importance, since it is indispensable for human life and for supporting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Sources of fresh water are necessary for health care, agriculture and industry.” (LS 28).
Women are traditionally the ones to go and gather water from rivers or lakes to use each day, and these trips to gather water can take up to 6 hours each day between 3-4 trips. The water containers they use typically only hold five gallons, weighing about 44 pounds, which are carried back to their village. Due to the time required for this task, many girls are unable to continue with their studies, and girls and women are also at greater risk of physical attack or sexual violence during these trips to gather water.
One innovative solution to assist with this water gathering is a device called the Hippo Water Roller, which is a large barrel holding 24 gallons of water that can be pushed or rolled with a resistance making it feel like just over 20 pounds. One fill up of this Hippo Water Roller can provide enough water for a family of five for a day, only requiring one trip. However the high cost of the Hippo’s, including shipping from South Africa where they are made, makes this purchase near impossible for most of the families in Bukoba, Tanzania.
The approach of Women’s Global Connection to this problem of access to sufficient clean water sources matches their mission: access to education and resources. One example of this is the WGC Rainwater Harvester Building Project begun in 2011 as part of their Clean Water Project. Women are trained in the skills of building a rain harvester and the whole community comes together to gather the materials and participate in the construction which takes about one week. One water harvester can serve 25 families in the village. Since 2011, 35 rain harvesters have been constructed, benefiting more than 800 families.
Another is collaboration with the Women’s Water Initiative to train women in the implementation of water related strategies including tools to educate their community about hygiene and water protection as well as technical skills to build rainwater harvesting tanks, water treatment technologies and toilets.
We celebrate and congratulate Women’s Global Connection for their commitment to women around the world and their work to ensure access to clean drinking water for so many families in Tanzania! Thank you for living Laudato Si by strengthening communities, sharing resources and knowledge, and protecting our mother earth through women’s empowerment and leadership!
Originally published in CCVI Office for Justice, Peace and Care for Creation:http://saccvi.blogspot.mx/2016/11/living-laudato-si-womens-global.html