2024 | March Newswrap: Updates from Member Organizations Worldwide

March arrived with the strength, struggle, and organization of the women of La Via Campesina on this #8M24, “Feminist, peasant, and popular.” With a powerful call to action for International Working Women’s Day, the movement affirmed, “With conviction, we build food sovereignty and fight against crises and violence.” Also during this day of action, thousands of women from the fields, waters, forests, and cities mobilized around the world to demand rights and a dignified life.

Peasant and indigenous women, caregivers, and defenders are the ones who sustain the life of territories and communities. They are also the ones who feed the world, but at the same time, they are the ones who suffer the most from hunger and have the least autonomy to decide on what they produce. They are the first line of resistance to savage extractivism and play a key role in the face of the environmental and climate crisis, ensuring food sovereignty in their communities. We invite you to take a look at the main actions recorded and summarized in this padlet.

In memory of the six years “without Marielle Franco,” the actions of Women Without Land and La Via Campesina Brazil remembered this tragic event during the National Day, which mobilized more than 20 thousand women in 24 states of Brazil. Marielle Franco, a Brazilian political activist, fought for human rights and social justice. Her assassination in 2018 was due to political funding and influence in the military sphere, as stated by the Brazilian justice system this month.

From El Tarra, Norte de Santander, Colombia, at the International Forum “Women for the Peasant Reserve Areas and Peace in Catatumbo,” more than 400 women from Catatumbo gathered to give life to the Women’s Coordinating Committee of the Catatumbo Peasant Reserve Areas. The territory faces the presence of armed groups, illegal mining, and deforestation and is crucial for the protection of biodiversity, culture, and the rights of peasant communities.

In Paraguay, the National Peasant Federation, FNC, held the Thirtieth Edition of the Peasant, Indigenous, and Popular March in the streets of Asunción. Thousands of peasants mobilized in defense of the land and peasant production, against injustice, unemployment, gender violence, and the use of public institutions for political purposes. They called on the government to implement policies that improve living conditions in the countryside, improve production and irrigation systems, establish insurance against the effects of the climate crisis, and guarantee access to schools, hospitals, and jobs.

In Puerto Rico, our Boricuá Organization held a Virtual Forum for International Working Women’s Day. During this meeting, a dialogue was promoted with jíbaras peasant women, agrarian organizers, and land workers who are members of the Boricuá Organization from different regions of the country to exchange views on the path taken in agriculture, education, and organization.

In the Dominican Republic, the delegate of the Articulación Nacional Campesina and CLOC-Via Campesina from the Caribbean Region participated in a radio program to talk about the demands of women farmers. They demand access to land and incentives for agroecology to produce food without damaging the waters of rivers and lakes in island ecosystems, already threatened by climate change. During the interview, the demands for #8M24 and the challenges to achieve food sovereignty on the islands were discussed.

In Guatemala, during the commemoration of #8M24 in the Polochic Valley region, a call was made to urgently address the agrarian conflict and the criminalization of those who defend mother earth and territory. They also highlighted the government’s commitment to sign a document to address the agrarian conflict in the first 100 days of its term in office.

The Articulación de Mujeres de la CLOC-Via Campesina in Central America saluted the struggle of women at the regional level and particularly women living in rural areas. They also joined in the commemoration of International Working Women’s Day, calling for world peace and an end to the genocide against the Palestinian people that has claimed the lives of thousands of women.

More than 10,000 rural farmers participated in the commemoration of International Women’s Day organized by MVIWATA in 35 local networks across Tanzania. These events called for greater recognition of small-scale farmers, access to quality social services in rural areas, and an end to violence against women.

In Kenya, the women’s collective of the Kenya Farmers’ League, in all its groups, commemorated International Working Women’s Day by engaging in agricultural work and thus ensuring food sovereignty.

In Uganda, on 8 March, International Women’s Day, ESAFF Uganda women gathered in Jinja district to discuss key issues relevant to women’s economic empowerment. A strategic action of the meeting is the need to continue strengthening grassroots women’s movements. “We are oppressed and exploited because they know we have no access to information and therefore we cannot hold them accountable. We must change this,” declared the leader, Ikaali Zeridah.

The National Council for Concertation and Cooperation of Rural People in Senegal shared on #8M24 a video in tribute to the women who are part of their organization. These women, experts in various fields, play a significant role in the fight against poverty in Senegal, especially in rural areas.

In Congo, the women’s organization CNOP-CONGO participated in the 4th edition of the Cameroonian Peasant Seed Fair, the FOSPAC. The event, held in the city of Esse, highlighted the essential role of peasant seed systems for African agriculture.

