Participatory workshop for indigenous women on their roles and responsibilities related to water

These women -- members of the Ndebele tribe in South Africa -- are preparing food for a feast given to celebrate their sons' initiation ceremonies. 1984.

In many places around the world women are responsible for water collection, a responsibility that globally takes them 200 million hours annually. It often leaves them with little to no time for school, work or to spend time with their family. Furthermore, indigenous communities' cultural heritage and knowledge about natural resources, including water, urgently needs to be considered and protected.

In several Indigenous communities, water has a cultural or spiritual dimension apart from its role as an everyday necessity and live saving capacity. Women also often have responsibilities to protect and nurture water.

This participatory workshop aims at making women's voices heard, collecting the user needs of indigenous communities in terms of water resources management and the protection of the water cycle towards the space sector. The working language of the workshop will be English. Participatory design thinking methods and rapid prototyping will be used to ease communication and knowledge exchange between indigenous women, the workshop hosts and supportive community activists. Such rapid prototyping techniques have proven to be successful in eliciting implicit knowledge and manifesting in the prototype. This can aid to overcome potential language barriers.
To re-empower and support Indigenous women in their role as water stewards, as well as to learn from them and include them into the water management and conservation dialogue UNOOSA invites them to this participatory workshop to address challenges.

In the follow up of the actual event, indigenous women's challenges and user needs will be brought to international fora as well as to the first Space4Water stakeholder meeting to communicate their knowledge, concern and needs in order to matchmake them with existing (partial) solutions or initiate the development of novel approaches for addressing the identified issues. Aiming at the development of culturally appropriate and inclusive Earth observation applications for Indigenous communities and women, UNOOSA will work towards solutions that combe Earth observations and Indigenous knowledge. This approach is promising to lead to new perspectives for preserving our environment.
It is an asset to develop solutions with an ongoing exchange with community members and by making them part of the solution wherever possible. Inspiring examples of community support by women can be found in this article.

Objectives

The workshop's objectives include:

  • The active exchange on the ways indigenous communities relate to water;
  • The identification of user needs of the participating Indigenous persons and their communities;
  • To bring those identified user needs to the stakeholders of the Space4Water Portal and derive from that requirements for the space sector to develop solutions by which Indigenous communities can be supported; and
  • Capacity building for indigenous women, to foster their imagination of what can be done technologically, by using space-based solutions.

Dates and location

The workshop will tentatively take place on 26 October 2022 at the Vienna International Centre.

Registration

To be considered for participation and potentially funding, register here here until 21 August.

Financial support

Within the financial resources available, a limited number of selected participants will be offered financial support to attend the participatory workshop but also all other sessions within the UN/Ghana International Conference on the Use of Space Technologies for Water Resource Management. This financial support will defray the cost of travel (a round trip air-ticket - most economic fare - between the airport of international departure in their home country and Accra) and/or the room and board expenses for the duration of the Conference.

Financial support from the United Nations will only be considered for individuals selected as active workshop contributors who are presently living in a developing country. For the list of developing countries, please refer to the annex of the "World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020" report, available here.
Participants will be selected, depending on their place of origin, their language skill and role in their society related to water. Successful applicants will be notified of the outcome within two weeks after the deadline to apply for financial support. Participants who don't speak English can bring someone to translate to English at their own expense.

Further information

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to unoosa-events[at]un.org.

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