Quite simply, in order to live, we all need access to water and to land.

In many of the countries where we work access to clean water, can become their own trigger for conflict. Where investment in basic infrastructure and access to services are denied, people have little choice but to use water sources which are stagnant and disease ridden. In turn this forces communities to either walk daily for miles to find clean water or suffer the consequences, sometimes deadly, that drinking from stagnant water brings.

When access to land for homes and agriculture get denied to marginalised communities, dialogue breaks down and tensions can quickly escalate. Forced migration exacerbates this problem, where many people are suddenly forced into sharing already scant resources. Suddenly a toxic ‘them and us’ attitude takes hold.

Practical measures for addressing violence around access to natural resources include:

  • Helping locals set up sanitation committees
  • Provide training for building fresh water springs and managing them
  • Supporting people to keep their villages
  • Creating relational space between communities and authorities to discuss needs
  • Identifying agricultural income streams to benefit the wider community