This area of work embraces a number of inter-linked foci. Firstly, consent from a women’s rights perspective. Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) is a key tool some organisations are employing in their countries to safeguard communities and their lands/natural resources. However, since women in traditional communities are generally not regarded as full members of these communities, securing the right of consent for women presents significant challenges. The question is to be opened up through a January 2016 roundtable of key thinkers and activists principally from Africa, with some participants from Asia and Latin America, which will determine an ‘agenda’ for work regionally. A paper or series of papers on the theme of consent (and related questions of women’s land and tenure rights, and status in traditional governance systems) will be written and launched in 2016. Consent is an extremely important tool to bolster community struggles against destructive development projects, and lay the basis (if these proceed) for fair and just compensation and benefit.
However, consent cannot address the linked question of development paradigm and economic planning. Which brings us to the second major foci of this area of work: the deepening of development alternatives, which we have been working to conceptualise and construct for two years. Starting in 2016, WoMin will work with the widest range of allies and stakeholders in two countries to arrive at ‘blueprints’ of alternative national economic development plans. These plans would provide a 21st century, feminist vision of development, tackling unpaid labour, public services, agro-ecology and food sovereignty, energy, transport, infrastructure and other long-standing development challenges in Africa. Methodologically, the work would be undertaken through formal research, and through grassroots dialogues with key collectives and movements of women. The work would involve the widest range of allies – environmental and climate justice movements, peasant and land organisations and federations, the wider women’s movement, and where feasible organised workers – drawing in their work and efforts on alternatives.
African Roundtable on Extractives, Mega Infrastructure and Women’s Right of Consent
In December 2016, WoMin convened over 35 community activists, practitioners and theorists to Nairobi, Kenya for a roundtable to grapple with concepts of consent. The report for this process as well as useful resource documents is below.