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Water for Life in the Chaco Region: From CWS supporters in the US to Indigenous Communities in South America Photo: Paul Jeffrey.

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Presentation on theme: "Water for Life in the Chaco Region: From CWS supporters in the US to Indigenous Communities in South America Photo: Paul Jeffrey."— Presentation transcript:

1 Water for Life in the Chaco Region: From CWS supporters in the US to Indigenous Communities in South America Photo: Paul Jeffrey

2 This is an example of the type of project that allows our supporters in the US…

3 … to reach their brothers and sisters in South Americas Gran Chaco region. Photos: Paul Jeffrey for CWS

4 Launched in 2005, the Chaco Program is a collaborative effort between CWS and five partner organizations. With support and coordination from CWS, these organizations decided to join forces to work together with the indigenous communities of the Chaco region to recover ancestral lands and promote ways of life that are culturally, economically and environmentally sustainable. Photo: Paul Jeffrey for CWS

5 These indigenous communities are hunter-gatherers who have lived in harmony with their ecosystem for thousands of years. They have a very elaborate system of natural medicine involving plants and herbs. Some make artisanry to sell, and to do that they need access to their raw materials, which means access to land. Photo: Paul Jeffrey for CWS

6 This five year old indigenous Guaraní girl has her arms filled with firewood that she gathered in the forest, which she is carrying across an enormous tomato plantation owned by outsiders that have moved into Guaraní territory.

7 The Chaco program builds capacity in indigenous groups from Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina with training, accompaniment and exchanges so communities may learn from each other. The program focuses on locally designed solutions to social, economic and community problems, empowerment of indigenous women, and building the capacity of indigenous organizations to negotiate more effectively with local and national governments. Photo: Paul Jeffrey for CWS

8 The Chaco region is located in NW Argentina, southern Paraguay and SE Bolivia. Numerous indigenous groups live there in extremely difficult conditions, including an extremely hot and dry climate. Drought is common and reservoirs often go dry. Regular rainfall levels are extremely low to begin with, and some areas have had only half of normal rainfall for over two years.

9 Each day, people in the Chaco walk hundreds of yards carrying water that they need to drink, cook, wash, and give to their animals. Women walk nearly a quarter of a mile to and from the Río Pilcomayo in Tarija, Bolivia. Photo: CERDET

10 With the donation from the First Christian Church of Montgomery Alabama in conjuction with core support from CROP walkers and CWS denominations, in early 2009, the Chaco program decided to construct three water tanks (two in Argentina and one in Bolivia) to bring water to several indigenous families and improve their quality of life. Daily life includes transporting water in buckets. Photo: CERDET

11 A group of six Wichi families in the Chaco province of Argentina to serve 35 people and their animals (50 goats, 30 pigs and 30 donkeys). The Guaraní community of Itaparara, comprising 21 families in Tarija, Bolivia, to provide water for consumption by the families, their animals, and for irrigation of fruit and vegetable gardens. La Wichi Lhaka Honhat community, made up of 15 families in Salta province, Argentina. This community needed to dig a new well to provide water to all of its members. The communities selected for the construction of tanks were: Photo: CERDET

12 The families decided on the best location for the wells and tanks using an ancient method of locating water. After the digging began, the water was tested (in one case by provincial authorities) and found to be clean and potable. Cesar Aguilar and engineer Jorge Bejarano C. (Bolivia) Photo: CERDET

13 Each tank holds approximately 1,300 gallons of water. Community members participated actively in the construction, contributing local materials such as bricks, and their labor. One community contributed the more than half a mile of pipe necessary to transport water from a local stream to their tank. Building a tank with community participation (Bolivia) Photo: CERDET

14 Daily consumption by adults and children: to cook, to cool their throats, to hydrate their parched bodies, to wash their clothes. They are now able to receive water through a tap and no longer have to carry it long distances from the river. Furthermore, the well water is cleaner than that of the river. Watering the new communal fruit and vegetable gardens that were planted by members of the Itaparara communitywhich in turn will improve their nutrition and provide fruit that can be traded for other products they need. Provide water for their animals, who until now had to be led to the river to drink. In the words of a member of a Wichi community in Argentina: We are really happy and we thank the people who helped us with this [source of water] that we so badly neededwhich is now close to our home. These new sources of water have met an urgent need for the families involved. They now have the water they need for:

15 ¡Gracias! Contributions from CROP Walkers, CWS denominations and the First Christian Church of Montgomery, Alabama made it possible for numerous indigenous families in South Americas Gran Chaco region to improve their quality of life. For this reason, we say:

16 CERDET (Bolivia): Center for Regional Studies in Tarija, a research and action group dedicated to the economic and political empowerment of indigenous families and organizations in the Bolivian Chaco region. JUM (Argentina): United Board of Missions, an ecumenical group dedicated to promoting respect for the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Chaco region. FUNDAPAZ (Argentina): Foundation for Development in Justice and Peace, a lay organization founded by Catholic activists dedicated to the development of poor rural communities in the Argentine Northwest. For more information, please contact: Martha Farmelo Program Officer for Communications and Resource Development, Church World Service Latin America and the Caribbean CWS would like to recognize three of our longstanding partners in the Chaco region for their participation in this project: October 2009


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