North-East Syria: Water for Rojava Fundraising campaign
We are happy to announce that we have raised over £105,000 (>110’000 Euro) for vital water projects and women’s co-operatives in North-East Syria! Thank you all for your amazing support and generosity. You can still donate to #Water4Rojava via Paypal: www.solidarityeconomy.coop/donate or by directly donating to roots for change (designation: W4R).
The fund will help women’s co-operatives and democratic local municipalities in North-East Syria (NES) with projects like repairing infrastructure damaged by bombings, digging wells and building water pumps for refugee camps, as well as funding long-term projects like co-operative farm irrigation systems and river cleaning initiatives.
The region of North-East Syria, once one of the most fertile places on our planet, has faced many problems concerning water in recent years. The extended digging of wells mainly for the industrial monoculture agriculture, which was part of the agricultural politics of the Syrian regime over the last four decades, has let to a massive decrease of the ground water table. Extended deforestation has let to a reduction of ecosystem resilience and to a decreased water holding capacity of the soils. A decline in rainfall as a result of the global climate crisis is increasing the risk for droughts. But also the unstable geo-politic situation of the area brings many water related problems.
Since 2015, Turkey has been repeatedly blocking the flow of water from the Euphrates river into Kurdish-held areas in North-East Syria by massive dam projects in Turkey.
Furthermore, the Alouk water station in Serekaniye has been a target during the last military campaign of Turkey in North-East Syria. Since then it has been fixed and then put out of service again repeatedly.
Hundreds of thousands of people are currently without reliable drinking water supply. Also the public electricity provision is under threat due to limited water volume for the Rojava Dam in Tabqa.
Especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to water is more vital than ever.
Av jîyan e – Water is life!
The use of the fund
Funds raised will provide grants to local co-operatives, civil society organizations and democratic local municipalities, supporting both acute needs like water pumps for refugee camps where internally displaced people (IDPs) are living, as well as long term projects like co-operative farm irrigation systems and river cleaning initiatives. We want to create a fund that can respond to changing situations in a region that is extremely volatile, while still remaining highly accountable.
The fund will be managed by two committees, one based in Europe, the other based in North-East Syria. All projects that receive funds will be fully documented, with activities and expenditures tracked.
Several pre-identified projects are ready to roll.
Supporting Aborîya Jin women’s co-operative projects:
- Support for Aborîya Jin’s ecological women’s village project in Derik – a village based on the communal economy, run by women (predominantly economically-disadvantaged women, who have experience in agriculture). The main challenge is to find enough water to support agriculture.
- Well drilling and water-pumping projects for projects being developed by Aborîya Jin; irrigation projects for newly formed co-operative farms, and small women’s co-operatives where access to water is a necessity, such as those based on agriculture.
Support for NES local Directorates of Water plans, which include:
- Restoring the Al Hemmeh water station, which has pumping capacity to re-fill Al Hemmeh reservoir (near Hasakeh) from the Khabour river. This is now urgent due to the bombing of Alouk water station in Serekaniye.
- Extending the water network to the Talae neighbourhood (in Hasakeh), where existing water tanks are not enough to meet the needs of the people;
- Sewage systems and solid waste management in urban areas (like Qamishlo city, where the sewage gets into the river);
- Water treatment consumables, rehabilitation/restoration, operation and maintenance of drinking water supply in urban areas;
- Management of public fountains;
- Water distillation / desalination;
- Cleaning and purification of Jak Jak (Cax Cax in Kurdish) river in Qamishlo.
Supporting the Emergency response for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and the hosting communities (in camps and outside):
- Distribution of hygiene kits, water disinfection tablets, emergency water trucking, jerry cans, emergency sanitation facilities in IDP camps and informal sites, in host communities and collective centers;
- The acquisition and installation of high-volume water pumps to deliver water from the Euphrates to isolated IDP camps;
- Latrine repair and maintenance in camps;
- Sustainable water supply systems for camps (such as Al Hole).
The project is a collaboration of the Solidarity Economy Association (UK), Aborîya Jin (Women’s Economy) in North-East Syria, the not-for-profit NGO Un Ponte Per (Italy), UK-registered charity Heyva Sor a Kurdistanê (Kurdish Red Crescent) and Roots for Change.
We are thankful for the generous donations and motivated to start implementing the first projects based on the fund soon.