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In Kenya, the fight for the rights to Yala swamp was hard-won when a large company took lease over the land on which a community had lived for generations.

Political space

The unequal and unjust power relations that lead to poverty are perpetuated by large corporations and globalisation, while governments pursue power and wealth, leading to systematic corruption and sabotage of institutions. These failures of governance impede people’s opportunities to fulfil their rights, and to rise out of poverty: this particularly affects the most vulnerable.

Democratic governance was designed to respond to these issues, but in many countries democratic institutions have lost value and legitimacy. This could be due to informal power structures – based on factors like class, religion, or history – remaining stronger than the formal structures. In some countries, corporations control political processes, including the media, with serious implications for the legitimacy and freedom of democracy.

Within this challenging context, we find hope in the struggles of social movements and civil society. The agenda and actions of social movements, civil society and their emerging platforms represent an emerging force to build citizenship and rebalance power. These spaces of freedom and democracy can begin to counter the centralisation of wealth, knowledge and power. From local to global levels, these movements have tremendous potential to transform democracy and build fairer governance.

Latest

A protester in Zambia calling out corruption
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The #42for42 fire trucks protest

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James Mzungu shows a copy of the Title Deed acquired by Mbulia Group Ranch in 2006, more than 20 year after he had been living there.
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Conservation or land grabbing? The case of Mbulia Group Ranch

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The Apaa community triumphantly ends the month-long occupation
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Never Give Up: the struggle for a birthright

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Preparing the banana crop for sale, that the community depends on
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The threat to the community of Vhimba

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Zandile, an LGBTI activist from South Africa
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The Rainbow Activists

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Migrant women launch the Yo Soy Somos (I Am We Are) exhibition
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Migrant women’s resilience in Spain

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News

We denounce the criminalisation of human rights defenders and require guarantees for Claudia Samayoa and Jorge Martínez

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Margarita represents the case of communities affected by the contamination of La Pasión River in Guatemala.
Opinion

Time for a complete U-turn on natural resource management

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Opinion

Our civic space is shrinking. Here's how we've responded — and you can, too

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A protester in Zambia calling out corruption
Story

The #42for42 fire trucks protest

Read more
James Mzungu shows a copy of the Title Deed acquired by Mbulia Group Ranch in 2006, more than 20 year after he had been living there.
Story

Conservation or land grabbing? The case of Mbulia Group Ranch

Read more
The Apaa community triumphantly ends the month-long occupation
Story

Never Give Up: the struggle for a birthright

Read more
Preparing the banana crop for sale, that the community depends on
Story

The threat to the community of Vhimba

Read more
Zandile, an LGBTI activist from South Africa
Story

The Rainbow Activists

Read more
Migrant women launch the Yo Soy Somos (I Am We Are) exhibition
Story

Migrant women’s resilience in Spain

Read more
Shrinking space in Zambia cover
Publication

Shrinking space in Zambia

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attacks_on_civil_and_democratic_space_online-1.png
Publication

Attacks on Civic and Democratic Space

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