Water for Rojava

Water for Rojava

We did it
On 16th June 2020 we successfully raised £105,542 ( + est. £2196.75 Gift Aid ) with 1128 supporters in 30 days

Help us raise £100,000 to support women's co-operatives and vital water projects in North-East Syria. Water is not a weapon, water is life!

We did it! We've raised over £105,000 for vital water projects and women’s co-operatives in North-East Syria! Thank you all for your amazing support and generosity.

We lost ~40 hours of the campaign due to tech issues *BUT* you can still donate to #Water4Rojava via Paypal: www.solidarityeconomy.coop/donate 

We will try our very best to honour all requests for rewards made with these donations if you email water@mesopotamia.coop with your choice before evening of Sunday, 21 June.

Water is not a weapon, water is life!

In the region of North-East Syria, also known by its Kurdish name Rojava, a democratic self-administration system has been built up since 2012 – a system based on grass roots democracy, ecology and women‘s freedom, in which all the different ethnic and religious communities can live together on their own terms, through autonomy, self-determination, and equality.

The system is based on neighbourhood assemblies and councils, with principles of ecology and gender liberation at its heart, and values of ethnic and religious pluralism throughout. Women are at the front and centre of this movement.

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But now, Rojava faces some big threats: War, embargo, water shortage

When the revolution in Rojava began, the groundwater level was very low due mainly to industrial monoculture agriculture organised by the Syrian regime over the last four decades, as well as a decline in rainfall as a result of the global climate crisis.

In 2015, Turkey started to use water as a weapon against Rojava by holding back the water on the rivers which flow from Turkey to Syria through the dams it has been building over the last twenty years.

1589592055_areas_in_yellow_are_aanes._areas_in_blue_controlled_by_turkey._areas_in_red_under_control_of_regime_&_russia.jpgThen, in October 2019, Turkish state forces invaded some areas of North-East Syria, including the region of Serekaniye, which supplies water to almost half a million people in the region around Hasakah. The Alouk water station in Serekaniye was targeted on the first day of the invasion. Since then it has been fixed and then put out of service again repeatedly.

1589592313_the_water_supply_system_was_destroyed_by_a_turkish_attack_in_til_temir_on_3_april.jpgSince the start of the invasion of Serekaniye, Turkish military forces and their allies have continued to attack water infrastructure, burned newly planted orchards and dammed the rivers providing most of the fresh water and electricity to Syria. Hundreds of thousands of people are currently without safe reliable drinking water.

This situation is greatly exacerbated by the threat of Covid-19. In the time of a pandemic, access to water is more vital than ever.

“In the midst of a global pandemic that is overloading sophisticated governance and infrastructure systems, Turkish authorities have been cutting off the water supply to regions most under strain in Syria,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The Turkish authorities should do everything they can to immediately resume supply to these communities.”

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Now, the people in Rojava need your help. We want to raise £100,000 for vital water infrastructure in North-East Syria.

A small private foundation in the UK that has previously supported projects in the region has agreed to a match-funding offer to kick-start the project. It will donate £1 for every £1 of the first £50k raised. This means we only need to raise £50,000 to reach the £100k target!

The fund will help women’s co-operatives and democratic local municipalities in Rojava 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.
Despite the ongoing war, people in Rojava are still living cooperatively, rebuilding their lives, their ecology and their economy.

You can help support these efforts. Please let other people know about this campaign and donate what you can. 

Water is not a weapon. Av jîyan e – Water is life!

Who are we?

The Solidarity Economy Association are working together with Aborîya Jin (Women’s Economy) in North-East Syria, not-for-profit NGO Un Ponte Per (Italy), UK-registered charity Heyva Sor a Kurdistanê (Kurdish Red Crescent), Roots for Change (Switzerland), and the Save the Tigris Campaign.

1589593928_humming-tranparency-centred-sq.jpgThe Solidarity Economy Association (SEA) have been partnering with primarily autonomous women’s economic structures in the region for some time. When Turkey began its new invasion of NES on 9 October, a renewable energy engineer was in the region working with SEA and Aborîya Jin to identify projects relating to renewable energy. A common thread running through nearly all the projects identified was water. Where energy was needed, it was often in order to reach water in the wells since the water table is dropping, to make new wells for new community projects, or to irrigate land, in addition to smaller amounts of electricity for households.

1589625700_aj.jpegAborîya Jin (AJ, Women’s Economy) are a democratic autonomous economic body that is part of the women’s movement in NES. Active right across the region and made up entirely of women, their role is to strengthen the role of women in society by building up the women’s economy, empowering women to become self-reliant, and developing confidence and collective autonomy. They are the main women’s co-operative development body in the region and are also supporting the foundation of communities of families who have lost their main breadwinner in the war.

