Solidarity Economy Association is fundraising for co-ops in Rojava

The funds raised will be used to develop infrastructure projects

A crowdfunding initiative aims to raise £100,000 for vital water infrastructure for co-ops in North-East Syria, a region also known as Rojava.

Led by the Solidarity Economy Association, the campaign was launched to support the democratic self-administration system in Rojava, which began in 2012 following the Rojava Revolution and the imposition of a blockade on the region.

A Union of Cooperative Societies was established, with co-operative committees set up in every region of Northern Syria. The movement is based on the idea that the revolution must include women’s liberation. Therefore, women play a key role in the social economy movement and the democratic governance structures. They make up 40% of any committee or council and every co-operative structure of government also needs to be led by two co-chairs, one male and one female. 

The crowdfunding initiative is a response to a report by Human Rights Watch, which claimed that Turkish authorities have been periodically cutting off the water supply to Northeast Syria, most of which is being supplied through the Alok water station in the Turkish-occupied town of Ras al-Ain.

With Covid-19 striking, the lack of adequate water supplies for Kurdish-held areas in Northeast Syria is impacting the ability of humanitarian agencies to protect vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic, says Human Rights Watch. The NGO is calling on the Syrian government, Kurdish-led authorities, UN aid agencies, and Turkey to work together to ensure that water and electricity are supplied to the civilian population. Similar concerns have been raised by the International Rescue Committee.

The funding will be spent repairing infrastructure damaged by bombings, digging wells and building water pumps for refugee camps, and backing co-operative farm irrigation systems and river cleaning initiatives. These initiatives will also support the local women’s co-operatives and democratic local municipalities, says the Solidarity Economy Association.

For every £1 donated a UK private foundation will donate another £1, meaning that the crowdfunder only needs to raise £50,000 to reach its £100k target. More than £34,000 has been raised so far.