Speakers Tour Student Event Ku Leuven

Speaker’s Tour Student Event – Citizens Council: Extractivism and KULeuven

Speaker’s Tour Student Event – Citizens Council: Extractivism and KULeuven

We do not eat gold, we do not drink oil.

(Rosas Duran Carrera, KULeuven Student Event)

During this year’s Speaker’s Tour CATAPA organised several events in student campuses across Flanders. On Monday 7th March Rosas travelled to KULeuven to deliver a striking testimony about the impact of several mining projects on his community and their collective resistance. 

In the second half of the event, students were challenged to question the links between extractivism and their university. For example, KULeuven’s SIM2 Institute works on ‘environmentally friendly’ mineral and material extraction and recycling. The institute works with various extractive companies, such as Nyrstar and Umicore, with a history of environmental and human rights violations and ties to Belgian colonialism.

Speakers Tour Student Event Ku Leuven

The enthusiasm in the room was electric. Students brainstormed several strategies around how we could take collective action to force KULeuven to divest from mining and provide greater transparency. We then planned a further meeting to turn these ideas into a concrete  campaign.

This event was part of the Speaker’s Tour 2022.

Written by catapista Connor Cashell.


KULeuven Institute for Sustainable Metals and Minerals (2022) Industrial Sounding Board,
Available at: https://kuleuven.sim2.be/industrial-sounding-board/
[Accessed 22 March 2022]. 
KULeuven Institute for Sustainable Metals and Minerals (2022) Mission and Vision.
Available at: https://kuleuven.sim2.be/mission-vision/
[Accessed 22 March 2022].
Sanderson, Henry (2019) ‘Congo, child labour and your electric car’, Financial Times, July 7 2019.
Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/c6909812-9ce4-11e9-9c06-a4640c9feebb
[Accessed 23 March 2022]. 
Shepherd, Tony (2021) ‘In the shadow of Port Pirie’s lead smelter,
parents fight a losing battle against contamination’, Guardian, 3 September 2021.
Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/sep/04/
[Accessed 23 March 2022].
Thank you volunteers!

Volunteers’ Week

This week it’s Volunteers’ Week in Belgium, a time to think about and thank the work of all the volunteers who have been collaborating for years to make the CATAPA project possible.

Thanks in a million!!!!

As every year, we have the opportunity to welcome two volunteers in the framework of the European Solidarity Corps, a programme funded by the European Commission that brings young people the opportunity to volunteer around Europe in social and environmental projects. It offers an inspiring and empowering experience for young people who want to help, learn and develop.

Currently, in Belgium, there are a large number of volunteers working on multiple projects, which are managed by JINT (Nationaal Agentschap voor Erasmus+ Jeugd).  

Our two 2021-22 ESC volunteers, Connor and Laura, were invited to participate these days in a gathering with them. A space for volunteer training, to explore the interculturality of the group, to meet international people and to have a meaningful and educational experience.

During the training, bonding activities took place among the volunteers as well as reflection sessions about the volunteer tasks in order to learn from each other.

Do you have nice #catapistas pictures yourself? Send them to communication.sc@vzw.catapa.be! Or share them via social media with #catapistas & don’t forget to tag us on Instagram @catapa_vzw or on Facebook @catapa.belgium.

Are you a catapista yourself? We’d love to hear what you would like us to organise in the future! Share your ideas via this form.

Thanks a lot & see you soon!

Speaker’s Tour 2022 – Overview activities

CATAPA’s next Speakers Tour is coming up!

From the 3rd until the 13th of March we have two Peruvian guests visiting us in Belgium: Rosas Duran Carrera, a farmer and activist from the Valle de Condebamba in Cajamarca, and Mirtha Villanueava, director of our partner organisation GRUFIDES. 

Their days will be filled with awareness raising, networking and lobbying events. They are here to share their struggle against large-scale mining in Peru and how standing up for their rights comes with the risk and fear of being intimidated, stigmatized and persecuted. During their visit, they will talk to students, local and European politicians, the press, civil society organizations and interested citizens. 

