CENSAT Agua Viva – Friends of the Earth Colombia has been working to tackle environmental conflicts in the country for the past 25 years. The organization’s general coordinator, Tatiana Roa, focuses on the direct relation they have built throughout the years with communities and grassroots organizations in the country, mainly indigenous, African descendant and peasant groups affected by the extractivist development model and the commodification of life.
Colombian environmental activist Tatiana Roa of CENSAT Agua Viva has focused on three areas of community work: research, popular education and communication for resistance. Together, these areas make up a perspective of support, joint capacity building and exchange of knowledge between the organization and the communities. This facilitates the development of alternatives for a dignified life, with a balanced relationship between human beings and nature.
CENSAT Agua Viva advocates for the building of a sustainable society in a country that suffers many problems as a result of the ruling development model and of socio-environmental, economic and political conflicts. However, Colombia has both biological and cultural diversity, and it has many communities and peoples that lead sustainable lives. Their dreams materialize in the protection of the territory, the public and community management of water and forests and defending all forms of life.
Tatiana Roa has been working at CENSAT Agua Viva since the organization was founded. She believes that all these years have been an important learning process, which has led to meeting and coordinating with different organizations of the country and of Latin America and the world. This has enabled her to build great capacity within the organizations, movements and social processes in Colombia, as well as among the men and women who have contributed to building CENSAT Agua Viva throughout the years.
The Colombian environmental activist believes that the new threats and strategies of territorial displacement constitute new challenges for our organizations. It requires the development of a new discourse of resistance and implementing alternatives and initiatives to ensure the communities will stay in their territories. She believes this is possible today by working with the people and also by supporting, building and strengthening Friends of the Earth International.