Activities and Events 2019

Expert workshop with Alumni from sub-Saharan Africa

From July 1 to 3, 2019, the RLC Campus Bonn organised its first Alumni workshop focusing on “Agricultural and Social Transformation – Securing Livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa”. 17 (development) academics and practitioners from more than ten countries in Sub-Sahara Africa presented innovative projects in the areas of natural resource management, agricultural transformation, as well as cross-cutting fields like education, health, and governance. Two representatives of ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’-awarded organisations attended the event;

Dr. David Amudavi, Executive Director of Biovision Africa Trust, Kenya (Right Livelihood Award 2013), gave a talk on the trend towards ecologically sustainable agriculture in Africa. Mr. Jumanta Gakelebone reported on the struggle of the First People of the Kalahari (Right Livelihood Award 2005), and critically discussed the consequences of “development” and “modernisation” to rural communities in Botswana.

Dr. Fidelis Allen, Acting Director of the Centre for Conflict and Gender Studies and Coordinator of the RLC Campus at Port Harcourt University, in Nigeria presented his research on environmental and social consequences of oil extraction in the Niger Delta in Nigeria.

During the three-day programme, the RLC organised trans-disciplinary discussion groups as well science-practice networking meetings at the Federal Office of Agriculture and Food (BLE), the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and IFOAM Organics International.

The event was an excellent opportunity for RLC alumni to establish new professional contacts and exchange knowledge with representatives of ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’-awarded organisations Award, as well as federal offices, ministries, and NGOs working in the areas of development cooperation, agriculture and food.

Laureate representatives discuss alternative development pathways in Africa

On Wednesday, July 3, representatives of ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’-awarded organisations and RLC Campuses spoke about alternative development pathways in Botswana, Kenya, and Nigeria, at a public RLC panel, hosted by the Adult Education Center (VHS) in Bonn.

Dr. Amudavi, Director of Biovision Africa Trust (’Alternative Nobel Prize’ 2013) informed about his actions to improve livelihood and technology transfer among smallholder farmers in Kenya and beyond and said: “Ecological organic agriculture, which is based on agro-ecology, balancing what people do with the environment and the society, is the most appropriate model to peruse for sustainable development.”

In addition, Kenyan researcher Dr. Juliet Wanjiku, RLC Campus Bonn PhD Alumna, talked about her research findings on productivity and sustainability of Ecological Organic Agriculture Systems in Kenya, which she conducted in cooperation with Biovision Africa Trust. “Organic agriculture in Kenya is not organic agriculture in Germany. Not using synthetic fertilizers does not make small-scale farming ‘organic by default’.”

Jumanta Gakelebone, representing the Bushmen’s organization First People of the Kalahari (’Alternative Nobel Prize’ 2005) in Botswana, reported on the consequences of “development” and “modernisation” to his people, urging to include local communities in modernisation processes in all African countries. “When our people are being relocated by the government, they live on government handouts. They now see a new way of life they don’t understand. Development should be a choice.” 

Dr. Fidelis Allen, Acting Director of the Centre for Conflict and Gender Studies and Coordinator of the RLC Campus at University of Port Harcourt, in Nigeria described the various environmental, political, and social impacts of oil extraction in the Niger Delta: “In Nigeria, there is no adequate preparation for alternative means of income for the government. The government is intensifying the effort in oil exploration. There are more than twenty oil-producing countries in Africa with huge proven oil reserves, which they hope to assess so they have more growth and more money.”  

The evening was moderated by Dr. Joe Hill, former Senior Researcher at ZEF.

RLC Bonn: “Mobilization for Change”-Workshop 2019

“All the research you are doing is for becoming an actor of change. We have heard about 14 different countries over the last three days, all with the same problems. With one common action we can create change”, said Helen Mack Chang, Laureate the Right Livelihood Award in 1992, about the RLC Bonn workshop “Mobilization for Change: Marginalized people and their access to opportunities and resources in a developing world” in May.

