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By Karen Keating Ansara
August 14th, 2014
Haiti is a place where you can fall “upside down” in love with the Haitian people and culture. It is also the place where everything you knew before – including about philanthropy and development – can get turned on its head. In fact, Haitians have a phrase for that: “Tet Anba,” literally “head below,” or “upside down head.”
That’s what happened to me and my husband Jim over the last five years. Before the earthquake struck, we knew very, very little about this country, except for what we had read in the life-changing book Mountains Beyond Mountains, about the founding of Partners in Health in Haiti.
In the weeks of escalating violence in Gaza, updates from our partners on the ground there have become increasingly dire, desperate and sadly detailed in their listing of dead and displaced. The article below summarizes much of what we have heard.
The recent article, GM scaremongering in Africa is disarming the fight against poverty, published in the Guardian’s PovertyMatters Blog on 21 July 2014, is a thinly veiled attack on those of us in Africa and elsewhere who are deeply skeptical of the supposed benefits that genetically modified (GM) crops will bring to the continent. Based on a report by London-based think-tank Chatham House, it represents paternalism of the worst kind, advancing the interests of the biotechnology industry behind a barely constructed façade of philanthropy.
By Carol Schachet
July 29th, 2014
Latin American women raised their voices in solidarity with Palestinians. The video below features several Grassroots International partners, including members of the Via Campesina, the Landless Workers Movement and the Latin American Confederation of Peasant Organization (CLOC).
On July 20, six members of the family of Ziad Saad were killed. Ziad works with the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) in Palestine, which recently became a member of the Via Campesina.
On the way to a camping trip on Cape Cod last week, my family made a pit stop at a gas station. My partner took our four-year-old to the bathroom and I picked up a copy of the New York Times. I felt the ground shift as I saw the image of a tiny boy lying dead on the beach.
The names of four children jutted out from my computer’s screen like daggers on the list of the dead by name as I refreshed it. Memories of children laughing while flying kites on a beach in Gaza flooded my mind. Are these the same Bakr children I knew, and are they now among the 211 dead in Gaza?
Of course it doesn’t matter if I heard the laughter of Ahed (10), Zakaria (10), Mohammed (11), and Ismail (9) when I spent time with the Bakr family known so well in Gaza’s fishing community. It matters that their parents and loved ones knew their laughter by heart, and will likely spend a lifetime trying to recall the innocent ring of it.
As a group of us from Grassroots’ staff participated in an action to support a divestment campaign targeting corporations that profit from the occupation of Palestine, the words of our Palestinian partner echoed in my ears and heart: We have no right to give up.
For the first time in Brazilian history, a decree will grant legal rights to people impacted by mega-dam projects. Tarso Genro, Governor of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, signed the decree creating a State Policy of People Affected by Hydroelectric Projects on June 23.
Grassroots International joins our partner, Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), in celebrating this huge victory. MAB played a key role in pushing for the rights of communities displaced or disrupted by dams, and works for the rights of dam-affected communities nationwide.
Thousands of families throughout Brazil face threats to their homes and livelihoods from large hydroelectric dam projects. Driven by corporate profit interests, the number of mega dam projects in Brazil has increase significantly in recent years, displacing farming and indigenous communities, diverting water from local communities, and increasing deforestation and methane emissions.
The Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), a Grassroots Partner, organizes among these communities. In this video Alexania Rossato and Josivaldo Alves de Oliveira of MAB talk about the challenges and successes of their work, about building sustainable grassroots movements, and the value of international solidarity.
Governments and international agencies frequently boast that small farmers control the largest share of the world's agricultural land. When the director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation inaugurated 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming, he sang the praises of family farmers but didn't once mention the need for land reform. Instead, he announced that family farms already manage most of the world's farmland – a whopping 70%, according to his team.