Abahlali baseMjondolo, South Africa
Abahlali baseMjondolo (people who stay in shacks) is a movement of shack dwellers. It began in 2005 with the Kennedy Road settlement protests against the sale to a local industrialist of land that had been promised by the local municipal councillor to shack dwellers for housing.
“Our movement was started in 2005 as a movement of the poor. From the beginning we worked to build the power of impoverished people in order to confront and defeat the oppression that we faced.”
Abhalali baseMjondolo’s call is for Land, Housing and Dignity for shack dwellers, and it is now one of South Africa’s largest movements with branches in over 60 informal settlement communities and 75,000 members. It has won significant legal battles against evictions, supported land occupation communities as land reform from the ground-up, and engaged with authorities to secure basic services of water, electricity and sanitation for informal settlements.
Action for Ecology and People’s Emancipation (AEER), Indonesia
Action for Ecology and People’s Emancipation (AEER) is an environmental NGO that struggles for improvements in the management of natural resources to help build sustainable relationships between communities and their environment. It undertakes research and defends the rights of communities negatively impacted by extractivist policies and companies.
Addameer (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association is a Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. Established in 1992 by a group of activists interested in human rights, the centre offers free legal aid to political prisoners, advocates their rights at the national and international level, and works to end torture and other violations of prisoners' rights through monitoring, legal procedures and solidarity campaigns. Our relationship with Addameer ensures we can bring the latest news and reports affecting imprisoned Palestinians to our UK campaigns.
Al Warcha Media Collective, Tunisia
Al Warcha, The Media Workshop for Economic and Social Rights, is a grassroots group of activists in Tunisia who create media on social justice, with a commitment towards the oppressed and marginalised, and in support of social movements. Their work focuses on national and popular sovereignty, as well as the socio-economic rights of the most marginalised and impoverished Tunisians, and other themes that are neglected or inadequately addressed by traditional media including climate justice, agrarian policies, the struggles of peasants, the rights of fisherfolk, struggles for workers’ rights, food sovereignty, agro-ecology, the exploitation of natural resources, the struggle for national sovereignty and the re-appropriation of resources exploited by multinationals.
Association for Social Research and Action (Nomadesc), Colombia
In Colombia, more than five million people have been forced from their homes by violence and extreme poverty, made refugees in their own country. Rural Colombians have lost huge swathes of land. This humanitarian crisis and the needs of displaced people are well known in Colombia. The Social Research and Action Association (Asociacion para la investigacion y la accion social – Nomadesc) works to fix this massive disadvantage. By bringing these vulnerable groups together, Nomadesc unites and raises the voices of these communities. By strengthening the ties between the groups and giving them the tools to defend their human rights, communities are better able to protect themselves from violence and displacement. War on Want has supported Nomadesc in their work investigating violations of human rights and working to strengthen social movements through popular education initiatives.
ATTAC/CADTM Maroc, Morocco
ATTAC/CADTM Maroc is an action-oriented popular education movement, committed to the struggles in Morocco against capitalist globalisation and the domination of the International Financial Institutions. ATTAC Maroc strives to be a space for critical reflection to understand the neoliberal assault on Moroccan people. ATTAC fights for another globalisation, far from any logic of isolationism, that is grounded in solidarity between peoples and based on social justice, democracy, dignity and sustainable development in a world that is not equated to a market. Most of its work is focused on debt, microcredit, extractivism, workers’ rights, trade justice, climate justice and as food sovereignty. ATTAC Maroc is a founding member of the North African Network for Food Sovereignty.
Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity (BCWS), Bangladesh
Founded by garment workers in 2001, Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity (BCWA) is a grassroots workers’ rights organisation advocating for improving working conditions and workers’ rights in Bangladesh.
BCWS runs labour and gender rights education programmes, and leadership and skills development training. It also offers legal aid and advisory services for workers and operates childcare and adult literacy centres. It has strong advocacy and campaign work, including Achieving Living Wage, Ending Gender-Based Violence and Lifting Worker Voice, and is an active member of a number of international campaign groups. BCWS played a key role in the campaign with international brands after the Rana Plaza disaster resulting on the Bangladesh Accord on Fire & Building Safety.