Here you can find an overview of activities in which you are able to meet them personally:


4.03: Kick-Off Speaker’s Tour + Public Action

4 March 2022, 18h45, Ghent. 

We start with an internal reception to give a warm welcome to our speakers with our movement, as well as a celebration to kick-off the speaker’s tour. Old and new Catapistas and CATAPA’s partners are invited. Didn’t inscribe yet? Fill in this form: https://forms.gle/v1DBtAh72NNGLqFw8

The Kick Off starts at 19h30, but before that (at 18h45) we already gather at Sint-Pietersplein in Ghent for a public action! During this action we will sing Cajamarcan protest songs, play music and call for the protection of our environmental defenders and for the implementation of the Right to Say No! If you register for the kick off, you will receive all the information about the action too. 


06.03: Ontbijt met een Rebel 

6 March 2022, 9h30, Ghent

It has become a tradition, our annual Breakfast with a Rebel! After a coronabreak last year, we are going for it again this year! Come and listen to five rebels on 6 March with inspiring stories from all corners of the world, while you can feast on the vegetarian breakfast buffet.

More information here.


8.03: Round Table: DEFENSORAS. Tierras que resisten en manos de mujeres

8 March 2022, 19h30, Brussels

Being a woman and defending the land is the double threat faced by women environmental defenders all over the world.

On March 8, we will listen to the testimony of defensoras from Peru, Colombia and The Netherlands/Bolivia. They will share stories about climate activism and their experiences and struggles within the defense of their territories, in order to promote solidarity and to connect different struggles for justice. They’ll also talk about the vital role of women in activism.

Join our cozy round table conversation and get strengthened by stories of hope and resistance of these inspiring Defensoras!

More information about the event here.



7, 9 & 10.03: Student events 

Our guests will go to three universities to talk in four events about their experiences with students. All these testimonies will be followed by an interactive session, in which we will determine some links between the universities and issues related to mining. Together we will brainstorm about solutions and think of ways to present these solutions to the rector!

Three of those four events are public! Also non-students are welcome to take part. Here’s an overview: 


12.03: Re-Connect Restart Party

12 March 2022, 14h, Antwerp

Rosas & Mirtha will share their testimonies at the Re-Connect Restart Party on the 12th of March! This is a Repair Café with all kinds of interesting workshops and sessions, which takes place at Circuit in Antwerp. Rosas & Mirtha will explain why the Right to Repair and going towards a more circular way to produce and consume metals is important to reduce our need for newly extracted raw materials. 

More information here


This year CATAPA is collaborating with Gent Fair Trade for the Speaker Tour activities that take place in Ghent. 

Study and Lobby Working Group Launch

We are pleased to announce the launch of CATAPA’s new Study and Lobby Working Group. The Working Group will produce cutting edge research and lobby on the following themes;


Research Theme 1: Planned Obsolescence: Ctrl Alt Del Campaign

Our current linear model of consumption and production is a driving cause of the climate crisis. In this “throwaway” model, the drive for limitless production and consumption of electronics places quantity above product quality.

Products are made with a limited life span (planned obsolescence) or the design makes repair difficult or unfeasible. Some products are designed to fail, with system faults purposefully incorporated to reduce their lifespan. This is a deliberate strategy on behalf of the electronics industry to encourage users to purchase ‘new and improved’ products. This is planned obsolescence.

Ending planned obsolescence requires policy change on the Flemish and EU level. The planet urgently requires strong politicians willing to take a stand against the electronics industry and implement strict regulation obliging multinational companies to produce eco-designed products. Electronic products must be repairable and made to last, instead of disposable products made to break down quickly and be replaced. 


Research Theme 2: EU Critical Raw Materials

CATAPA strives towards a world in which the extraction of non-renewable resources is no longer necessary. Achieving this requires a fundamental transformation of our society and relationship to nature. 

Under the guise of ‘green mining’, the EU’s Critical Raw Materials list outlines a strategy for the resourcing of over thirty mined resources, such as lithium, deemed ‘necessary’ for the green transition.

