All the winners


Environmental rights


A Salvadoran activist since the age of 18, Virginia Roque Aguilar fought for the protection of water and against a construction project that threatened the indigenous area ofTacushcalco in the west of her country. Analyzing the problems of climate change from a feminist point of view, she has been strongly involved in the fight for access to water, advocating for the inclusion of this right in the Salvadoran Constitution. During 2020, she was part of the team promoting the Escazú Agreement, a regional agreement to guarantee public access to information, citizen participation, and access to justice in environmental matters, which was ultimately not signed by El Salvador. Since 2021, she has been on the Board of Directors of Rescate al Medio Ambiente (RAMA).



Interview with Virginia Roque Aguilar - February 24, 2023

Could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Virginia Roque, I'm 25 years old and I've been an environmental activist since I was 18. I fight for the right of access to water and for water quality and sanitation in El Salvador, as these rights are not enshrined in my country's constitution. I'm also an ecofeminist and work on social justice projects from a gender perspective. The Marianne initiative can be very useful for us, as it can help us to create a network and obtain funding, but also for me as an individual, to develop my skills and get to know other human rights defenders. It's a great opportunity for me because I want to meet people who are doing the same thing as me but differently, from different realities and from different countries.

What do you expect from the Marianne initiative as you consolidate your project?

I hope that this program will be a platform of security, opportunity and learning for me and the other winners. I hope we can develop our skills and build our own path, not only for our project but also for ourselves, for our own personal evolution. I want to return to El Salvador with all this knowledge, and share it with my colleagues and friends who are doing the same thing as me as environmental activists. I hope this initiative won't be the last, and that it will take place every year, whatever the French government. When we go back to our country, our reality will be there and I hope the program will make me stronger, smarter and give me more means to develop my project. Being at Sciences Po is an incredible opportunity, I don't know how to describe how I feel, being at Sciences Po is like a dream for me. This program is an opportunity that doesn't come along every day, and as a human rights activist, I have to seize it and share it.

What activities have been most useful to you since the start of the program?

The courses at Sciences Po are very useful to me, especially the course on water desalination and the one on women in international affairs, because they are really related to what I do and the teachers are very involved in their courses. However, I would like to learn how to carry out a project in a more concrete way, as I already have some theoretical knowledge on the subject, but I don't know how to apply it in practice. The French classes are also very enriching of course, we have two classes a week. I wish I could learn faster, but I'm doing my best.

What future activities do you think will bring you the most benefits?

The Groupe SOS and I want to organize a conference on Latin American feminism and European feminism. We want to invite women who work in the field of ecofeminism and women from Latin America who can share their experience. I also think that networking with NGOs can be very useful for me.

Would you like to add anything?

Thanks again for this opportunity, I'm learning a lot and the other winners and I make a great team. I hope that the Marianne initiative can help some of them with their psychological problems, as the situation in their country is hitting them hard. The psychological and social support provided by the Marianne initiative will be very useful to us, and will help us not to feel alone.

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