In Mauritania, women from the Mauritanian Farmers’ Union participated in an 8-day training program, focusing on the development of income-generating projects, which concluded in the city of Kiffa. This training initiative is part of a larger agricultural project funded by the International Labour Organization, which aims to improve the economic and social conditions of farmers in rural areas in general, with a specific emphasis on women’s empowerment.

The Meeting of Women in Agriculture in Morocco on 8 March, organized by the FNSA, highlighted the need to put an end to all forms of discrimination and violence against women in this sector.

In the spirit of 8 March, the Articulación de Mujeres de La Via Campesina and the Arna region organized the webinar: “Palestinian women in resistance against genocide and hunger.” It brought the voices of women, with testimonies highlighting the urgent needs and challenges facing the women and children of Gaza in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. They denounced how Israel is perpetrating genocide against Palestinians, targeting civilians (disproportionately affecting women and children), residential buildings, hospitals, schools, places of worship, agricultural land, and all basic social infrastructure. They stated that Israel has imposed a total blockade on Gaza, preventing Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians from accessing food, water, electricity, and fuel. Farmers and fisherfolk have no access to their farmland and the sea, respectively.

In Austria, our organization ÖBV issued a statement highlighting that “feminism is no longer just about women. The diversity of gender identities, forms of desire, and gender roles is becoming more and more visible in the small farmers’ movement thanks to committed activists. We celebrate the diversity in our soils, waters, forests, and on our farms and territories. We celebrate the social and cultural diversity of our communities because it makes us strong and resilient. Diversity is at the heart of food sovereignty, everywhere!” they said.

On the occasion of International Working Women’s Day, the Spanish Coordination of Farmers’ and Livestock Farmers’ Organizations, COAG, and the Confederation of Rural Women, CERES, denounced that female-owned farms face greater difficulties in accessing agricultural subsidies. These organizations demanded a modification of the current Common Agricultural Policy, the CAP, and the Rural Development Plans (RDP) to truly integrate the gender perspective in their design. Under the current scheme, women farmers and livestock farmers are marginalized because of their smaller size and ineligible production.

In Pakistan, the Hari Jeddojehad Committee (HJC), a member organization of the Kissan Rabita Committee of Pakistan, organized a seminar to commemorate International Working Women’s Day in Alf Khan Khoso village of UC Masti Khan in Shikarpur district of Sindh Province. Rural women, including women farmers and agricultural workers from different villages of Masti Khan union council, actively participated in the seminar. They took the opportunity to express their daily challenges, shedding light on the plight of women farmers and peasants in the region.

In Nepal, on International Working Women’s Day, the Women Peasant’s Association of Nepal (WOPAN), a sister organization of the Nepal National Peasants’ Federation (ANPF), joined the demonstrations of rural women farmers affected by microfinance in Kathmandu. In solidarity with the farmers, WOPAN expressed its support for their demands. The protesting farmers demanded the removal of microfinance schemes, cancellation of their loans, removal of blacklists of defaulters, and release of their collateral.

In Indonesia, in the framework of 8 March, the SPI organized a webinar together with its allies. In this space, they talked about the importance of organizing resistance with solidarity and hope to build food sovereignty, where women farmers are the mothers of food sovereignty.

In the Philippines, PARAGOS-Pilipinas demanded that the municipal council of Rodriguez, Rizal declare and protect Barangay Macabud as a watershed area, crucial for agriculture and supplying 86 million liters of water daily to Manila. They opposed reclassifying the land for non-agricultural use, alleging that it would favor water corporations over peasants. They protested the proposed Charter Change (ChaCha), fearing it would benefit elites and investors. PARAGOS-PKKK-Sumalo peasant women participated in International Women’s Day protests against ChaCha. PARAGOS-PKKK-Katarungan held an online orientation on Peasant and Popular Feminism and UNDROP for peasant women leaders.

In Australia, the Australian Alliance for food sovereignty in the framework of 8 March, International Working Women’s Day, highlighted “we recognize all women, non-binary, and gender diverse people in their struggles for equality and denounced all forms of violence under patriarchy, capitalism, and colonialism.” Considering that 70% of the world’s food is produced by women, they thanked them for feeding them and affirmed that food sovereignty cannot be achieved until all are liberated from systems of oppression.

If there are any important updates that we have missed, please send the links to communications@viacampesina.org so that we can include them in the next edition. We only include updates from La Via Campesina members. For a comprehensive update on various initiatives from Janury 2024, please visit our website. You can also find the previous editions of our news wrap on our website. In addition, condensed versions of our newswrap are accessible as a podcast on Spotify.