Changemakers weekend: working for positive change

CATAPA Changemakers weekend
On friday night dozens of Catapistas gathered in de forest of the Hoge Rielen. It did not end with wonderful forest walks, exciting campfire stories and games. During discussions, workshops and lectures we talked about the local impact of mining and the relation between mining and the ICT sector. The night started, after soup, empanadas en acquaintance, with an introduction in the social and environmental impact of mining.

During the days that followed southworkers shared their experience about live and resistance around (planned) mining projects. Participants were taken on a ‘tour’ along several mining projects surrounding the city of Uyuni. Here in the Bolivian Andes, operating as well as closed mines are polluting the rivers, create health problems and contribute to the disappearing of one of the biggest lakes of the country. Beside the social and environmental impact of mining, one interactive lecture was devoted to the question: What are the drivers behind the mining industry? Quotes of mines and politicians guided the discussion.

ICT sector
Our phones, laptops and computers are partially made of products deriving from the mining industry. Participants where send into the forest and through quizzes, stories and discussions they learned about the supply chain of their phone’s. How are the working condition in a cell phone factory? Which minerals our used in a phone? Where are these minerals found? After the workshop in the forest another lecture focused on the lack of good policies when it comes to ICT. Products are designed for a short lifespan, ICT products are too often not recycled and standards related to workers condition, traceability and repeatability are limited.  

Time for change
These problems call for a change! Therefore the weekend was not only focussed on the problems but especially on the solutions, alternatives and ways to influence the status quo. For example in Bolivia, many households gained access to clean drinking water due to the harvesting of rainwater. The citizens of the Colombian municipality Cajamarca secured their agricultural vocation by means of a referendum which pullet out the mining giant Anglogold Ashanti.

There was also time devoted for improving to skills that enable you the create a positive change for example on how to captivate your audience during presentations. The weekend ended with an extensive action training full of inspiration from different other actions. While brainstorming, Catapistas showed their most creative side and invented several actions. It promises not to end with practicing….