Pathways to Climate Justice

As a member of Global Aktion, a solidarity organisation based in Copenhagen, Denmark, I worked on this project for La Via Campesina, in Southern and Eastern Africa (LVC-SEAf). The aim of the intervention is to strengthen and build capacity of LVC-SEAf across the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe to struggle for and support the rights of rural communities, indigenous peoples, and smallholders in the face of the climate and ecological crisis. You can read the project description here.

Besides contributing generally as a research assistant, my role was primarily to make photographs and video material throughout the research trips, documenting the context of the communities we visited, making portraits of people, and conducting interviews. I shared the photos with Global Aktion, LVC-SEAf, their partner organisations in the countries we visited, (see a selection here) and edited together narrative videos on the themes that emerged from the research, some of which are included here:

Seed Sovereignty

We visited several cooperative projects across South Africa to learn from small-scale food producers about the importance of food sovereignty and practices of saving and sharing seeds.

But in South Africa the transnational agribusiness corporations like Monsanto have huge lobbying power, and have forced through policies that criminalise these traditional practices. Resisting such criminalisation and keeping the practices alive is therefore crucial to the struggle, here and everywhere else.

Access to Land

There can be no climate justice without just and secure access to land. This is another struggle that's particularly important for peasant farmers and landworkers in South Africa, to (re)claim access to and control over the land they work. Some of the people we visited are resisting the unjust distribution of land by occupying and squatting the land they work, but without secure tenure, it is still hard to plan for the future and be resilient.

Cooperatives for Food Sovereignty

Across South Africa, Kenya, and the DR Congo we visited several cooperatives and heard from the women leading and participating in these projects how getting organised together has helped them to build their own autonomy, to understand the value of their work, reclaim their dignity, and challenge the patriarchal power structures in their communities.

The Youth in Peasant Agroecology

Peasant youth are the bridge between urban and rural populations, and we spoke to some of those who are organising to use the resources they have access to and getting back to the land to grow their own food. The youth who understand the value of food sovereignty are working hard to build their autonomy and resilience.

A group interview and discussion in Bukanga Lonzo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, October 2019. This is a fairly typical scene from our research trips—usually we'd get to know the community a little in a setting like this, then later we'd ask one or more people if they would mind being interviewed on camera to talk about some of the themes that had come up in the group.

Using Format