Q&A with Melinda Kramer, Co-Founder & Co-Director of Women’s Earth Alliance
Melinda Kramer is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Women’s Earth Alliance, a not-for-profit organisation that empowers women's leadership to protect our environment, end the climate crisis, and ensure a just, thriving world. She is a passionate advocate for social justice, the environment and women’s rights. Read more about her story and what inspires her here.
What made you start the Women’s Earth Alliance?
A: While fires rage, sea levels rise, and our Earth speaks its warnings, a great wave of solutions is also rising. We started Women's Earth Alliance because we felt it was critical to fortify our world's grassroots women leaders who are doing the masterful work to protect, heal, and regenerate everything we love.
WEA leaders—our friends and heroes working tirelessly in communities around the world--are preserving indigenous seeds and plant knowledge key to our survival; selling clean cookstoves that save lives and reduce the destruction of our forests; modeling the regenerative farming practices that will feed our planet; protecting our dwindling water sources; and more.
The recent climate reports tell us everything we already know: we are living in tremendous imbalance–in terms of wealth, natural resources, and power.
One of the best ways to tip the scales toward balance is to invest in women's leadership. Take the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by 193 countries— achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is integral to each of these goals. Only by supporting women and girls will we get to justice and inclusion, economies that work for all, and a thriving environment now and for future generations.
Q: What achievement are you most proud of in your career so far?
A: Over 17 years, WEA has trained over 25,000 women leaders in almost 30 countries and reached over 17 million people with life-saving water and sanitation, food security, emergency relief, Indigenous land protection, solar energy, clean cookstoves, reforestation and innovative climate solutions.
We have focused on leveraging key environmental issues because women are at the center of each of these issues. And the best part is that they’ve turned right around to create more circles, reaching more women with training, and more communities with solutions.
Q: Which women inspire you the most?
A: In 2001 when I was attending the University of Nairobi, I learned that a woman named Dr. Wangari Maathai would be giving a guest lecture. I went to hear her speak about her campaign to mobilize Kenyan women to plant trees, which would eventually lead to the planting of more than 51 million trees in Africa engaging nearly 900,000 women with economic opportunities.
I walked up to her after her speech and thanked her for her leadership. At the end of our conversation, she said to me: “What we need to do is simple. Just plant seeds. Seeds of all kinds. You will be amazed at how they grow."Then she flashed me this radiant smile, and I could see the resolve in her eyes.
Little did I know, I’d see that same resolve hundreds of times in hundreds of women’s eyes in my life.
Q: How would someone’s donation today make a difference?
A: In 2023, WEA will exponentially grow the number of women training participants, environmental solutions, and lives improved around the world. By standing with Women’s Earth Alliance, we can ensure WEA leaders have the training, funding, and network to design and scale grassroots solutions from the ground up.
Just $20 can help a woman buy the seeds she needs to start a climate-resilient garden, which will provide healthy and sustainable food for her family and her community. A gift of $40 will enable a woman farmer to convert her conventional farm to organic, ensuring healthy food for our communities, healthy soil for our planet, and more.
Together, we can empower women’s leadership and create powerful solutions that ripple out across regions, nations, and our entire planet—now and for generations to come.