The counterpower has to be smarter than its opponents
The counterpower does not accept 'business as usual' because it is not fair. The race after the big money is not leading to happiness for everyone, and is usually not good for, for example, the environment or women.
But 'business as usual' is big and powerful, and the counterpower is a minority. Therefore you have to be smarter than your opponent. Often it is convenient to form coalitions so that you are not alone and can inspire each other.
Both ENDS tries, as a member of the global counterpower, to change things both structurally at international level and at the grassroots level. It is this connection between local realities and the high level what makes working at Both ENDS useful and interesting.
A good example comes from South Africa, where women stand up against mining companies in a township in Mpumalanga. I would not call them a real counterpower yet, because they still have no power, but the first steps have been made: the women have united their forces, made their voices heard and are developing their capacity to defend their rights. In the end, counterpower must come from these kind of groups!
They are now engaged in a lawsuit. This will not make the mining disappear from their region, as there are too many vested interests involved. But they can perhaps claim some compensation and thus gain recognition for their problems.
Simultaneously, Both ENDS can ask attention on an international scale for their situation, which serves as an example of the problems faced by many communities worldwide. Moreover, Both ENDS promotes the compliance with human rights standards by both governments and companies at the UN Human Rights Council.
Sabina Voogd is international capital flows advisor at Both ENDS
Also see our short movie about the women in Mpumalanga:
Read more about this subject
News / 16 November 2018
Silence can sometimes say more than a thousand words. When colleagues from our partner organisations tell us their stories,* our reaction is often silence; a dejected silence.
News / 21 September 2017
September 22nd websites of civil society organisations and NGO's all over the world will go black, in protest and solidarity. Protest against the shrinking space for civilians and organisations to speak out, unite and protest peacefully.
Blog / 25 November 2016
This is the text of the speech given by Danielle Hirsch on the 'Nacht van de Tegenmacht' (Night of Countervailing Power)
Blog / 13 September 2016
To me, our partner organisations are a significant counterpower. Both ENDS supports them to raise their voices in policy discussions. This way I also see myself as a 'counterpower' against the current economic system.
Blog / 23 March 2017
Whenever I see pictures of the people in the Dutch province of Groningen whose houses are collapsing because of gas extraction and who, even if they wanted to move somewhere else, would never be able to sell them, I can't help but think of all the people worldwide who have been experiencing the same problems, sometimes for decades. Every time I see the anger and powerlessness of the people of Groningen, the comparison to the many people we have been working with for many years in many parts of the world comes to my mind.
External link / 29 September 2008
The JWH Initiative aims to stimulate leadership of young people in environmental Civil Society Organizations in order to secure dedicated, knowledgeable and skillful leaders for the environmental movement in the developing world.
The JWH Initiative aims to stimulate leadership of young people in environmental organisations by giving small grants to individuals to expand their knowledge, experience and training.
News / 9 December 2016
As we celebrate both the 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development (December 4th) and Human Rights Day (December 10th), Both ENDS joins with communities and civil society groups around the world to call on development finance institutions, governments, and businesses to take 3 steps to stand up for Human Rights in development.
News / 28 September 2018
We congratulate Joan Carling, member of the permanent commission on indigenous peoples of the UN, for having received the Lifetime Achievement Award as 'Champion of the Earth' by the UN Environment! This is the UN's highest environmental honor, given to six of the world's most outstanding environmental change makers once a year.
News / 20 October 2016
This week, Laura Zuniga Cáceres, daughter of Berta Cáceres*, visits the Netherlands. She will talk with the directors of the involved departments of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in a colloquium about indigenous right of Leiden University and meet with several Dutch NGO's. Both ENDS asked this brave young woman about the situation in Honduras and her motivation to continue her mother's work.
Blog / 23 September 2016
Guest blog by Debora Calheiros, Brazil
News / 7 October 2018
We are very proud that our director Daniëlle Hirsch has been included again in the ‘Sustainable 100’ (an annual ranking list published by Dutch newspaper Trouw), and has gone up more than 40 spots compared to last year! Danielle was included in the list because of the many things she does with her organisation as a whole, but she got the higher ranking for the way she combines her criticism of the destructive role of the Netherlands as a trading nation and large cause of CO2 emissions in the world (often supported by the Dutch government), with a constructive attitude when it comes to finding alternatives and solutions.
GAGGA rallies the collective power of the women's rights and environmental justice movements to realize a world where women can and do access their rights to water, food security, and a clean, healthy and safe environment.
Publication / 1 September 2017
Publication / 31 May 2018
Publication / 30 May 2017