Supporters & Testimonials

Photo: A woman tends her riverbank garden by the Mekong River. Courtesy of Pai Deetes, International Rivers.

The Women and Rivers Congress 2019 was organized by International Rivers and hosted by the Nepal Water Conservation Foundation:

With generous support from the following:

Testimonials from Women and Rivers Congress 2019 supporters help to illustrate the urgent necessity to strengthen a movement for women in water management and governance, and help further detail the goals and themes of the Congress:

"Over the past 15 years, Oxfam has worked on the fair sharing of natural resources and benefits in the Mekong, Salween, and more recent years in the Brahmaputra and Megna river basins, where millions of people have limited and insecure access to water and are exposed to water-induced natural hazards such as droughts and floods. We work with riverine communities, civil society organisations, governments, academics, development and private sectors, youth and indigenous groups with a special focus on gender, food security and livelihood of community. Oxfam sees our role in facilitating communities to understand their rights to natural resources, and linking them to wider civil society and networks at national-regional level in their efforts to protect their water and fisher resources. We consider gender equity and women’s participation and leadership a central consideration in decisions related to water and natural resources and have been promoting women championship, developing tools (such as Gender Impact Assessment) and transboundary early warning systems that incorporated the gender and community needs. Furthermore, we facilitate knowledge sharing by bringing communities and partners together within and across so their collective voices are heard. We are excited to be part of the Women and River Congress to bring actors together to celebrate success, foster collaboration, find solutions and most importantly catalyze the integration of women’s leadership in water resources policy, management and decision making."

"Over the past decade, the Conservation and Sustainable Development program at MacArthur Foundation has focused on freshwater conservation and the services it provides. We have supported freshwater ecosystems in the tropical Andes of South America, the Great Lakes region of East and Central Africa, and the greater Mekong basin in Southeast Asia. In each of these places, we observe the incredible importance of rivers in environmental and social systems. Moreover, we are excited to participate in a gathering that specifically acknowledges and commends women for their invaluable, and often under recognized, service to protecting our freshwater resources."

Climate justice means that those who did the least to cause climate change, yet bear its biggest burden, should have a voice in addressing the problem. For instance, such communities have the will and the capacity to transform dominant models for food and energy production and distribution – key drivers of climate change – into sustainable ones through a just transition. However, to do so, they need their land and water rights recognized and guaranteed. AJWS supports their local struggles for these rights, as well as their campaigns to bring transformative solutions to regional and global arenas.

Free-flowing rivers are key to ensuring the right to water as well as addressing climate change. And the role of women climate justice activists and environmental rights defenders are vital to protecting our rivers and freshwater systems. AJWS enables this by supporting community organizing, popular education, and awareness building for water and land rights movements and community-based organizations; building their understanding of the root causes of the challenges they face to enhance their effectiveness in promoting their rights and climate justice. AJWS believes that this is best achieved by supporting diversity, internal democracy, and gender equity across these movements; supporting the participation, leadership and agendas of women, youth, and other historically marginalized communities like Indigenous Peoples and oppressed castes. And to do this AJWS supports learning exchanges and other network- and alliance-building initiatives such as the Women and Rivers Congress to help foster larger-scale, coordinated action in support of land and water rights and climate justice; reaching across diverse social movement sectors such as small farmers, fishers, herders, foresters, Indigenous Peoples, women, and laborers.

"The Government of Sweden believes that improvements in regional cooperation and sustainable use of transboundary natural resources is critical for development. Our focus is on human rights, democracy and equality - and we recognise the importance of strengthening Women's rights. We believe that through dialogue and regional cooperation - such as on transboundary rivers - we can collectively address pressing environmental and climate problems and reduce the risks associated with these changes. We support the Women and Rivers Congress as an important opportunity to advance some of these aims."

"The Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) brings together the Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres (FCAM), Both ENDS and Mama Cash and partners in more than 30 countries across Latin America, Africa and Asia. GAGGA sets out to catalyse the collective power of the women’s rights and environmental justice movements towards realising a world in which women can and do exercise their rights to water, food sovereignty, and a clean, healthy, and safe environment.

Since 2016, we have been working together with Women´s Funds, Environmental Justice Funds, NGOs and Grassroots Groups to support women’s agency and meaningful participation in relevant decision making processes at the local, national and international levels. The focus of this work ranges from ecosystem restoration, climate action and securing women’s land rights, to resistance against mining, monoculture plantations and large-scale infrastructure as well as the security and protection of women environmental human rights defenders. Various GAGGA partners also engage in participatory approaches to water management or lead difficult struggles for protecting their rivers and their right to water against powerful actors.

For GAGGA, It is wonderful to support and be part of this conference, which is bringing together strong women from all over the world who play a vital role in managing water resources and mobilising efforts to claim or preserve access to water for themselves, their families, and broader communities. Women are experts in analysing the contexts and problems they face, as well as coming up with viable and sustainable alternatives. Yet, they are so often ignored and marginalised in decision-making processes. Meanwhile, many women-led grassroots groups that support women’s rights and advocacy are being bypassed by the growing funding streams available for work on environmental sustainability, disaster mitigation, and climate change. We hope this conference helps to further support women leaders, share and build solidarity and ensure women’s role and strength in resources governance and the fight for environmental justice, and that this be recognized by media, politicians, decision-makers and funders alike.

For more information on GAGGA, please visit"

"Arcadia protects threatened biodiversity and landscapes across the world. We have given $216m to environmental causes since 2002. We are pleased to help International Rivers to identify and address threats to river ecosystems and to find solutions for freshwater biodiversity conservation worldwide. We are pleased to see this congress taking place. It will draw on a diverse group of attendees to explore how to raise the profile of women’s issues and rights whilst also contributing to the conservation of river ecosystems."

"Australia salutes all the participants at the Women and Rivers Congress, and special congratulations to the Nepal Water Conservation Foundation hosts, and International Rivers organisers. Australia is still grappling with our own many river challenges. But, we are also pleased to be partnering with organisations committed to supporting the rivers of Asia and beyond. Our development cooperation programs include activities in the many rivers within the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Ayeyarwady, Salween, Chao Phraya, Mekong and Red River Basins. We intend for our partnerships , without exception, to contribute to building respect, gender equality and social inclusion and providing more equitable access to decision making fora regarding shared resources. Your Congress is a long overdue acknowledgement of the mighty efforts by women across the world to provide a better life for all, and as a part of that, how to steward and use rivers wisely. We wish you every success."