A report has been released by the Water for Rojava Committee, detailing the findings from a visit to the region in October last year.
A number of members of the committee went on a delegation to North and East Syria, known as Rojava, including representatives from Siemenpuu (Finland), Solidarity Economy Association (UK) and Roots for Change (Switzerland).
The visit aimed to find out how the Water for Rojava funded projects are going, to identify future projects for support, to build further relationships and improve understanding the challenges and facing the region.
Water for Rojava is a co-operative fundraising effort led by the Solidarity Economy Association (SEA).
“SEA has been working on building solidarity and awareness about the Rojavan Revolution in northern Syria for some time,” said member Jo Taylor. “Since 2016 we’ve had the Co-operation in Mesopotamia project.”
Co-operation in Mesopotamia aims to build international solidarity between the UK and Rojava, by sharing information about the revolutionary social movement that is taking place there. Rojava has seen the start of the development of a democratic economy since the Rojava Revolution of 2012, with co-operative committees set up in every region.
Taylor explained that the Water for Rojava project came about following a survey they conducted around solar energy, which found that access to water was needed in order to support energy generation in the area.
Water for Rojava launched in 2020, and has raised over £150,000 so far through its crowdfunder.
A key part of the visit included visits to some of the projects that are receiving support through these funds such as co-operative farm project Jîyan, in Dêrik. Jîyan supports 11 villages, and plans to bring two more wells back into service in addition to the two it currently has working.
This site is slowly building capacity, with progress going well, said Taylor.
A project identified for funding during the trip is provisionally referred to as Ard, which means earth. “It doesn’t have a name yet because the women that participate in that project, they will name it,” said Taylor. “At the moment, they’re just creating the infrastructure for that project to grow. So it was really nice to be able to see that, and we decided while we were there, this fits all the criteria, let’s fund it.”
The delegation also met with water departments in Amude, Qamishlo Canton and Hasakah. A number of planned projects were discussed, including a plan to transport water between Amude and Hasakah that would cost around US$40m to implement.
The water departments also spoke about a need from the demilitarisation of the Alouk Water Station, suggesting that a neutral third party such as the Red Cross should take control of the water station.
The report describes the delegation’s visit to Rojava as a “huge success”, having been able to visit and learn about several of the projects it has supported so far, adding:
“We met with many water, economy and civil society organisations and learned about their work and future projects while also developing relationships and gaining a deeper understanding of the region as a whole – and especially the current historical moment and enormous challenges the people and the revolution are facing.”
The group will meet to plan their next steps following this visit, which could include further fundraising and supporting local campaigns to enable greater access to water in Rojava.
”For a crowdfunding project, £150,000 pounds sounds like a lot of money” said Taylor, “but as soon as you go there, it’s a tiny amount, because the amount of resources that’s needed is so huge.”
However, she added that the committee has built up a good record of raising money and trust in its networks, which is promising for future activity.
You can read the full report and donate to Water for Rojava here.