While marginalised communities, both rural and urban, bear the brunt of the negative environmental and socio-economic impacts of polluting industries such as mining, their voices are not heard in the decision-making processes around where and how these industries will take place. These impacts, including dust and water pollution, cracked houses, dewatering of aquifers, and deprivation of land, are often felt most by communities that rely directly on the land. Communities rarely have the information or technical expertise to properly understand and challenge the industries and their impacts.
The project aims elevate community voices in environmental decision and policy making, and to facilitate community engagement, sharing and unification around the environmental and socio-economic impacts of polluting industries, such as mining, on people living in affected areas. The project will promote the human rights of communities affected by polluting industries and by capacitating, empowering and uniting them. This will be achieved through, inter alia, training, mobilisation and networking in order to enable them to defend their rights to a healthy environment, to culture and to benefit from their land. This is consistent with Centre for Environmental Rights’ (CER) theory of change which starts with an empowered communities asserting their rights, pushing for compliance with the law and holding government and the private sector accountable for any violations of the law.