Other Worlds Are Possible Giving Circle

The Other Worlds Are Possible Giving Circle provides an opportunity for funders and activists to learn about “just alternatives” to dominant economic and social systems. The Giving Circle pools financial resources and distributes small grants to organizations that build “just alternatives” around the world. Formed as a learning community in 2008 with support from Aepoch, the Circle strives to contribute to the body of knowledge about alternatives, and how to fund them respectfully and effectively. Open to individual donors, staff and trustees of philanthropic institutions, the Giving Circle also invites participants from the grassroots movements that are developing these alternatives to become members. Fiscal sponsor: Grassroots International.

To read a summary of their work, please click on the name of each organization.

AFRICA

Kenya

National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK)
Summary: As an organization of healthcare providers, the National Nurses Association of Kenya and its members routinely bear witness to the devastating health impacts that result from drinking contaminated water. Between 1993 and 2003 alone, the mortality rates for children under five in Kenya increased from 96.1 to 114.6 per 1000. Since nurses account for 80% of healthcare delivery in the country and spend relatively more time with their parents than other providers, the group has launched a safe water initiative to address this growing problem. Funds for this project would be used to build the capacity of nurses to improve access to water (particularly for children) and raise awareness about safe hygienic practices. Funds will also be used to continue collaborating with the Central Organization of Trade Unions and the Consumers Information Network in a campaign entitled, “Water is a right—demand it!” which will strengthen the Nurses Association’s visibility to contribute to the national debate about the right to water. These women are uniquely positioned to push for policy reforms through mobilization of their deep ties to the Kenya trade union movement, local and national health associations, and social justice groups in the region.

Mali

AZHAR (meaning family link in local language Tamachek)
Summary: AZHAR, an organization operating in the arid region of northern Mali (part of the Sahel), was formed in 2002 to improve the quality of life and working conditions for vulnerable populations through support for self-defined and self-directed community initiatives. Funds would be used to inform and mobilize citizens to work toward broader access to water and sanitation systems for personal and agricultural use through well-digging projects and implementation of other environmental projects that protect the quality and quantity of the precious local water supply. This organization offers a comprehensive and participatory approach to integrated development and natural resource management with a special focus on reaching extremely disenfranchised minority populations in a region of the country that has been devastated by severe droughts multiple times throughout the 20th century that have left thousands of people without access to water.

Mozambique

Estamos
Summary: ESTAMOS is a Mozambican organization seeking to improve rural and suburban community health through integrated water, sanitation, and nutrition programs, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, education and advocacy. Through this initiative, access to sanitation for people living with HIV and AIDS will be improved through a home-based latrine/composting project. ESTAMOS has found that diseases resulting from a lack of access to sanitation debilitate sick people further and serve as a major barrier to their work. Since treatment plans are often abandoned due to foot shortages, this project will include promotion of food production for patients through the construction of ecological latrines for 400 families. ESTAMOS serves as a strong example of how the efficient use of human waste can simultaneously improve water quality, community health, and increase the production of nourishing food.

South Africa

Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP)
Summary: The Coalition Against Water Privatisation was formed in 2003 to resist the alarming trend that is increasingly placing control of the country’s water supply in the hands of private interests. This move would signal a government prioritization of profit maximization over universal access. After a highly visible and contradictory ruling in March, the Coalition will continue its legal battle in the coming year. Funds would be used to continue raising awareness about the importance of access to water (especially for women), mobilize key communities to action, and launch a campaign against the next phase of the World Bank-funded Lesotho Highlands Water Project.

ASIA

India

International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB)
Summary: The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal is a broad-based Indian coalition working toward justice for the survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide toxic gas leak. Funds would be used to install public taps to distribute high quality, piped drinking water to 15,000 people living in a region of India whose groundwater supply was contaminated by the residual effects of what many consider to be the worst industrial accident of all time.
Manthan Adhyayan Kendra
Summary: Manthan Adhyayan Kendra works to research, analyze, and monitor the water and energy sectors in India. Funds would be used to conduct and disseminate research on the impacts of water and energy privatization on prospects for equitable, just, and sustainable development in India, with a special focus on sharing alternatives being developed throughout the country.

