Melania Chiponda is a human rights defender based in Harare, Zimbabwe, focusing on women’s economic, social and cultural rights, particularly women living in rural areas. She has worked for more than 15 years challenging large-scale mining projects and the devastating impacts these projects had on women living in rural areas in Africa. She is now a PhD Candidate in Development Studies with the Women’s University in Africa. Her PhD focuses on critiquing the current development model which strips peasant women and indigenous groups of their land, rivers, forest resources and other natural resources which are crucial for their survival. In her research she is seeking to inform an alternative development model for Africa which is informed by the needs and aspirations of African women, particularly those living in rural areas. She is currently focusing her research on women’s access to energy and their right to development.