Collective Action for Regeneration of the Web of Life in the Face of Disruptive Injustice
In this chapter, we explore the ways in which collective awareness of possibilities to act in the face of social and environmental justice became activated in a community in Uganda. We concentrate on community participants’ joint reflections around the operations of a foreign-owned factory that was set up in Koch Goma Subcounty, Nwoya District in northern Uganda. The factory was set up for the agroprocessing of fresh cassava to produce denatured alcohol that could be used for cooking and lighting purposes. In principle, the (constructive) idea as mooted to the locals was that the company would contribute to the local economy in various ways, for example, by employing workers in the processing factory and by paying local farmers to produce the needed cassava. However, our research – based on the facilitation of four focus groups in the area – concluded that the modus operandi of the factory turned out in the main to be a source of anguish to the locals. Their experiences, as reflected upon in their community meetings and further discussed in our focus group fora, have demonstrated that the unregulated operation of foreign owned investments can become a major source of poverty, economic disempowerment, and public health concern. The chapter focuses on some of the ways in which community participants developed a sense of collective agency to draw the attention of the district leadership and national environmental protection agencies to the disruptive effects of this factory as well as a foreign-owned road construction company and how this panned out to date.
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