Securing such an increased demand for raw materials requires an expansion of mining operations within the EU. More mining will lead to severe negative socio-environmental impacts, such as human rights abuses, pollution and loss of land. The transition to renewable energy must be just. 


Research Theme 3: Right to Say No

A just transition includes local communities having the Right to Say No to mining projects. Under the ‘social licence to operate’ (SLO), a non-binding voluntary commitment to ‘good practice’, corporations are able to greenwash their operations. Local communities have no legal instrument to oppose unwanted mining projects. 

Where local communities resort to direct action to resist mining operations, they are dismissed, labeled as terrorists and face severe repression and human rights violations. 227 environmental defenders were killed in 2020.

Additionally, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system (ISDS), embedded in international trade agreements, enables corporations to sue states, predominantly in the Global South, over opposition to proposed mining projects.

The ISDS system must be dismantled. Fairer, democratic consultation mechanisms must be adopted. Local communities must have the decisive, legally binding say over the fate of mining projects. 


Research Theme 4: Alternatives to extractivism

We’re living in an age of crises. The current mantra and false solutions of endless growth, consumption and subjugation of nature is pushing the planet towards socio-ecological collapse.

So, what is the solution?

To meet this moment, we must dare to imagine and embody bold alternatives such as Degrowth. Our economy must be based on social and environmental justice. We must repair our relationship with nature and recognise our co-existence within the web of life. 


Get involved!

Joining the Study and Lobby Working Group provides you with a means to improve your research and lobbying skills. Your work will support CATAPA’s vision and mission, and will be published on the website and social media platforms. 

There will also be an opportunity within the Working Group to develop other projects, such as an Open Journal, Book Club, Symposiums and more!

Sign up: https://forms.gle/sw7i6tm2ZmNojxzm7 

Want more information? Contact connor.cashell[at]catapa.be

tin supply chain part I

The Tin Supply Chain Miniseries, Part I

Monitoring of the Tin Mines in Bolivia

Since autumn 2020, CATAPA vzw has been partnering up with Electronics Watch – an independent monitoring organisation with experts in human rights and global supply chains – and CISEP – Centro de Investigación y Servico Popular, a local Bolivian non-profit organization – to start monitoring tin mining cooperatives in the department of Oruro, Bolivia. This project was funded by Bread for All (BfA). This work is part of a bigger project organised by CATAPA’s Bolivia Working Group: investigating the tin supply chain, from raw material to end product.

Today we are presenting the first part of this research focussed on important findings related to working conditions and human rights (violations) in the Bolivian tin mines. Later on we will also present the findings related to the Bolivian smelters, the import of tin into the EU and the presence of tin in the electronics sector.

Most important findings of the monitoring of the miners

Infographic tin monitoring project Landscape Banner (3)

The interviews with the miners of the cooperatives indicate that:

  • Miners sometimes have to work below 70m depth (related issues: less oxygen, lung diseases, silicosis) without personal protection
  • Wages are calculated daily, but can become more fixed after time (depending on goodwill of the chief)
  • Cooperative miners are paid based on the amount of mineral extracted, wage levels are very untransparent (often only 1% of the gross value of production, which is very low)
  • The miners work long hours, mostly 6 days a week. Some work 12 to 16 hours a day
  • There is large inequality between male and female workers: females are being paid much less because they mostly get jobs outside of the mining galleries (as it is believed bad luck for women to enter the mines) where they search for value among discarded ore 
  • Occupational safety and health prevention systems are almost non-existent
  • There is no access to drinking water in the workplace

More details about the results and the background of the monitoring project can be found further down this page.

CISEP_Mineral extraction galleries
CISEP_Mineral extraction galleries
CISEP_Heavy machinery, in operation and without adequate protection, lack of physical spacers
CISEP_Heavy machinery, in operation and without adequate protection, lack of physical spacers

Conclusions and future steps

Legally it seems that the Bolivian national laws are not being violated, but rather circumvented, as cooperative workers are legally themselves their own employers. CISEP and Electronics Watch are planning to continue working on this project, ultimately aiming to contribute to improved wages and health and safety conditions for the workers. The next steps, amongst others, will include training the cooperative miners on the importance of prevention and the use of protective equipment. 