Formed in 1989, CENSAT Ague Viva is Friends of the Earth’s member group in Colombia, and it seeks theoretical, political, and technical alternatives to destructive models of development. CENSAT is an environmental justice organisation for communication, education, research and mobilisation, whose purpose is to strengthen and build the capacity for social and environmental actions of historically impoverished sectors in Colombia. Through democratic processes for organising, they seek to expand knowledge, transform social and technical relations and the rewire the conditions of life, work and production that are adverse to health, the environment and the full realisation of humanity.
Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZ & GSEU), Sri Lanka
Free Trade Zones and their like have eroded rights for workers around the globe. In Sri Lanka, FTZ&GSEU is one of the largest trade unions representing workers in global supply chains (including garment workers) and for over 30 years has been at the forefront of battling for workers’ rights. We are privileged to have stood alongside FTZ&GSEU for over a decade as they have won increases in wages, signed collective bargaining agreements and in many other ways fought for the rights of workers at the bottom of the garment supply chain.
“This is a lesson for the employer to learn, that in the global economy it is not only profit and investments that travel across geographical boundaries, but also worker solidarity and organisational unity.” – Anton Marcus, Joint General Secretary
Housing Assembly, South Africa
Formed in 2009, Housing Assembly is a housing social movement organising poor people in the Western Cape, South Africa. It has a membership of over 6,000 people representing six districts in and around Cape Town.
Housing Assembly campaigns for the right of poor people to decent housing, and against the privatisation of basic services. It brings together the campaigns of shack dwellers, backyard dwellers and those living in dilapidated social housing or facing evictions. It campaigns for the provision of water, electricity and sanitation, and an end to evictions and forced removals. Housing Assembly uses grassroots organising methods used by anti-apartheid movements in the 1980s (door-to-door visits and community speakouts) to raise awareness of housing rights and the right to basic services.
Kenyan National Alliance of Street Vendors and Informal Traders (KENASVIT), Kenya
Kenyan National Alliance of Street vendors and Informal Traders (KENASVIT) is a national organisation with a membership of 10,000 street vendors and informal traders across 16 districts in Kenya. KENASVIT’s main purpose is to organise and empower street vendors and informal traders to improve their livelihoods and well-being. It does this through:
- organising and recruiting informal traders
- building thecapacity of members, their representative urban alliances and their national organisation
- raising awareness of the rights of informal traders
- engaging in local level advocacy with local authorities and other relevant institutions for better living and working conditions
- engaging in national-level advocacy to develop and implement a legislative framework that recognises and protects the rights of informal traders in Kenya.
KENASVIT works with its urban alliances to set up self-financing groups to grow their small businesses, increase incomes and improve livelihoods. KENASVIT successfully lobbied for the development of legislation that recognises and protects the rights of informal traders to trade freely, making Kenya one of the first sub-Saharan countries to do so.
Kenyan Peasants League (KPL), Kenya
The Kenyan Peasants League (KPL) is a social movement of Kenyan Peasant farmers, fisherfolk, pastoralists and consumers, whose main aim is to promote smallholder farmer agroecology and resist neo-liberal policies that kill local agriculture. KPL promotes indigenous seeds, livestock and plant varieties and the creation of an alternative economy that is driven by provision for livelihoods. KPL was founded in 2016 and has been part of La Via Campesina network since 2018.
L'Observatoire Tunisien de l'Economie (OTE), Tunisia
The Tunisian Observatory of Economy (OTE) is a group of researchers, activists and policy analysts that began as an International Financial Institution watchdog group. OTE continues its work to highlight the influence of IFIs on public policy-making in Tunisia. Their mission is to provide guidance to citizens with regard to economic policies and their impacts on development through independent, objective, well-documented and critical research. Their work is mainly focused on debt and IFIs, trade, investment, energy, environment, public finances and monetary policies.
Latin American Observatory for Environmental Conflicts (OLCA), Chile
The Latin American Observatory for Environmental Conflicts (Observatorio Latinoamericano de conflictos Ambientales – OLCA) supports communities affected by environmental conflict, building their capacities and advising on their rights.