LATIN AMERICA

Brazil

Pólo Sindical (Union Complex of Rural Workers of the São Francisco Submédio)
Summary: Polo Sindical is a leading organization in the fight against water insecurity in the drought-prone Northeast region of Brazil that advocates for government transparency in water projects in the region and again the unquestioned dominance of hydropower in Brazil’s energy production policies. Funds would be used to 1) mobilize the communities affected by these dam projects in support of informed participation in the defense and guarantee of their rights, 2) encourage public and private entities to support defense of people living near the river, and 3) track and evaluate all decision made that could impact dam construction. This strategy is based on experience demonstrating that small communities with rain-water capturing cisterns is a much more efficient and ecologically sustainable method for relieving the effects of the Northeast’s dry season and droughts than large-scale dam projects.

Honduras

Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of HONDURAS (COPINH)
Summary: COPINH is a Honduran group that is strengthening community organizations already working to build alternatives to the current paradigm for water access. They fight along-side community organizations that are involved in the struggle to resist the privatization of their rivers and the construction of large-scale, private sector hydroelectric dams. Funds would be used to strengthen the growing popular movement in favor of water as an inalienable human right, through extensive public education and pressure on the government to cancel the draft water law currently in congress.

Mexico

Otros Mundos
Summary: Otros Mundos is a Chiapas-based collective founded to search for alternatives to the social, economic, political, and environmental crisis in Latin America. Funds would be used for two purposes: 1) to continue with year two of the School for Water and Energy (Escuela para Agua y Energia), an initiative launched in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas in 2008 to build the capacity of local communities to gain universal access to and protection of water and 2) to prepare, organize, coordinate and carry out first a national and then an international meeting of communities impacted by mines and dams in August 2009 and March 2010, respectively.
Drinking Water Systems of Xoxocotla
Summary: This Mexican group was initially formed to advocate for community-managed water systems, constituting one of the country’s first successful citizen responses to the threat of privatization of the public water supply. In 2006, the group mobilized a coalition that has grown to represent 50 villages throughout the state of Morelos in resistance to government-backed real estate investment in the region, which would give a disproportionate use of a diminishing water supply to the wealthy. Funds would be used to expand coverage of household-level water supply to new neighborhoods. The community has experienced rapid growth in recent years as rural to urban migration has pushed more and more people to look for housing beyond the mega metropolis of Mexico City. This group provides a vivid illustration of how strong citizen mobilization in defense of public goods can prevent the unnecessary flow of profits from communities into the pockets of private companies with no long-term interest in community well being.

Peru

Frente de Defensa del Agua of the Junin Region (FREDEAJUN)
Summary: A grassroots group largely led by poor Peruvian women in the city of Huancayo has shown that a strong movement of citizens and workers can win the fight against privatization of water services and gain cheap and reliable access. A coalition of grassroots groups, Frente de Defensa del Agua of the Junin Region (FREDEAJUN) developed a public-public partnership as an alternative to the privatization of their water. Through a participatory process that is based on feminism and empowerment of the most marginalized, FREDEAJUN secured their water through co-management by a Peruvian public utility and a union-managed water utility in Argentina. Today, they continue their struggle to ensure that this precious resource remains in the public domain and to clearly articulate their vision for construction of an alternative to privately funded system management and upkeep in the future.

Uruguay

National Commission for the Defense of Water and Life (CNDAV)
Summary: The National Commission for the Defense of Water and Life was formed to resist the trend toward private control of water resources in Uruguay and neighboring South American countries. Through a series of successful constitutional reforms, the Commission and other civil society groups are now pressuring the government to ensure that amendments—which move the country toward a public-public model and away from a public-private model of partnership for protection and delivery of water resources—are implemented, and that the process is participatory and ecologically sensitive. Funds would be used to conduct a comprehensive public education campaign targeted at raising citizen awareness around the intrinsic value of water as a human right and a public good that must be preserved for future generations.
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