This is PART I of our miniseries about the monitoring of the tin supply chain. Once the tin ore is extracted, what happens with it? Stay tuned for part II and III: the findings about the Bolivian smelters and under which circumstances tin is imported into the EU and later on, how and when it ends up in the electronics sector.

CISEP_Wood reinforcement yielding to the weight of drilling malpractice (2)
CISEP_Wood reinforcement yielding to the weight of drilling malpractice (2)

More details and background of the monitoring project in the tin mines

20 surveys and 13 interviews were conducted between May and September 2021. Note that the majority of the interviewed cooperative mining workers were male, less than 28 years old and of Quechua origin. This profile is also the most common one, although some females also work there, and some of them have also been interviewed. The surveys and interviews have taken place in the workplace or at site, lasting approximately 30 minutes up to 1 or 2 hours. They were asked mainly about the following topics: form of income, remuneration, health and safety, possible forms of harassment at work (also in terms of gender), production and working hours. 

Also important to know: the main part of the monitoring took place during the Corona pandemic, which prevented a more constant and continuous monitoring because people outside the exploitation had reduced presence in the mining camp. The research might also have been limited by the fear of some of the interviewees to address certain topics like for example environmental issues.

Actually most of the workers are self-employed. This means that miners are not provided with protective and technical equipment or occupational health and safety, which … makes their work dangerous and unhealthy.

The mining cooperatives

The cooperative system is in practice a system of labour “flexibility” in Bolivia, which reduces labour costs within the internal supply chain. Although the cooperative law states that they are obliged to comply with the social laws (such as the general labour law), this applies only when there is an employee/employer relationship.

The cooperative system is in practice a system of labour “flexibility” in Bolivia, which reduces labour costs within the internal supply chain. Although the cooperative law states that they are obliged to comply with the social laws (such as the general labour law), this applies only when there is an employee/employer relationship.

In reality, mostly this is not the case: the cooperative structure is restricted to being a collective management organization for the purchase and sale of minerals, the administration of social security and the access to metal-rich sites owned by the state. So actually most of the workers inside the cooperative mining area are self-employed as cooperative members (employer-and-employee).

The consequences of this self-employment are that miners are not provided with protective and technical equipment or occupational health and safety, which, together with the lack of protective systems in the workplace, makes their work dangerous and unhealthy. The miners’ teams have to provide their own personal protection equipment: they buy their work tools, they pay for the use of the concentration plant and the machinery, they pay for basic services and for the administrative services provided by the cooperative management.

Also investments in new technology are very limited and maintenance services are practically nonexistent, although there is a mechanical workshop to replace parts of essential equipment. On top of that, equal remuneration among all members is not guaranteed due to this management model of the mining cooperative system in Bolivia.

Labour contracts for apprentices

The people who work in the concentration plant (instead of those inside the galleries) are paid a basic national salary: approximately US$300, although it is not sure if this coincides with the minimum necessary to live, since according to the interviewees the cost of living is approximately US$430. Regardless of this, the cooperative does not even apply the calculation of a minimum wage for all their employees, only to cooperative members who can’t work inside the mine due to their temporal obligation in specific functions (Directors or Supervisory boards) and the possible future associated workers who are working on trial.

On the one hand there is no guarantee that the wages received cover the minimum needs, nor is there any control that the hours per week are less than 48 hours, since the cooperative does not act as an employer, but rather as an administrative manager of the self-employment of its members.

There is also a large inequality between cooperative members and non-cooperative probationary workers (there is a minimum 1 year of external work before getting offered to become a member of the mining cooperative) . If you work under this “apprentice” system,you receive this national minimum wage for 8 hours of work, but you do not receive an increase for overtime or for working on Sunday or holiday, and it is not possible to verify if health insurance is paid by the cooperative.

It is also possible that there are infractions with the apprentice contracts and that there is an unofficial system of labor harassment by the cooperative members during the probationary year. On the positive side, the working hours of the probation workers are controlled and regulated, while the cooperative members work in a system of self-exploitation. 

