We are present at the grassroots level, working on the ground with communities.
We believe that while institutions and policies can help shepherd change, people are still the best agents of transformation and that the right and agency for change rests in individuals and communities.
Communities, particularly the poor and marginalized in rural areas, are usually the most to suffer from the negative impacts of chemical use.
The poor have little access to information to chemical risks and few means to change their situation to mitigate the risks or to cope with the risks. Poor people are not organized and are less experienced in influencing policy decision making processes. In many cases, children and women are the most burdened by the impacts of chemicals.
Our work on the ground is focused on building community models of change—helping transform sectors and communities—so that these can be replicated in other parts of the country and the region.
Our projects aim to fully involve communities in advocating for lasting solutions and overall improvement of their areas. We believe that by directly working with communities, change and lasting solutions to problems and challenges can be achieved.
We help build local capacity on safer technologies and processes, conduct community information campaigns, help organize community members to monitor, report and act on toxic chemical concerns in their area and work with schools in instilling sound chemicals management consciousness and practices in the youth.
In working with communities, we pay particular attention to the concerns of women and children by providing spaces, opportunities and linkages in reframing the role of women and perception of children in the community.
This approach helps build a movement for social change by recognizing the power of individuals to identify and effect change, raising awareness and critical understanding of issues and raising the capacity of the community for collective action on their self-identified concerns.
At present our grassroots work is focused on artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) communities where the unregulated use of mercury, a highly toxic element, exposes miners, their families and entire communities to health threats.