Gender and Water Alliance

GWA contributes to quilt against climate change

Threading together the hopes and dreams, the Asian grassroots communities affected by climate change wished to blanket the earth not with greenhouse gas emissions but with the faith that another world is possible. (PACC)

From 28th September to 8th October, 2009, various Asian grassroots, peoples, and civil society organizations convened in Bangkok for a weeklong series of events called "People's Action on Climate Change" (PACC). This assembly presented the voices and faces of the people most affected by the serious effects of climate change-the grassroots sectors in Asia.

Presentation of the quilt with SC-member Meena Bilgi

GWA Steering Committee member Meena Bilgi at the presentation of the quilt

Among the PACC events was the making of the Asian Women's Quilt on Climate Change; a giant collaborative quilt having theme, “ Asian People’s call and responses to climate change” on the calls of Asian grassroots communities affected by climate change. Quilts are cultural symbols of unity, creativity and diversity. This collective quilt threaded testimonies and sew together stories of Asian grass-root communities which called for action on climate change and its impact. It hoped to contribute to the global efforts to craft strategies for the people’s engagements in the issue using traditional and new media; the handmade quilt was made globally accessible through a view based gallery.

For a press statement on the quilt click here

The PACC was organised as a parallel grassroots event to the 9th and 7th sessions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Ad Hoc Working Groups on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) comprising the final leg of meetings leading to the Conference of Parties 15 in Copenhagen, 2009.The project was spearheaded by the Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines (CEC-Phils), Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF) of Thailand, Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA) and the Asia-Pacific Forum on Women, Law, and Development (APLWD), with the support of the Artists Project Earth (APE).

The Swatch

The individual swatches from each organization measured 3 x 3 feet with 2 inches of margin. They used recycled, indigenous and environment friendly materials. On October 1, 2009, grassroots and women’s organizations from about 15 Asian countries convened in Sanam Luang, Bangkok to sew together their individual swatches into a giant quilt.

GWA Swatch

Gender and Water Alliance (GWA) Swatch; Technical Description

Embroidery with mirror work by women from Kutch; Neeruben, Shantiben, Dhuliben Stitching by ‘Ladies tailors”, Ahmedabad Overall concept/design idea; Ms. Meena Bilgi (Steering Committee member, GWA) and Mr. Praful Bilgi (Graphic Designer) The Swatch mentioned Gender and Water Alliance (GWA) Slogan;

Water is threatened by climate change; There is no water justice without gender justice.

The Swatch is made up of recycled Blue Khadi; the hand made cloth, about which Mahatma Gandhi, wrote; "Khadi is more of a thought than a cloth... it is a symbol of Swaraj (Self-Rule), a symbol of national emancipation." Gandhiji launched the Khadi Movement in India in the 1920s and wanted people to be aware of their own productive potential and have control over the economic structure. He mentions, “This would also give them a sense of self-worth”. Khadi delivers the poor from the bonds of the rich and creates a moral and spiritual bond between the classes and the masses. It restores to the poor somewhat of what the rich have taken from them.

Blue; a color of inspiration, sincerity and spirituality is also the color of water. Water is essence of life; Gender and Water Alliance (GWA) works extensively in gender mainstreaming in water management as reflected by its Logo appliquéd. Appliqué is widely used throughout the world as in many cultures it is common to decorate oneself and one’s surroundings. Folk embroidery has always been a form of self-expression for the women. It mirrors their lives, reflects their hidden desires and aspirations, and expresses the cultural traditions and religious beliefs of the society to which they belong. The women from Kutch - an arid wasteland rich with culture and craft, Gujarat, India used all colors from flags of the Asian countries to reflect ‘Solidarity’ among the Asian Countries especially women” They also used mirrors which are said to be a reflection of the soul. It is also said that mirrors cannot lie. They can show only the truth, and the truth is that the women from all Asian countries aspire for emancipation for themselves, for their families and for their countries. The artisans also stitched a margin of black recycled khadi. Black is a color of rebellion indicating that no matter whatsoever happens; the solidarity among Asian Countries will never be shattered. For some, black is also mysterious, providing a sense of potential and possibility.

Training of trainers

Realisatie door Four Digits op basis van Plone.