The miners’ income depends entirely on luck: either they find enough metal-rich ores or they don’t.*

Wages for these workers are calculated daily. They can become more fixed after some first trial time, but this depends on the goodwill of the  person in charge of that new worker. Miners are paid based on the amount of mineral they extract, so the miners’ income depends entirely on luck: either they find enough metal-rich ores or they don’t*. Also the income levels are very untransparent: often it is around 1% of the gross value of the production in the international market, which is very low.

Payment insecurity and overtime

There is no transparent system that ensures equal remuneration amongst the cooperative workers, mainly when the production is delivered to the concentration plant on behalf of the leader of a miners crew. This leader is supposed to distribute the value equally among his/her crew, but here there is no evidence that this happens without discrimination. The crew system has another downside: because the crews are self-managed, the mechanisms for conflict resolution are dealt with within the crew. Only when cases are serious (which is also subjective), they go to the management or Supervisory Council, one of the two official upper organs in the cooperatives, together with the Board of Directors.

Working hours are extremely long for (potential) affiliates and there is a risk of involuntary overtime for all: because there is no control over work schedules there is a danger of overwork and overtime.

They mostly work 6 days a week. According to the survey 91% say that they have worked 7 days a week at some time … 33% say they work 10 hours and 16% say they work 12 hours a day. Since no one controls whether workers are working beyond their own strength, working hours could be lasting even longer than 16 hours.

Some of them argue that given the high price of minerals, they have been working sometimes 16 and 24 hours continuously, because of “their own will”. But since this “will” is linked to generating more income, you could argue that it is not necessarily “their own will”, but “forced” out of necessity. In the survey, 1 person said that they do not work voluntarily but that necessity forces them to do so.

Apparently there is also a recent obligation to work at least 15 days/month (this obligation is linked to the quota from the agreement they have with the local trading company that purchases their ore), and if they do not do so, they are sanctioned.

Next to these inconsistencies, there is large inequality between male and female workers. Women are paid much less. 50% of respondents indicate that women and men are not treated equally in the workplace. Women mostly get jobs outside of the mining galleries, as it is believed bad luck for women to enter the mines.

The women involved in Oruro’s cooperative mining activities are usually elderly widows who lost their husbands in the mines or in related activities, either young girls or single mothers with children. Active participation is limited for them, as it is traditionally believed that their presence inside the mine brings bad luck. Therefore, they mainly work outside, breaking up discarded ore blocks looking for mineral rests, or working in other fields with fewer opportunities to earn a living. In the sales process, it is mainly the women who are cheated and receive an unfair price. Many women work on an informal basis, even outside the framework of the cooperative, so they lack health insurance or a pension fund. In addition, they generally take care of the family and therefore almost always bear a double burden.*

CISEP_Concentrated mineral leaching into waters without environmental measures
CISEP_Concentrated mineral leaching into waters without environmental measures
CISEP_Acidic waters and tailings dam without safety borders
CISEP_Acidic waters and tailings dam without safety borders

Working Conditions: Health & Safety

The interviews that were conducted indicate that miners sometimes work without personal protection, even when working below 70m depth, since that lowest level is being exploited by the cooperative as a whole. It is part of the collective contribution for the cooperative, out of their traditional mining-crew system. They have to help with the common costs of the cooperative by putting their own work at least 3 days a month in this new deep gallery. So it is not only unsafe and unhealthy to work there, but they also feel forced by the cooperative management to work there as an extra, because while those days are paid, the members are required to work inside the mine besides the days they already had to work with their crew to provide for their own income.

That depth is critical because there is less O2 and higher risks for lung diseases and silicosis, among others. They have to work there a minimum of 3 times a month: if they miss 2 times they are penalized and if they miss a 3rd time they lose their affiliation paper (the certificate of contribution to the cooperative) and they have to leave the cooperative. This level is accessed by an elevator system without emergency exit systems.

The interviewees imply that there is no safety plan in place and that occupational safety and health prevention systems are almost non-existent, probably due to the lack of resources from the management. On the contrary there are safety and health officers, but their functions are related to managing accidents and subsequent events, not preventing them!