Mack Chang worked with 16 PhD students from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, who presented and discussed their applied research and, during the four-day workshop, built bridges between academia and activism.

The workshop was linked to the Global Media Forum of Deutsche Welle, which this year focused on shifting global power relations and its implications on media and civil society. Mack Chang participated in the TV show “Is civil society driven by networks?” (Sociedad civil: ¿amplificada por las redes?), which was aired all over Latin America and North America.

RLC Bonn PhD candidate conducts field work in Nigeria

Evelyn Ewere Anyokwu, RLC Bonn PhD student, started her field work in Nigeria on oil exploration and bio-economic transition in Nigeria. She conducted interviews with representatives of the Ministry of Energy and Environment, the Energy Commission of Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, and bio-refineries. Evelyn works together with “Alternative Nobel Prize” Laureate Nnimmo Bassey who received the Prize for promoting environmental rights and opposing the harmful effect of oil exploration in Nigeria, as well as with the RLC Campus in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The research is carried out as part of the STRIVE (Sustainable TRade & Innovation Transfer in the Bio Economy) project at ZEF.

RLC Bonn Workshop with RLA Laureate Helen Mack Chang

From May 26-29, 2019, the RLC Campus Bonn organises a large international workshop on “Mobilization for Change: Marginalized people and their access to opportunities and resources in a developing world”. PhD students from all over the world will present and discuss their ongoing research works.

With her long experience and great expertise in the context of Human Rights Right Livelihood Award Laureate Helen Mack Chang is going to support the students with feedback and advice.

The workshop is linked to the Global Media Forum (GMF) of the Deutsche Welle. On the one hand, Helen Chang is going to talk on “Civil society: Driven by networks?” as part of a TV-recording; on the other hand, the workshop participants will also have the opportunity to explore various panels of the GMF with the overall topic of “Shifting Powers”.

Meeting with Denis Mukwege’s Université Evangélique en Afrique

On January 14, 2019, the RLC Bonn hosted a work meeting with representatives from the Université Evangélique en Afrique (UEA). Denis Mukwege, who received the Right Livelihood Award in 2013 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year, is the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health of the UEA.
During the meeting, Dr. Germaine Furaha (Mukwege`s Professorship-UEA Manager) , Rudolf Heinrichs-Drinshaus (international cooperation manager at UEA) , Dr. Till Stellmacher (RLC Bonn coordinator), and Tiemo Pokraka (RLC Global Secretariat coordinator) and discussed possibilities of cooperation between UEA and RLC.

RLA Laureate’s feature documentary screening in Bonn

On Monday, March 25, 2019, the Adult Education Center in Bonn showed the feature documentary on RLA Laureate Yacouba Sawadogo: “The Man Who Stopped the Desert”. Directed by Mark Dodd, it tells Yacouba’s incredible story in Burkina Faso, turning barren land into forest and demonstrating how farmers can regenerate their soil with innovative use of indigenous and local knowledge.

After the film, RLC Bonn Coordinator Dr. Till Stellmacher (RLC Campus Bonn) and Dr. Viridiana Alcántara Cervantes (Federal Office for Agriculture and Food) discussed how Yacouba’s technique can tackle climate change and desertification.

PhD student Alejandro Mora-Motta publishes article on tree plantations in Chile

RLC PhD student Alejandro Mora-Motta (Bonn and Valdivia) published an article on "Tree Plantations in Chile: Towards a more sustainable model". The article addresses Chilean pine and eucalyptus plantations and the restructuring of forestry policy from extractivism towards a more sustainable model. Mora-Motta argues that the practical and discursive elements of forestry policies offer opportunities for a new expansive phase of plantations.

Please click here to retrieve the full article in Spanish.

Bibliographical Note:
Mora-Motta, A. (2019) "Tree Plantations in Chile: Towards a more sustainable model". In: Gestión y Ambiente, Vol. 21/2 , pp. 100-111.