Sikhala Sonke

Marikana, South Africa

Sikhala Sonke which means “we cry together,” was formed by the women of Marikana, where 37 miners were killed in August 2012. Some members are the widows of the miners. Others who joined are angry that nothing has changed in Marikana over the last five years. Sikhala Sonke has continued the struggle for a living wage for the miners after the massacre. It has also repeatedly made demands on Lonmin and the South Africa government to address the Marikana Massacre.

Bua Mining Community (BuaMC)

Rustenburg, South Africa

Bua Mining Community (BuaMC) is a social movement based in the Bojanala Platinum District Municipality in the North West Province of South Africa, dedicated to fighting against the injustices brought by the mining industry.

The organisation was established in 2012 and is led by seasoned activists who organise in mining affected communities, which are predominantly rural and has some footing in the urban centres. This includes influence in in the Northwest province and Gauteng province. It is an organisation led by seasoned activist, fighting against injustices brought by the mining industry.

Ubunye Bama Hostela (UBH)

Durban, South Africa

Ubunye Bama Hostela (UBH) organises hostel dwellers in 10 hostels in which over 120,000 people live. Since 2006, UBH has been organising for the transformation of the hostels which were built during apartheid to house the reserve labour that was supplied to the city of Durban. It was intended to be transitional housing based on apartheid legislation that restricted the movement of labour into the city. Hostels were also the sight of political violence.

UBH has been organising hostel dwellers, outside of party political affiliations, to campaign for an end to slum conditions in the hostels and for the provision of decent, family-friendly, permanent public housing, access to basic services, non-violent and safe hostels, an end to evictions and forced removals, an end to corrupt practices of room allocations and access to social housing which is based on political affiliation. It engages with local, city and provincial authorities through protest marches and is attempting to engage in negotiations and meetings with city officials. UBH has been building relations between immigrants and locals living in hostels.

Housing Assembly

Cape Town, South Africa

Formed in 2009, the Housing Assembly is a housing social movement organising poor people in the Western Cape, South Africa. It has a membership of over 6,500 representing six districts in Capet Town (with one in Witzenberg).

Housing Assembly campaigns for the rights of poor people to decent housing and against the privatisation of basic services. It campaigns together with shack dwellers backyard dwellers who are squatting, and with people who are living in dilapidated social housing and facing evictions. It campaigns for 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. They engage with city officials, local and provincial authorities through protests and negotiations. It has successfully helped develop eviction laws to its threshold. Housing Assembly also supports income generating projects and works with drug affected communities. The movement is part of the National Campaign for Decent Housing.

Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM)

Durban, South Africa

Abahlali baseMjondolo (people who live in shacks) was established in 2005. It is a shack dweller movement organised in over 50 informal settlements across South Africa. It has a membership of over 20,000. At the heart of the organisation's values and objectives are the rights of poor people to have decent housing, security of tenure and access to affordable basic services.

Abahlali campaigns for decent public housing; provision of water, sanitation and refuse removal in informal settlements; electrification of shacks to prevent recurrent fires; an end to evictions and forced removals and the right to land. It organises community workshops to raise awareness on the right to housing and basic services; it engages politically through protest marches on offices of local and provincial authorities, police and municipal offices, and through negotiations and meetings with authorities, policy makers and politicians.

Abahlali has successfully engaged in litigation, including Constitutional Court challenges, that has seen eviction law developed to its threshold. They have set up income generating projects for shack dwellers. They have also created food gardens to keep shack dwellers food secure.

Back to Basics: Progressive Trade Deals

February 2018

When the UK leaves the EU it will be in charge of its own trade policy for the first time in more than 40 years, so trade is set to be a hot topic for years to come. We teamed up with CLASS, Global Justice Now, the University of Warwick and the Trade Justice Movement to create this expert guide which goes back to basics on trade. It explains the dangers of modern trade deals and what we should be looking for in a progressive trade agenda.

Back to Basics: Progressive Trade Deals, 2018

Wayuu Women’s Force

La Guajira, Colombia

Wayuu Women’s Force (Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu) is a women-led organisation that raises awareness about the violations of human and ethnic rights in La Guajira. They work to denounce the territorial impacts of mega mining projects, including forced displacement and the violation of 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 been present 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 department with the second highest levels of poverty, and one which has historically faced the consequences of the social and armed conflict of Colombia.

War on Want works with Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu to ensure the fundamental rights of indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities in La Guajira are respected – especially with regards to access to water, Free Prior Informed Consent, compensation for forced evictions, territorial rights and environmental pollution. We do this by platforming the demands and messages of impacted communities to a UK and European audience.

Association for Social Research and Action (Nomadesc)

Cali, 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, and around the world.

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 gives these communities a voice. By strengthening the ties between the groups and giving them the tools to defend their human rights, these communities are better able to protect themselves from violence and displacement.

War on Want works to support our partners Nomadesc and Palenque el Congal (PCN), which develop mechanisms for the defence of territorial and human rights in the Pacific Coast of Colombia. We support Nomadesc in their work investigating violations of human rights and working to strengthen social movements through popular education initiatives.


Latest news

Delegation from Colombian community that stopped world’s biggest gold mine & redefined local democracy visit UK

20 March 2018 - 4:30pm

A year ago this rural community used direct democracy to stop what would have been the world’s largest gold mine. Their example has inspired 50 Colombian communities to challenge corporate exploitation through popular consultations and revolutionised the Colombian presidential debate. 25-30 March they visit London to share their vision for a just, sustainable future.

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Event: "Curfew" Contemporary dance by El-Funoun & Hawiyya

16 March 2018 - 5:30pm

War on Want is happy to be supporting “Curfew”, a contemporary dance production performed by El-Funoun (Palestine) and Hawiyya Dance Company (UK), presented by Arts Canteen. "Curfew" is a thought-provoking contemporary dance production that encourages individuals to self-reflect and take action in front of injustice.

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