International African Women's Day : Letter to my Earth

International African Women's Day 2023

Lilia Benzid

Lilia Benzid
Communication Expert and Visual Artist 
Sahara and Sahel Observatory

Beloved Earth,

On this International African Women's Day, here I come, full of thoughts on our challenges, our achievements and the crucial contribution of African women to our continent.

Allow me to address this letter to you, a letter of a friend who needs to tell you about our common journey.

Mother Earth, you have always been a nurturing mother, a protector and a home to us all. We, African women are intimately connected to you, for we live and depend on the resources you, so kindly provide. We are also aware of the challenges we face due to climate change and the degradation of our environment.

We feel the increasingly devastating effects of climate disruptions and here we stand, helpless and sad, losing our lands that used to be full of life, witnessing the changes in our seasons and petrified with the scarcity of our water resources.

It is true that Africa has not contributed significantly to the greenhouse gas emissions that lie behind these climate changes. However, we have decided to be part of the solution. We embraced these challenges as we are relentlessly seeking lasting solutions to preserve our treasured relationship with you.

Earth, for you to recover, we have made the commitment to restore our degraded lands, we plant trees, adopt sustainable agricultural practices like half-moons and anti-erosion benches, and invest in agroforestry to maintain soil fertility and fight erosion. We try to find balance between food production and environmental preservation. And I can tell you: it's not easy.

We, African women, fight for food security for our families and communities. We grow climate-resilient seed species, raise animals adapted to our environment and develop efficient irrigation systems to cope with droughts. Entrepreneurs that we are, we create agricultural cooperatives, process local products and contribute to the agricultural value chain to provide for our families and contribute to the economic development of our regions.

What we do, Mother Earth, is the fruit of a spirit of collaboration and solidarity between us all. We support each other, share our knowledge and skills, we sit for training programs and benefit from funding that meet our specific needs. By joining forces, we are stronger and better prepared to overcome challenges.

Earth, it is important to highlight the positive impact of climate funds in the battles we fight as African women. These funds have recently started to support our initiatives, build our capacities to face climate change challenges. This precious support allowed us to make our voice heard, to take up environmental challenges and to actively contribute to the preservation of our planet and we are grateful for that.

Mother Earth, I won’t be lying to you. Despite the many achievements we made, we, African women still have much to do to have equal land rights with men. We are not as self-reliant as we should be and this limits our ability to act fully and freely. We dream of having the power to decide land use, contribute more to the economy, bring our vision to reality and make a change.

It is a concern that I sadly share with you knowing that you understand my frustration and my desire for freedom of action. I know you will always be there for us to support our fight for equal land rights. The land is ours and all voices, including mine, must be heard to shape a better future.

Today, on this International African Women's Day, I thank you, Earth, for the priceless support and resources you give. Together we will keep raising awareness, thinking of innovative paths and seeking justice. There so much we can do, all it takes is for us, women, to have full autonomy and equal land rights to create meaningful change.

I am so proud of what we, African women, have accomplished in the preservation of our environment, food security and sustainable economic development. I am also proud with the connection I have with you.

On this special day, I promise to keep working for a fair and prosperous future, using your resources responsibly and leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.

Happy International African Women's Day to all my sisters committed to preserving our environment, food security and sustainable economic development.

With the determination and love of an African Woman.