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EWN members stand in solidarity with water and land defenders

Berta Caceres was a well-known land rights defender who led a battle against a large dam on ancestral lands in Honduras. She was shot to death at her home in 2016. Recently the former president of the internationally financed dam company was found guilty over the assassination. Members of the WCC-Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) are worried that violence against activists who are taking a stand against the overexploitation of natural resources, like land and water, is on the rise. Unlike the murder of Berta Caceres, most attacks and killings go unpunished.

In Argentina, “Serving a Wounded World” is a hopeful call to collaborate

Prof. Dr h.c. Humberto Martin Shikiya, vice president of the Regional Ecumenical Advisory and Service Center (CREAS) In Argentina, reflects on how Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity: A Christian Call to Reflection and Action During COVID-19 and Beyond” is being received as a hopeful call to collaborate ecumenically and interreligiously. The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue jointly published Serving a Wounded World” to encourage churches and Christian organizations to reflect on the importance of interreligious solidarity in a world wounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brazilian ecumenical water network launched

An online event held on 22 July marked the launch of the Ecumenical Water Network Brazil, an initiative that intends to articulate several ecumenical organizations and interfaith voices with the purpose of raising awareness about the life cycle of water.

Pulling together for a living River Pardo

Areas around the River Pardo in northeastern Brazil are home to more than one million people. Included in them are traditional communities such as the quilombolas (descendants of runaway African slaves), the geraizeiros and others. Each year they see less water in their river. “This is not solely due to the reduction in rainfall. 

Brazilian city joins “water diagram” initiative headed by Swiss Church Aid

The Brazilian municipality of Juiz de Fora has approved a cooperation agreement with Swiss Church Aid (HEKS/EPER), a member of the WCCs Ecumenical Water Network (WCC-EWN), thus becoming part of an international working group that wants to contribute to good water management and management practices using a water flow diagram. The project also encompasses the city of Bern, Switzerland; Cape Town, in South Africa, and Rio Pardo de Minas, in Brazil.

Hoping against hope

The same week Brazil reached half a million deaths by COVID-19, my parents got the first dose of the vaccine. On my way to work, I pass through a vaccination post full of people, and through a cemetery full of grief. The past year and few months were a mix of fear, indignation and anger for me. But also a time where I saw generosity and hope bloom.

Indigenous peoples and the pandemic in the land of inequalities

476 million indigenous people live around the world, of which 11.5% live in our Latin American region. In these years that we are going from the COVID 19 pandemic in our territories (indigenous or tribal at the Latin American level), the presence of many extractive companies, mainly uranium and lithium, has increased, land traffickers and among other monoculture companies with fires for the cultivation of oil palm, logging, putting vulnerable peoples at greater risk than what is already experienced.

An exercise in hoping

I’m writing this text exactly one year after Brazil declared quarantine, on 16 March. Last year we went into quarantine thinking it would only be two weeks at home, and maybe a few months of wearing masks and sanitizing our hands. I’m the first to confess that I’ve underestimated the virus. However, we all know that is not how it went. Month after month went by - the internet joked about how could it possibly be August already, when last week was March?

Vaccination hesitance poses yet another challenge

As vaccination programmes are being rolled out in more and more countries, there is hope for an end of a pandemic which has brought fear and anxiety around the globe since early 2020. A return to an everyday life, where people can socialize with family and friends, go to work as they used to and worship God together in church on Sundays, is eagerly awaited.