As a reaction to the horrendous effects of the 7.1 earthquake in Mexico, fearsome hurricane Maria in the Caribbean and the political developments between the United States of America and North Korea, Prof. Raúl Montenegro started broadcasting a radio program to inform and train people on issues such as “how to be prepared for facing nuclear accidents” and “how to be sustainable and environmentally safer at home”.
This wonderful experiment of change provides “self contained issues” through short interviews and spots where Raúl and his team mention –according to the discussed topic- names, contributions and exemplary lives of RLA recipients. On Sep 20, 2017, the first inaugural participation program was broadcasted on Radio Inchin of Saldan, the first of a long list of open media, like radio Sur. Raúl thanks journalist Georgina Donalisio for having created a special space for the RLC. The inaugural broadcast issued earthquakes, technological disasters and how to be prepared for facing them. From the university, from the academia, from the Campus, the RLC team moves into the ground, seeding planters, seeds of knowledge, participation and rebellion.
“At their turn listeners, readers and viewers of the programs and spots –the people- will teach to universities, to the Campus and to so-called “experts” their own knowledge. Universities are not the unique site of knowledge: humanity is knowledge. Multilateral democratic education is the way. In a day with so much human suffering we are trying to have and to transmit a little bit of hope. Thanks to all for being part of this wonderful educative experiment”, Raúl says.
Please find the first podcast here (Spanish).
In August 2017, Fidelis Allen, coordinator of the RLC campus Port Harcourt, published a background review on “NGOs, CSOs and academia: capacity gaps and advocacy surrounding expansion of oil palm plantations in Nigeria”. The review gives an insight into the impact of oil palm plantation expansion in the forest landscape of southeast of Nigeria and the role of non-governmental and community-based organizations for the people affected by these expansions. Moreover, Allen addresses academia and capacity gaps in this field to guide future research on the one hand and to ensure collaboration in the utilization of results of research on the other hand. His review is part of a collection of background reports called “Oil palm plantations in forest landscapes: impacts, aspirations and ways forward in Nigeria” written by Godwin Uyi Ojo, Raphael Ayama Offiong, Sylvester Odion Akhaine, Abiodun Baiyewu-Teru and Fidelis Allen under the framework of the Green Livelihoods Alliance.
Please find the publication here.
On September 26, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation announced the 2017 Laureates in Stockholm, Sweden:
- Robert Bilott (USA) “for exposing a decades-long history of chemical pollution, winning long-sought justice for the victims, and setting a precedent for effective regulation of hazardous substances.”(Honorary Award)
- Colin Gonsalves (India) “for his tireless and innovative use of public interest litigation over three decades to secure fundamental human rights for India’s most marginalised and vulnerable citizens.”
- Khadija Ismayilova (Azerbaijan) “for her courage and tenacity in exposing corruption at the highest levels of government through outstanding investigative journalism in the name of transparency and accountability.”
- Yetnebersh Nigussie (Ethiopia) “for her inspiring work promoting the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities.”
RLC Campus Mumbai has given a “Right Livelihood Shield” to two students during the convocation at TISS in May 2017. TISS regularly awards outstanding students with academic prizes, shields, and medals. The prize winners were:
- Mr. Deepen Modi – Right Livelihood Shield to the Best Student in Field Work for Livelihood Promotion and Innovation in “Social Work With Livelihoods & Social Entrepreneurship”
- Rhushikesh Borse – Right Livelihood Shield to the Second Best Student in Field Work for Livelihood Promotion and Innovation in “Social Work With Livelihoods & Social Entrepreneurship”
Córdoba maintains less than 3% of native dense forests, yet the current provincial government is pushing for a bill that reduces the current protected surface of native forests from 4 million hectares to only 2 million hectares. To address this important issue, the RLC Campus Córdoba organised an educational role-play on May 31, 2017, at the National University of Córdoba in Argentina. Organized by Right Livelihood Award Laureate Raúl Montenegro and three Chairs of the Faculty of Psychology, more than 2,300 university students recreated a debated about the governmental plans for adopting the “bad project of law on native forests”. The role-play involved six main steps: 1) a preparatory process with active dissemination of information prior to and on the 31st May, 2) sector discussions in groups; 3) a public hearing of the groups and a discussion among panel members 4) a vote by all students participating; 5) a presentation of the winning decision, and 6) a music festival as an epilogue. For step number 2 and 3, six main groups of 200-300 students each were formed with randomly selected members. The six groups represented the “government”, “soya agriculturalists” and “parliamentarians of the political party in power” as well as the “university”, “NGOs” and the “movement of green farmers”. At the end of the role-play around 90% of the students voted against the new law.