OLCA monitors environmental conflicts, develops management tools, conducts conflict management training and researches environmental protections in relation with the rights of citizens.
Through this work, OLCA is helping to build towards alternative models of development that are at the service of life, ecosystems, and the communities and towns that inhabit them.
Malawian Union for the Informal Sector (MUFIS), Malawi
Malawian Union for the Informal Sector (MUFIS) was founded in 2000 and today has a membership of 7,000 informal traders covering the Northern, Central and Southern regions of Malawi. MUFIS organises street vendors, hawkers, marketers, artisans, small veranda (khondes) businesses, informal cross-border traders and smallholder tea farmers. The majority of its members are women. MUFIS is currently assisting its members to fight for their right to trade freely in Malawi, which includes the right not to be evicted, the right not to be harassed by police and the right to better working conditions including designated trading space with access to basic services.
Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), Brazil
The Movement of People Affected by Dams (Movimento de Atingidos/as per Barragems – MAB) emerged in 1991 as hundreds of families were displaced by the large-scale construction of hydroelectric dams. It’s a mass social movement made up of directly impacted communities resisting large infrastructure projects like mega-dams, the forced removal of families and the privatisation of rivers and other natural resources that are key to the livelihoods of communities.
MAB is at the forefront of the struggle for a people-led energy system for Brazil. MAB proposes an energy model based not on privatisation and profits for corporations, but on respect for water and energy resources as important elements for the promotion of human rights, and on community participation models to make decisions on energy production and use.
North African Network for Food Sovereignty
Founded in 2018 during a regional meeting of North African Organisations, the North African Network for Food Sovereignty is a common voice for the fight of peasants, fisherfolk, and agricultural workers, and is a unifying structure of their struggles in the North Africa region, involved in local, continental and international mobilisations. Its first assembly took place in December 2018 in Agadir, Morocco, with delegations from Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. It brought together representatives of trade unions, cooperatives and associations that work on food sovereignty, defending agricultural workers, smallholder farmers and fisherfolk, conserving indigenous seeds, and protecting water and land.
Observatory for Mining Conflicts in Latin America (OCMAL)
The Observatory for Mining Conflicts in Latin America (Observatorio de conflictos mineros en Latinoamerica – OCMAL) is a platform of over 40 organisations, with the aim of defending communities affected by mining. OCMAL develops processes to safeguard and protect the rights and livelihoods of communities in Latin America experiencing human rights and environmental abuses due to large-scale mining exploration and exploitation, supporting them to secure justice for those abuses.
OCMAL is a space for research and exploration of new opportunities to achieve greater effectiveness in the defence and protection of the environment. They run collective campaigns and actions, facilitate the exchange of information and develop community-led actions, incorporating and integrating global action with grassroots initiatives, in order to leverage political influence in international forums on decisions that affect the well-being of communities in Latin America affected by mining extractivism.
Saharawis Against the Plunder (SAP), Western Sahara
Saharawis Against the Plunder (SAP), previously known as Saharawi Campaign Against the Plunder (SCAP), is a grassroots movement launched in February 2015 by Sahrawi activists representing different organisations and volunteer groups. SAP fights against the plunder of Western Sahara's natural resources and colonisation. SAP acts on the belief that targeting multinational companies involved in the plunder of Saharawi’s resources is crucial to the fight to break down Morocco's ongoing occupation of Western Sahara.
Social Corporation for Community Advisory and Training Services Casanare (COSPACC), Colombia
COSPACC works on documenting and reporting human rights violations and provides legal, and other support and accompaniment to victims of corporate-sponsored crimes and environmental damage in Casanare, Tolima, Boyacá and Bogota. COSPACC works with internally displaced people, political prisoners, families of the disappeared, families of victims of extrajudicial executions, youth movements and women. COSPACC has done extensive research on the impacts of BP’s oil extraction practices in Casanare and the effects of these practices on the environment and human rights in the region. As one of many NGOs violently displaced from Casanare, COSPACC is currently based in Bogota and runs outreach sessions to the regions where they work.
Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), Hong Kong
Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) is a non-profit organisation founded in Hong Kong in June 2005. SACOM originated from a students’ movement devoted to improving the labour conditions of cleaning and security workers under -outsourcing policies. The movement attained relative success and created an opportunity for students to engage in local and global labour issues. SACOM brings concerned students, scholars, labour activists, and consumers together to monitor corporate behaviour and to advocate for workers’ rights.
The Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR), Sri Lanka
The Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR), War on Want’s long standing partner in Sri Lanka, emerged from the peasant’s movement opposing neoliberal reforms in the '70s and '80s, and encompasses a network of farmers' grassroots organisations. MONLAR was formed as a network of farmer organisations, NGOs and people’s organisations in other sectors at the beginning of 1990 in response to the serious socio-political and economic crisis that emerged in Sri Lanka at the end of 1980s. Efforts made in integrating Sri Lanka’s economy into the globalisation process resulted in an unprecedented increase in rural poverty, a breakdown in rural small-farmer agriculture, malnutrition among children, a high rate of anaemia among mothers, low birth weight babies, a large increase in income disparities and loss of livelihoods.
MONLAR works towards building a people's movement for food sovereignty through capacity building and mobilising small farmers and marginalised communities. It also protects natural resources and human rights, and lobbies for change and the implementation of alternative policies that are sustainable and just.
As the representative of La Via Campesina in Sri Lanka, MONLAR raises the voices of rural communities, and persistently campaigns for agricultural and land policies that protect them. The movement also helps to improve the self-reliance of small-scale communities through sustainable agriculture, seed conservation and teaching agro-ecological techniques.
Ubunye Bama Hostela (UBH), South Africa
Ubunye Bama Hostela (UBH) organises hostel dwellers in 11 hostels in which over 120,000 people live. Since 2006, UBH has been organising for the transformation of the hostels that were built during apartheid to house rural male migrant workers for the city of Durban. UBH has been organising hostel dwellers, outside of party political affiliations, and campaigning for an end to slum conditions and for the creation of decent, family-friendly, permanent public housing with basic services. It works for non-violent and safe hostels, an for end to evictions and forced removals, an end to corrupt practices of room allocations and an end to access to social housing based on political affiliation.
Wayuu Women’s Force, Colombia
Wayuu Women’s Force (Fuerza de Mujeres Wayúu) is a women-led organisation that raises awareness about the violations of human and ethnic rights in La Guajira, Colombia. It works to denounce the territorial impacts of mega-mining projects, including forced displacement and the violation of the rights of indigenous women.
“Being a Wayuu woman means guarding our territory, taking care of it, protecting the water and the Woumankain – Mother Earth, the greatest woman of all, who gave birth to everything. The Wayuu woman plays a fundamental role in culture, as the transmitter of culture and a vital part of Wayuu society. We do this because we want justice for those who will come after us, we are not paid to defend the territory, it is done through conviction." – Angelica Ortiz, General Secretary of Fuerza de Mujeres Wayúu
For four decades, Carbones El Cerrejón, the largest open cast mine in Colombia, has operated in La Guajira, in the north of the country. The exploitation and exportation of this coal, and the company's interest in increasing these figures, have resulted in the violation of the fundamental rights of Afro-Colombian, Wayuu indigenous and peasant communities that live in La Guajira, the region of Colombia with the second highest levels of poverty, and one which has historically faced the consequences of the social and armed conflict of Colombia.
Women’s Centre, Sri Lanka
Formed by women workers in Sri Lanka’s Free Trade Zones in 1982, Women’s Centre works for the dignity, equality and rights of women.
Women’s Centre has nearly 2,000 members and runs four open access centres for women workers, mainly garment factory workers. The members raise awareness and train women on gender and workers’ rights, offer counselling, advice and legal support, and campaign to end violence against women, improve workers’ housing and improve the rights of migrant workers.
Worker Empowerment (WE), Hong Kong
Worker Empowerment (WE) is a Hong Kong based labour organisation that researches the situation of workers in China, especially their economic situation and the rights of women, and provides advice to workers’ about organising and their rights.