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
External link / 20 July 2021
Solidarity in the face of a global pandemic (Annual Report 2020)
Both ENDS collaborates with civil society organisations (CSOs) worldwide. Building strong, trusting relationships with our partners around the world is absolutely crucial to realising our vision. So when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we immediately responded by reaching out to partners to show our solidarity and to ask them about their challenges and needs.
External link / 21 September 2016
A Southern perspective on the shrinking space for civil society
Publication / 10 July 2019
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
Civil society is being silenced
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
Celebrate countervailing power!
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
Global counter-power is increasing
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
Déjà vu: from Famatina via Orissa and Dakota to Groningen
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 Joke Waller-Hunter Initiative
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.
News / 20 September 2019
Call for solidarity with Philippine environmental rights defenders
We are shocked and alarmed by the news of a planned raid into the headquarters of an environmental organisation in the Philippines. Although the raid has not materialised until now, we are deeply concerned for their wellbeing.
The JWH Initiative: supporting young environmental leaders
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
3 Steps to Stand Up for Human Rights in Development!
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.
External link / 24 August 2022
Supporting civil society to work freely and safely (Annual Report 2021)
Both ENDS aims to ensure that civil society can work freely and safely to influence decision-making related to ecosystems, environmental justice and human rights. In many places around the world, the space for civil society organisations to operate is shrinking. Repression, harassment and violence against environmental human rights defenders – our partners among them – is on the rise.
News / 10 February 2020
Civil society groups assert their right to expose the impacts of palm oil production
Civil society organisations from around the world condemn the statements by representatives of palm oil companies during a meeting with the Malaysian government. In this meeting, the company representatives called critical NGOs "toxic entities" and asked the Malaysian government to not let these NGOs into the country. Both ENDS' partners have published a reaction in which they defend their right "to expose the realities we face in their communities about the impacts of the palm oil sector".
News / 28 September 2018
Joan Carling is awarded with the UN’s highest environmental honor!
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
Laura Cáceres: “By continuing my mother’s fight, I continue the defense of life”
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
Counterpower has to find its own weapons to fight the main power
Guest blog by Debora Calheiros, Brazil
News / 7 October 2018
Our Director ranking 52nd on Dutch ‘Sustainable 100’-list
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.
Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA)
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.
External link / 1 January 2016
Fair, Green and Global Alliance website
The six members of the Fair, Green & Global (FGG) Alliance power voices of people and communities all over the world. We aim to expand civic space, stimulate movements and invest in mutual capacity development. Collaborating with over a thousand partner organisations in countries where people and nature are under constant pressure. Thanks to the strategic partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the six member organizations can make a difference for people across the world. Read more on the FGG website!