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argentina: attracting attention to water with art, music and stories

Today, one in six people lack access to safe, affordable water, and two in five lack access to adequate sanitation. The United Nations expects these numbers to rise. But in Argentina, as in many other countries, there is still very little information available about the importance of using water sustainably and democratically. There is also a lack of emphasis on the use of public spaces as places where people can enjoy themselves and meet their families, friends and others.

argentina: attracting attention to water with art, music and stories

what happened?

Federación Amigos de la Tierra Argentina / Friends of the Earth Argentina is collaborating with other organizations around the word who have formed a new and vibrant international movement challenging the corporate control of this precious resource, and defending water as a public good and an inalienable right.

 

Blue October is an international month of action dedicated to protecting water as a shared natural resource available to all. As part of Blue October 2008, FoE Argentina organized an event entitled AGUARTE – Art for Water, which aimed to focus on water and public spaces in an entertaining and interesting way. On four Sundays in October and November, multiple coordinated art activities took place in different locations along the main circuit of Buenos Aires ecological reserve ‘Costanera Sur’.

 

Visitors to the park on those days were able to enjoy ten different activities, all of which had been designed to convey messages about healthy natural water and some of the problems associated with its management. Professional artists gave performances using stilts and juggling, magic and mime, violins and flutes, murals, cartoons, stories and more, and all the activities were carefully sequenced to allow visitors arriving at different times to enjoy them all. Extra information was available in many different forms too – oral, written and illustrated.

 

what changed?

Visitors to the park enjoyed finding out about people’s right to water in a novel way. They came away from AGUARTE inspired and informed about the use of and access to water, water quality, community management, and the sale of water. They also found out about the social, ecological, political and economic dimensions of water use. This project in Argentina is another example of activities coordinated within the Blue October campaign by FoE member groups in Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, Malta, Denmark, Finland, France, UK, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Nigeria, and FoE affiliate groups like the Council of Canadians and the Corporate Europe Observatory, effectively contributing to build the movement of people demanding access to water as a human right.

 

lessons learned

A comprehensive and colorful 35-minute audio-visual record of the event was made, for other groups to use and learn from. This has already been shared with other organizations around the world, when it was shown at the International Conference of Affected People in Honduras, November 2008.

 

with thanks to our funders: the sigrid rausing trust

 

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