In the Oaxacan Mixteca region, Maribel and Graciela seek to raise awareness among children and adolescents about water conservation and alternative uses.
Maribel Sarabia Galicia and Graciela Cruz López do not know each other, live in different places, and have different jobs, but they share similarities: they are both experiencing the effects of water scarcity, and they are both influencing their communities to confront the prolonged drought in the Oaxacan Mixteca region.
Maribel is 36 years old and serves as a council member in Santiago Yolomécatl, where she promotes water conservation. This is crucial as the aquifers are the main source of water supply for her community, which has 1,922 residents, with 54% being women and 46% men, according to the 2020 Census by INEGI.
“We have an awareness campaign to ensure that the water provided by pumping is not wasted, and it is used only for essential purposes, such as bathing and household chores,” she explains.
On the other hand, Graciela decided to become a community water advocate to raise awareness among children and adolescents by showing them alternative ways to use water, given the long dry seasons in the community of Guadalupe Monteverde, in the municipality of San Antonino Monteverde.
“About ten years ago, water scarcity began, and more so now due to climate change. It doesn’t rain as it used to, and it’s hotter now; the temperature is higher. It wasn’t like this ten years ago,” she recounts.
The stories of Sarabia Galicia and Cruz López, along with eight other Mexican women, are part of the “Ellas Hablan Por El Agua” (They Speak for Water) campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the work of women who advocate for the responsible management, treatment, conservation, and regeneration of water resources in Mexico.
The campaign, led by the Avina Foundation in collaboration with non-governmental and private assistance organizations, highlights the experiences of these water defenders who, from their local environments, are committed to water care and sustainability.
Their testimonies illustrate how they promote practices for water and aquifer conservation through leadership and participation in decision-making processes.
Furthermore, each of these women shares their work and the challenges they face in water management and sustainability in the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Yucatán.
Most of these women are heads of households responsible for domestic and community water usage. They are the ones who daily cope with the lack of basic water supply. However, they still have limited roles in community management decision-making.
The stories of these water advocates included in the campaign are available on YouTube and can be found using the hashtag #EllasHablanPorElAgua.