Investigative Environmental Journalism Grants
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Written by: María Claudia Dávila
Photography: Lia Valero
The story highlights the experiences of four women, Yuvelis Natalia Morales, Yosselin Infante, Carolina Agón, and Yuli Velásquez, actively opposing fracking in the Middle Magdalena Valley of Colombia. These women face threats and violence as they strive to protect their territory from government-approved extractive projects. Yuvelis and Yosselin met during a meeting organised by the Colombia Free of Fracking Alliance. This led to the formation of the Defense Committee for the Life and Water of Puerto Wilches (Aguawil) to monitor fracking projects.
The women are concerned about the environmental and social impacts of fracking, including pollution of water sources, air quality issues, and health risks. They argue that the benefits the oil companies and the government promised do not outweigh the potential harm to their communities.
Carolina and Yuli, fisherwomen, emphasise the importance of water in their lives and the threats posed by fracking to their livelihoods and the environment. They have been actively protecting the San Silvestre Wetland, which supplies water to the region.
Despite facing challenges and violence, these women continue to advocate for their communities and the environment, highlighting the role of female leaders in defending land and the environment in Colombia.
Overall, the story sheds light on the struggles and determination of these women as they fight against fracking and work to safeguard their land and water resources in the face of adversity.
About the photographer
Lia Valero is Colombian independent journalist and photographer. As part of her professional experience, Lia has documented for 7 years different issues of human rights, gender, memory and conflict in Bogotá and various regions of Colombia, where she has used audiovisual work as part of her journalistic journey. In 2020, she was GNI fellow of the Poynter Institute and since 2013 has been part of Chicas Poderosas, a global community that promotes change by inspiring and fostering the development of women in the media. Her work has been published in national & international media such as Mutante.org, Rutas del Conflicto, De Correspondent, VICE, among others.
About the author
María Claudia Dávila is a Colombian independent journalist. She has four years of experience covering human rights, gender and culture subjects, and using innovation on storytelling as part of her work. In 2020, she was a fellow at the International Center for Journalism (ICFJ) at the program A digital path towards entrepreneurship and innovation for Latin America, where she collaborated with LA Times and LA Times en Español. In May of 2019, she was selected by the Fundación Gabo to attend a solutions journalism workshop with Liza Gross and then she became a member of the Solutions Journalism Network, giving workshops on this topic to colombian and mexicans journalists. She has worked with Mutante, VICE Colombia and collaborated with Pacifista.
Author: María Claudia Dávila
Year of publication: 2021