1589593858_logounponteper.jpgUn Ponte Per (UPP) have been active in Italy and the Middle East for 28 years to promote peace, human rights and solidarity through information campaigns, cultural exchange, cooperation projects, peace building programmes and the creation of social justice networks.

1589618219_1589618219020.pngHeyva Sor UK (Kurdish Red Moon/Crescent) are the UK branch of humanitarian non-profit organisation Kurdish Red Crescent, providing medical care and aid for refugees in Kurdistan, NES and beyond. They are a registered charity in the UK.

1589621705_rfc.pngRoots for Change (RfC) are a non-profit environmental organization based in Switzerland, North-East Syria and Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Their mission is to promote the use of renewable energy, water conservation systems and sustainable agricultural practices, such as Agroforestry.

1589618048_1589618048405.pngSave the Tigris are a campaign coalition supporting civil society movements working on dams, pollution and water management, including those for water rights in Iraq and in North-East Syria. The campaign has a network of water activists across the region and includes UPP.

How will the money be spent?

Funds raised will provide grants to local co-operatives, civil society organisations 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 (NES). All projects that receive funds will be fully documented, with activities and expenditures tracked.

Several pre-identified projects are ready to roll. So once we have transferred the funds to the region, it shouldn't take long for your donations to be put to work. 

For example...

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 Allok 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, jerrycans, emergency sanitation facilities in IDP camps and informal sites, in host communities and collective centres;
  • 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).

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Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

Our heartfelt thanks

No matter how small, every donation helps build support for the people of Rojava.

£12 or more

58 of 100 claimed

Latest edition of New Internationalist magazine

Upcoming July/August 2020 issue of New Internationalist – 'Betrayed again: Why we must back the Kurds'.

£20 or more

76 of 144 claimed

A 'Water for Rojava' mug

A limited edition mug with the campaign logo, beautifully designed for us by the Autonomous Design Group www.weareadg.org

£20 or more

72 of 100 claimed

Women's Revolution poster A3

A beautiful Risograph poster designed by Autonomous Design Group, and printed by Footprint Workers Co-operative especially for the campaign - "For women's liberation, a cooperative economy, direct democracy and social ecology". Includes postage.

£25 or more

12 of 200 claimed

MRGA book - Kurdish

The book of the campaign Make Rojava Green Again in Kurdish. Includes shipping.

£25 or more

36 of 200 claimed

MRGA book - English

The book of the campaign Make Rojava Green Again in English language. Includes shipping.

£25 or more

6 of 200 claimed

MRGA book - German

The book of the campaign Make Rojava Green Again in German language. Includes shipping.

£25 or more

4 of 5 claimed

Box set of STIR Magazines

Box set of themed STIR Magazines (UK Only) - the magazine for the new economy - kindly donated by www.stirtoaction.com

£30 or more

4 of 10 claimed

Pre-release of Derek Wall's new book

Derek Wall has kindly donated some pre-release copies of his upcoming Climate Strike book, due to be released on 4 July, 2020.

£30 or more

9 of 10 claimed

Print subscriptions to STIR Magazine

One year print subscriptions to STIR Magazine (UK Only) - the magazine for the new economy - kindly donated by www.stirtoaction.com

£30 or more

6 of 10 claimed

Signed copies of Chav Solidarity

A signed copy of the book 'Chav Solidarity' by DP Hunter, in internationalist solidarity with the working class everywhere. Includes shipping. Donated by DP Hunter and www.theclassworkproject.com

£30 or more

12 of 50 claimed

Make Rojava Green Again flag

A flag with the logo of the Make Rojava Green Again campaign. Size: 98x160cm. Includes shipping. Donated by www.makerojavagreenagain.org

£35 or more

1 of 2 claimed

Print subscriptions to Lumpen Journal

One year print subscriptions to Lumpen - a Journal of Poor and Working Class writing - kindly donated by www.theclassworkproject.com

£45 or more

33 of 40 claimed

Make Rojava Green Again T-Shirt

A t-shirt from the Make Rojava Green Again campaign (choice of colour, size and style). As seen here: https://black-mosquito.org/en/make-rojava-green-again-verschiedene-farben-tailliertes-shirt.html

£50 or more

2 of 12 claimed

Radical Routes Co-op Merch Bundle

Radical Routes have put together a bunch of great co-operative merchandise for the campaign, including ‘How to set up a workers co-op’ and ‘How to set up a housing co-op’ books, a co-operative values and principles tea-towel, an A3 ‘Use your local co-op’ poster PLUS a Water for Rojava campaign poster and mug! *UK shipping ONLY* Donated by www.radicalroutes.org.uk

£120 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Beer! (+films!)

5L bag of beer delivered every 2 months (x4). This reward can only be delivered within 15 miles of Belper (South Derbyshire, England), possibly to Nottingham, Birmingham, Leeds, or otherwise by collection. lovingly brewed and donated by Bartleby’s Brewery Workers’ Coop www.bartlebysbrewery.com

£120 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Beer! (+films!)