On November 5, 2016, the RLC Campus in Córdoba hosted an open seminar with the indigenous Mbya Guarani people in the Argentinean city of Puerto Rico. More than 300 participants attended the conference to discuss about the questionable official dates of independence in Argentina and the historical impact of independence on indigenous people and communities. RLA Laureate Raúl Montenegro, head of the RLC Campus Córdoba, gave a lecture on the topic “The Mbya people transform knowledge into wisdom, the Jurua people transform knowledge in knowledge. Will we learn from each other?“.
The RLC Campus Córdoba cooperated with the Chair of Ecology and Environmental Health of the University of Córdoba to support research by postgraduate students of the Master Program “Maternal and Children Health” in the provinces of Córdoba and La Rioja.
Research was conducted in the provinces of Córdoba and La Rioja, near the Andean region. The postgraduate students detected many health threats in urban and rural areas, e.g. deleterious effects of pesticide sprays, mining, open waste deposits or the pollution of water with fluorine and arsenic. Additional threats resulting from climate change are uncontrolled fires and floods. Students discovered inadequate management of X-ray equipment in hospitals, incorrect environmental management of neonatal rooms, and incineration of hazardous waste.
On September 5, 2017, the RLC Campus Bonn and the Association of German Development Services (AGdD) organised a public panel discussion on Human Rights and Environmental Governance jointly with the Adult Education Center Bonn. Juan Pablo Orrego, Alternative Nobel Prize Laureate (1998) and founder of the Chilean NGO Ecosistemas, discussed with the Deputy Director of the German Development Institute (DIE), Dr. Imme Scholz, the importance of community involvement in the decision making process of large scale “development” projects that affect the social and ecological livelihoods of people. A special emphasis was put on collaborations and on information spreading between the affected people, activists and policy advisors. Additionally, two participants of the RLC/AGdD workshop spoke on the panel; Ms. Sandhya Kumar presented research findings on how policies are established practically in local communities, using the example of “Right to Food” in India. Wolfang Dörner, peace consultant for the “Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst”, gave insight into challenges in creating grassroot organisations and networks in the conflict-ridden and mineral-rich southern Philippines. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Merjam Wakili (Deutsche Welle) and supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
From September 2 to 7, 2017, 24 scientists, practitioners and PhD students from 17 different countries came together at the RLC Campus Bonn to discuss and analyse research and practice concerned with human rights, governance and marginalized people in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The transdisciplinary workshop, jointly organised with the Association of German Development Services (AGdD), focused on the nexus between economic development, ecological balance, and on rural livelihoods of marginalised people. Right Livelihood Award Laureate Juan Pablo Orrego (1998) participated and gave insights into his lifelong work and engagement against large-scale dam projects and for the protection of Chilean ecological and social systems.
On September 5th 2017, RLC Bonn organized a public panel discussion with Juan Pablo Orrego and the Deputy Director of the German Development Institute (DIE), Dr. Imme Scholz at the Adult Education Center Bonn. Read more!
Fidelis Allen, coordinator of the Right Livelihood Campus Port Harcourt, contributed a chapter to the book “Decolonizing the University, Knowledge Systems and Disciplines in Africa” edited by Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni and Siphamandla Zondi. In his chapter “Decolonising African Political Science and the Question of the Relevance of the Discipline for Development” he argues that American Political Science still dominates the field of Political Science worldwide even though analyses based on these dominating western political theories often fail to connect with African reality. He calls for a new understanding of development and political science by critically reflecting Western methodologies and complementing them by new scientific approaches.