Catapa's work... divided into "Global South Working Groups", which refer to our direct work with our partner organizations in Latin America; and "Global North Working Groups", which include everything that is carried out from Belgium, where our organisation is based.

Global South Working Groups

The Bolivia Working Group focuses on mining issues in the region of Oruro. They work in close cooperation with the local NGO CEPA (Ecology and Andean People’s Centre). The working group continuously sends out volunteers to work directly with CEPA. Some of the tasks they carry out are a lot of awareness raising in Belgium; and the organisation of fundraising events, such as the setup of “a banquet for Bolivia”, which took place in 2016. They also coordinate projects for water supply for communities affected by mining.

Coordinators: Sara Schaeken and Silke Ronsse

The Colombia Working Group focuses its work on the case of Cajamarca municipality, in the Tolima Department. They work in collaboration with the NGO COSAJUCA (Cajamarca’s Socio-Environmental Youth Group) against the “La Colosa” project, and the Comité Ambiental en Defensa de la Vida. They raise awareness and organise fundraising events in Belgium. Currently there is a volunteer based in Cajamarca helping with the mobilisation against the mining project.

Coordinator: Mattijs Van den Bussche

A visit from Gloria Chicaiza as one of our guest speakers during the 2018 Open Min(e)d week formed the start of a collaboration between Catapa and Acción Ecológica, an Ecuadorian environmental organisation. This has led to the establishment of the Ecuador working group. The working group will work together with Acción Ecológica to campaign against the mining project ‘El Mirador’. This copper mine is situated in the area of Cordillera del Condor, a mountain range in the Eastern Andes. The project constitutes a threat to the local environment and to the rights of local communities living around the mine.

Coordinators: Silke Van Caenegem and Nicky Broeckhoven

The Peru Working Group supports farming and indigenous communities in Cajamarca, Peru, through cooperation with the local NGO Grufides, which since 2010 strive against Yanacocha mine and its threatening extension, the “Conga” project. They give visibility to the emblematic case of Maxima Acuña and the criminalization of protests and activism by the authorities and companies. The working group supports Grufides and other partner organisations by spreading awareness and solidarity via social media; and by setting up new projects regarding water issues and the rights of indigenous people. They also support and help the community mobilise through fundraising events in Belgium.

Since 2018, they also work closely together with our new partner organisation, The Chaikuni Institute. The first volunteer is already in Iquitos, where the organisation is based. They are developing a project together concerning oil-exploitation in the region; and are working together on the Sui Sui Program, which aims to help indigenous young people get an education and use the acquired knowledge to help their communities.

Coordinator: Irene Borra

Global North Working Groups

The Comov Working Group works on communication and movement. The Comov volunteers work on communication activities, which include maintaining the CATAPA website and social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and producing the CATAPA newsletter. In order to stay updated with case details, they work in close collaboration with the South working groups and share information, which go from general updates to press releases.

The movement strand of this group covers a supportive and enabling framework for all volunteers and working groups. They also carry out tasks, such as the organisation of activities, from volunteer weekends/events to gathering volunteers for public mobilisation.

Coordinators: Laura García and Jonathan Janssens

The Education Working Group focuses on raising awareness through formal education. They develop educational material and organise workshops, seminars, debates and information sessions in primary and secondary schools and universities. They also support other ways of awareness raising, including photo exhibitions, documentary festivals and trainings.

Coordinators: Jozefien Desaever and Nóra Katona

The working group “Study & Lobby” aims to support the general and country-specific working groups and the office team of Catapa in projects for which research or advocacy is needed. As such, the aim is twofold.

The study branch of the working group conducts research carried out at the request of our partners or working groups on mining-related topics in order to support Catapa and partners in capacity-building. The results are used to inform our volunteers, partners and/or other stakeholders and may be used to increase awareness to the general public or political institutions. The research will also enable a legitimate scientific, technical and political dialogue, which can be used for meditation and the prevention of mining conflicts. Research topics include, but are not limited to:

    • The social, ecological and economic impact of mining extraction worldwide, including cases not monitored by Catapa
    • Alternative methods and technologies for extraction
    • Alternative methods of (sustainable) development
    • International and regional law and policies on mining and criteria for ‘good practices’ for companies for sustainable extraction
    • Conflict prevention and conflict mediation or legal and non-legal strategies for affected communities to exercise their rights
    • Theories of globalisation and neo-colonisation
    • Analysis of mining companies (strategies, investors, shareholders, …)
    • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and corporate accountability
    • Production and consumption chains analysis
  • International institutions and networks directly or indirectly working around mining-related topics.

In order to promote research on these topics, the Study & Lobby workgroup also develops research topics and questions and supports individual thesis students in writing their thesis on a mining-related topic. 

The lobby strand is responsible for networking strategies and advocacy on mining-related topics in order to promote and protect the environment and human rights, in consultation with our partners and other working groups. It also seeks to foster inter-institutional cooperation on the Flemish, Belgian and European level.

Coordinator: Silke van Caenegem

The Translation working group is responsible for translating all content relevant to CATAPA (articles, website information, workshops, materials…) between the three languages we work with: Dutch, English and Spanish.

Coordinator: Silke Ronsse