Marlene Ramos and the Bolivarian Portrait of Rural Women

Marlene Ramos is a resident of the village La Suprema, in the foothills of Marialabaja, she works as a housewife. She oversees the cultivating, processing, transporting, and distributing the food and resources that her family consumes. For her, one of the greatest needs in its context is the lack of basic sanitation and drinking water.

Marlene heads at 4 a.m., exposing her integrity to make her needs on the palm plantations that line the settlement. She tells us that she had to resort to this measure to avoid clandestine crossings during the activity with other inhabitants of the community.

According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the rural population of Latin America and the Caribbean is around 121 million people, with 48% women (58 million); this corresponds to a quarter of the world’s population, according to the UN. Of the more than 50 million rural women, 17% practice open-space defecation, which is the most dangerous practice for health.

This percentage is genuinely uncomfortable, but most worryingly, 60% of rural people in developing countries use inadequate necessary sanitation facilities. In these scenarios, women like Marlene are the ones who carry a double burden behind them in the face of the destruction or absence of water systems. On the one hand, they are deprived of being users and consumers of the liquid, while increasing their workload to achieve it and look for new points of supply.

UNESCO states that in 8 out of 10 families who do not have the service, it is the woman who is committed to providing and administering water in their families, being fatigued work and requiring a high degree of commitment and dedication. They must also safeguard household hygiene, ensuring the correct use and implementation of personal or home products.

Today, rural women spend most of their time doing domestic work; both girls and adults are responsible for providing the precious liquid, although this involves walking long distances to achieve and transport it. In the case of Marlene Ramos, she devotes an extended hour of continuous work to her home, collaborating in her daughters’ daily chores and caring for her grandchildren, having as his only source of income the profits obtained from the sale of magazines.

The scenario is compounded when we think of the vulnerability to which they are subjected through abuses and attacks during the crossings. This is the implicit fear of hiding the words of Marlene, who chose to defecate in the early hours to avoid danger. She is just one of the thousands of rural women in the region who must move away from their homes and hamlets tens of meters to make their right to basic sanitation in makeshift toilets on earth. She also faces the daily anxiety of getting the gallons that refresh his raucous routine.

Marlene dreams of a home with a restroom, as it would give them the privacy and security she needs. She also feels she would contribute to reducing out-of-weather defecation habits in his community and long waiting hours to find relief amid the sorry night.

A dry bathroom is a doubly useful solution that improves your quality of life, reducing the time you spend moving to secluded places and waiting to feel safe in your territory. Also, replacing the liquid available to lower the chain may be used for other activities in which it is indispensable. The first step is to blur the idyll and take action, offering usable social technologies even in the most remote areas.

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