Community-led research on corporate capture and the rights to land, housing and natural resources

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
ESCR-Net's first community-led research project


We’re excited to start the Network’s first community-led research project! 

The project brings together seven grassroots groups from Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America who will gather their own data on issues of corporate capture of government decision-making and its impact on the right to land, housing and natural resources, from a gender angle, and use this data to reinforce campaign and advocacy efforts.

Too often, data used in decision-making around development priorities, economic policies, access to resources etc. do not reflect the lived realities of peoples who are directly affected by these decisions. Instead, public narratives and decision-making processes around socio-economic issues rely on ‘hard evidence’ developed by power-holders like States and corporations, thereby serving their interests.

We are committed to centering the analysis and leadership of social movements and grassroots groups. Our members believe that grassroots groups and communities are the legitimate voice and the main experts regarding the issues that affect them such as inequality, impoverishment and injustice. For this reason, in June, we launched our first project to support grassroots groups in gathering and using their own data to defend their rights to land, housing and natural resources against corporate capture, and in so doing strengthening the role and leadership of women within their groups. We received a total of 12 concept notes from 11 countries Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Europe and identified[1] seven groups that we will be working closely with over the next 18 months. They are:


> Natural Resource Women Platform, Liberia

> Spaces for Change and Community Alliance against Displacement, Nigeria

> Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca and Observatori DESC, Spain


> National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, Sri Lanka

Latin America:

> Consejo de Mujeres Wuxhtaj, Guatemala (part of Consejo de Pueblos Wuxhtaj)

> Fundación Promocción Humana and representatives of the Federation of Agricultural workers of the primary sector (FETAAP), Argentina

> Red Chimpu Warmi, Bolivia (part of the Coordinadora Andina de Organizaciones Indigenas – CAOI)

Each group has proposed an idea for a research project that would inform their collective actions and strengthen the role and leadership of women within their movements. Proposed research ideas include: assessing the impact of corporate-driven land grabbing (through mining, infrastructural projects, agribusiness) on women’s access to natural resources and livelihoods, as well as on the environment; understanding the role of the private sector in driving evictions and displacement in urban areas, which affect particularly women, and influence public narratives and policies around housing; and documenting human rights violations faced by indigenous women environmental defenders to strengthen their leadership and public participation.

Over the course of the next 18 months, these groups will embark in a collective process to develop their own methodologies and tools, undertake field research, analyze the data and develop advocacy strategies and outputs. Project activities will include collective online learning sessions and discussions, technical support for each group at specific stages of the process, and (if possible) field visits and in person exchanges.

Also, in the last phase of this project, groups will undertake a collective analysis of all research findings to develop common demands for a more just and accountable management of land, housing and natural resources which responds to the needs and vision of their communities, particularly of women. This analysis will also reinforce ESCR-Net;s advocacy and campaigning to confront corporate capture.

This process is guided by a diverse and strong advisory group of members with experience in community-led research, which includes:

> Brian Omala (Hakijamii, Kenya)

> Tom Weerachat, (IAP, Thailand),

> Radiatu S Kahnplaye (Green Advocates-NRWP, Liberia)

> Emilie Pradichit (Manushya Foundation, Thailand)

> Oscar Pineda (PODER, Mexico)

> Elida Lauris (Terra de Direitos, Brazil)

> Jessica Mayberry (Video Volunteers, India)

Advisory group members, along with other members of the Network with relevant experience, will work closely with these groups to provide technical support in designing and carrying out the research, complementing peer-to-peer learning between movements and communities.

[1] This selection was made on a number of criteria including our own ability to match the needs of the group and add value to the research, regional balance, and diversity of themes covered, while giving priority to ESCR-Net members.