Stories from the Grassroots: The Greengrants Blog

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    How Small Grants Can Make a Big Impact: Taking on Mining in Western Ghana

    Aug 30, 2016 | No Comments

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    In 2004, local farmers in western Ghana didn’t exactly welcome an incoming gold mine with open arms, but they didn’t resist when Canadian company Kinross Mining offered them financial compensation in exchange for building the mine on their lands. But three years later, the farmers learned they had been swindled. By then, the underground and open-pit Chirano Gold Mine was devastating their farmlands.

    The Bibiani-Ahnwiaso-Bekwai district in the western region of Ghana is home to over 100,000 people, lush deciduous forest, and the Ankobra River. Over half of people in the area work as farmers. However, mining is the most lucrative local industry, as the soil is rich in gold and bauxite, an aluminum ore.

    After a community conference where the farmers learned they had been under-compensated, they formed The Concern Citizens Association of Sefwi (COCAS) to demand adequate compensation and to protect the rights of individuals and communities affected by the Chirano Gold Mine.

    Working with local chiefs, the District Assembly, local and national media, and government agencies, the group tried to demand the company pay farmers what they were rightfully owed. They were met with silence. Finally, the group took the case to court, but struggled to find the funding necessary to pay the legal fees.

    With $4,000 from Global Greengrants, COCAS paid for a year of court expenses. This time, the group succeeded.

    The farmers won the case in 2015. All of the 1,124 farmers who had been undercompensated were awarded what they were owed plus 15 percent interest–totaling almost twice the compensation the company had originally provided.

    The grant awarded by Global Greengrants helped COCAS win adequate compensation for each and every farmer. This small amount of funding made a big difference in the lives of the farmers whose livelihoods were severely impacted by the mine, demonstrating that the right amount of money at the right time can go a long way in the hands of local people.

     

    Photo Credit: Jonathan Hubschman

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      Activism Around the World: Highlights from August 2016

      Aug 23, 2016 | No Comments

      Each year Global Greengrants Fund makes over 700 grants to environmental activists around the world, helping to support grassroots initiatives to protect the planet and the rights of the people who call these natural places home. We wish we could… Read more

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        Majandra Rodriguez Acha on the Power of Youth and Women in Achieving a Sustainable Future

        Aug 16, 2016 | No Comments

        Majandra Rodriguez Acha is one of six advisors to our Next Generation Climate Board, a group of twenty something climate leaders that recommend grants to youth-led climate initiatives all around the world. Majandra, native to Peru, is also a Global… Read more

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          Water on the World’s Fourth Largest Island: Madagascar

          Aug 11, 2016 | No Comments

          Photos and words by Greg Miller, Donor Advised Fund Program Officer Baobab trees and lemurs. Vast parched deserts and wet, dense rainforests. What springs to mind when you think of Madagascar? For me, it’s water. The world’s fourth largest island… Read more

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            Celebration Along the Congo River: World Bank Suspends Support for a Mega-Dam Project

            Aug 9, 2016 | No Comments

            For people living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, July 25 was a day to celebrate. The World Bank suspended support for a mega-dam called Inga 3, which had the potential to cause massive environmental degradation and threaten the… Read more

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              3 Ways Grassroots Environmentalists Are Saving Their Oceans

              Aug 4, 2016 | No Comments

              Oceans are home to over half of all life on earth. Yet, as oceans are mined, oil drilled, polluted, and overfished the negative impacts to people’s livelihoods and marine ecosystems are increasing. Here are a handful of ways Global Greengrants’… Read more

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                4 Grassroots Wins Amid the Chaos of the 2016 Rio Olympics

                Aug 2, 2016 | No Comments

                Just four days before the 2016 Summer Olympics are to kick off in Rio, injustice and corruption in Brazil seems to have gone from bad to worse to horrendous. Government kickbacks. The systematic eviction of families from the city’s favelas,… Read more

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                  Activism around the World: Highlights from July 2016

                  Jul 25, 2016 | No Comments

                  Each year Global Greengrants Fund makes over 700 grants to environmental activists around the world, helping to support grassroots initiatives to protect the planet and the rights of the people who call these natural places home. We wish we could… Read more

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                    Success in Guatemala: Supreme Court Suspends License for El Tambor Gold Mine

                    Jul 21, 2016 | No Comments

                    Have you ever felt so strongly about something that you were willing to stay up day and night indefinitely to make your dream a reality? The people who live in La Puya, Guatemala know all about that kind of perseverance,… Read more

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                      Indigenous People Tried to Turn the Tables and Save Lake Poopó

                      Jul 19, 2016 | One Comment

                      Fishing boats used to abound on Lake Poopó in Bolivia’s dry altiplano. The lake was the lifeblood for the Uru-Murato indigenous people, who survived off the lake’s abundant fish and flamingo populations. But years of rising temperatures, poorly planned irrigation… Read more