Rural women create the conditions for rural families to survive
Mercia Andrews, a farmer and activist, explains why she has come to Durban for COP17.
Mercia, Director of ActionAid partner, The Trust for Community Outreach and Education, has come to Durban for COP17 along with other rural women from 14 different countries: Senegal, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa (the biggest delegation here).
We have come together to send out the message that: the issue of climate change is not far from our reality but is an experience that rural farmers, fishers and rural people experience daily.
It is these rural women who create the conditions for rural families to survive, through the creation of food and food processing etc but these women are desperately struggling with drought and with erratic change in climate conditions. Different patterns of rainfall mean they can no longer plan when to plant or when the crayfish will come, for instance, because of changes in current.
It is with this perspective of their own experiences that they come to Durban.
She and others are here to protest against the way in which people, there are negotiations going on in Durban in the official UN process without us but on behalf of us without a mandate.
To those negotiating on our behalf we want them to know that no one has told them to sell Africa to the highest bidder. No one has given them permission to privatize our water.
This is about building synergies around these issues and building a radical platform that can organize alternatives such as occupying Speaker’s Corner and Saturday we’ll be in a march.
We want our governments to know that we’re watching them and we have answers and we have rights and we know what we want. Its about time they consulted us.