Global Community Partnerships
Creating working links between communities in Scotland and around the world
Building understanding between people here in Scotland and communities facing parallel problems around the world is something that is central to SEAD’s approach. Through Switch On to Climate Change, we use testimonies and case studies of community action from all over the world as a way to inspire and exchange information and ideas between communities. We are co-operating with the International Association for Community Development in their project to link communities fighting climate change in Scotland with others in the Majority World.
This year sees the 10th anniversary of our successful exchange with groups in South Africa, a project which inspired a new approach in many community activists in Scotland. We have been working to revisit that exchange, restoring the links, and finding out how things have change since we shared so many experiences.
Working with communities in Ecuador
Five years ago we joined forces with Friends of the Earth Scotland to run an action-packed tour of community groups in Scotland, with two Ecuadorian activists who came from communities that faced adversity as a result of oil exploitation. Jose Luis Guevara’s home town was engulfed in flames as a result of an oil pipeline leak which resulted in the death of 28 people. They later won $11Million in damages from the Ecuadorian oil company PetroEcuador, and are currently working on a community development program using this money. Fidel Aguinda is from an indigenous Cofan community in the Amazonian rainforest. Their lands have been polluted and their people are suffering from many diseases as a result of oil exploitation.
The tour was a great success and mutual inspiration between the Ecuadorians, and Scottish people working on issues including reforestation, community development and the opposition of a highly polluting fish farm development. We continue to keep good links with Jose Luis and Fidel.
Grassroots partnerships between Scotland and the Dominican Republic
On September 22, 1998, the strong winds of Hurricane Georges caused severe damage to a large part of the Dominican Republic. Soon after, a partnership formed between SEAD and some of the communities who were working to shape a positive future from the destruction left by the hurricane.
More than 300 people died and damage throughout the country was estimated at more than $US 3 billion. The rural communities of Zambrana-Chacuey were severely affected and at the end of 1998 they found themselves with little help from outside. The damage to their facilities paralised and devastated the production of the Federacion Campesina and the Associacion de Productores Agroforestales de Zambrana y Chacuey (APA). Worse still, the livelihood of most people, farming production, virtually disappeared in the area.
SEAD teamed up with agroforestry farmers in the Dominican Republic to support their efforts to recreate the building blocks of a sustainable local economy and a resilient community. The ensuing partnership worked well, and is a good example of how fruitful this kind of partnership can be. You can download a copy of the case study of the project in English or Spanish from this website.