A 20L box of beer, lovingly brewed and donated by Bartleby’s Brewery Workers’ Coop www.bartlebysbrewery.com. This reward can only be delivered within 15 miles of Belper (South Derbyshire, England), possibly to Nottingham, Birmingham, Leeds, or otherwise by collection.

£150 or more

2 of 5 claimed

An evening with Debbie Bookchin (+films!)

Debbie will read from unpublished work by her father Murray Bookchin, whose ideas have in part helped shape the Rojava Revolution, and will speak about her own work as an author and journalist, her time in Rojava, and how ideas of social ecology and radical municipalism can help transform our world. This is a one-off exclusive and unrecorded intimate online gathering with time for discussion. 5 participants only. Sat 27 June, 5-6pm London time.

£200 or more

2 of 3 claimed

A pair of London Kurdish Film Festival passes

The London Kurdish Film Festival (LKFF) are supporting the campaign with three PAIRS of passes, giving full access to all films (except the Gala Film) at the next London Kurdish Film Festival *PLUS* the digital Pack of Kurdish Cinema & Music. Films galore! LKFF had to postpone the 11th edition of the festival due to covid19, but it will take place as soon as possible. New dates to be announced on www.lkff.co.uk

£200 or more

0 of 4 claimed

Original artwork by Janet Biehl (+films!)

Janet Biehl has generously donated more pieces of her original artwork in support of the campaign after the first two were snapped up. Each piece is a completely unique ink and watercolour portrait inspired by Kurdish people dancing, and each is signed by Janet. This reward includes international shipping *PLUS* the digital Pack of Kurdish Cinema and Music.

£600 or more

1 of 2 claimed

Joey Lawrence Photo Print (+films!)

A unique print by world-renowned photographer Joey Lawrence of a Kurdish woman baking bread in the Makhmour Refugee Camp. This photo, originally included in his book “We Came from Fire”, will be printed and signed by Lawrence specifically for the Water for Rojava campaign in a limited edition poster print size of approximately 17x22 inches on archival fine art paper. It will be mailed from New York after Coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

£20 or more

25 of 25 claimed

Digital subscriptions to STIR Magazine

One year digital subscriptions to STIR Magazine - the magazine for the new economy - kindly donated by www.stirtoaction.com

£25 or more

25 of 25 claimed

Co-operative tea towels

10 Reasons Co-ops Rock Organic Tea Towels. Originally designed by Molly McLead to promote the board game Co-opoly, these rad tea-towels have been donated by Unicorn Grocery Co-operative in Manchester. Includes shipping.

£25 or more

5 of 5 claimed

Digital subscriptions to Lumpen Journal

One year digital subscriptions to Lumpen - a Journal of Poor and Working Class writing. Not usually available to buy as a digital subscription, this is a special offer for the campaign, kindly donated by www.theclassworkproject.com

£100 or more

30 of 30 claimed

Digital Pack of Kurdish Cinema and Music

Five full length Kurdish films, plus four short films - one from each part of Kurdistan - plus a collection of traditional Kurdish music. Full length films included in this package: 1) I am the Revolution 2) Berxweden Jiyane 3) Memories of Stone 4) Comander Arian 5) The Press

£150 or more

20 of 20 claimed

Traditional floral scarf from Kurdistan (+films!)

Traditional floral scarf from Kurdistan, kindly donated by the New York Kurdish Film and Cultural Festival (www.nykfcf.com). Choose from dark blue, burgundy, or black, all with tassel. Includes international shipping *PLUS* this reward comes in addition to the digital Pack of Kurdish Cinema & Music!

£300 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Original artwork by Janet Biehl

Janet Biehl has kindly donated two pieces of her original signed artwork. They are in ink and watercolour portraits inspired by Kurdish women dancing at the New Year festival Newroz. Includes international shipping *PLUS* the digital Pack of Kurdish Cinema and Music.

£500 or more

1 of 1 claimed

A pair of tickets to the STIR to Action festival

A pair of tickets to the STIR to Action festival: 'Playground for the New Economy', set to take place in Frome (UK) from 1-3 September 2020. Join us for three days of inspiring conversations, interactive workshops, idea surgeries, virtual reality experiences, live podcasts, sustainable food, craft beer, wild swimming, and live music *PLUS* the digital Pack of Kurdish Cinema and Music.

£500 or more

1 of 1 claimed

A signed script of Maxine Peake’s 'Only Mountains'

A signed script of Maxine Peake's powerful radio drama ‘Only Mountains’ (www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000g67x). The script will be signed by Maxine Peake, placed in a hard back binder and offered as a one-off exclusive reward in support of the campaign. This reward comes with the #Water4Rojava mug, women’s revolution poster AND the digital pack of Kurdish cinema and music!

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