A physical check shows that the concentration plants are constructions that are more than 50 years old and that there is no proper signage and ventilation. In general there are almost no risk and hazard signs inside the mine, or they are in constant deterioration and there is no plan for replacement of these signs. 

The work inside the mine is excessively cold and humid. There is no access to drinking water in the workplace.They mention that each worker takes his/her own water for daily work. More than 75% of the respondents say they have to stand continuously, sometimes up to 6 or even 12 hours. 3/4 also note that they are exposed to strong vibrations due to rock drilling and blasting and that they have to use heavy machinery.

The drilling of the rock inside the mine is not controlled: it should be done with water to avoid the formation of mineral dust suspended in the air, but there is no water system that reaches all the sites due to the investment cost involved. 74% claim to be exposed to gases and dust from rock blasting.

CISEP_Entrance to galleries in wells without ergonomic conditions or emergency exits.
CISEP_Entrance to galleries in wells without ergonomic conditions or emergency exits.
CISEP_Wood reinforcement yielding to the weight of drilling malpractice (2)
CISEP_Wood reinforcement yielding to the weight of drilling malpractice (2)

Because of these circumstances some miners have developed silicosis (a form of occupational lung disease caused by the inhalation of dust** due to the lack of water in the mining drilling process), rheumatism (due to excess humidity inside the mine) and head tumors (because of sliding rocks inside the mine, due to a lack of reinforcement of gallery infrastructure).

91% say that chemicals are not handled properly and more than 83% claim that there is continuous exposure to unprotected toxic materials such as xanthate and arsenic and that they have been exposed to fumes from the underground, for example those generated by diesel minecarts. The lack of ventilation systems generates a lot of combustion smoke that, according to one interviewees, affects mainly the “older” miners.

66% of the miners complain about occupational safety issues. Since everyone buys their own personal protective equipment, there is no industrial safety and it is not ensured. In the description of personal protective equipment, all describe the use of hearing protectors, respirators (but without a continuous change of filters and limited to the drilling of the rock) and head and feet protection, but no one has spoken about the use of back protectors. This is especially important because the minecarts  are only present in the main galleries and from the undercuts they have to move the ore on their back in backpacks or sacks that carry a weight of about 40 kilos. There is evidence that they have to make walks of up to 30 minutes with this weight on top of them.

Within the mines there are no toilets or excreta disposal systems, therefore it is not allowed to relieve themselves inside the mine, for this they should wait for the change of shifts (7-13, 14-19).

On top of this the miners do not have clear and visible information about their rights within the cooperative: they do not receive an introduction, they lack information about their health insurance and they are poorly treated by the public health system, they are not trained in the handling of tools nor do they receive postural education, they are not taught to use personal protective equipment and so on.

Stay tuned for part II of our miniseries

This is PART I of our miniseries about the monitoring of the tin supply chain. What happens once the tin is extracted? Stay tuned for the findings about the Bolivian smelters and under which circumstances tin is imported into the EU and later on, how and when it ends up in the electronics sector.


Take part in the free escaperoom Re-Connect!

Take part in the free escaperoom Re-Connect!

Always wanted to do an escaperoom, but never got around to it? Fond of your smartphone, but don’t know what’s inside? Then participate in the free escaperoom Re-Connect. Impress your friends by outsmarting them, solve the fun puzzles and riddles and find the tips to free yourself first. In this way you can learn more about the impact of your smartphone on people and the environment in a playful way.

Escaperoom-ReConnect -Bos plus Catapa

There are 3 escaperooms available. In each room you play with min. 4 and max. 8 people. From October 16 to November 27, the escape game will be on the CINOCO site, rue Pierre Van Humbeek 5, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (Brussels). Registration is mandatory! Reservations can be made via this link. The escaperoom is in Dutch, so you’ll need at least one person that understands Dutch. But for most of the exercises you just need to think logical and a good command of Dutch isn’t necessary. 

A group of Catapistas already participated and set a record time! Can you do better? 😉

Escaperoom-ReConnect -Bos plus Catapa

Why this project?  

The average smartphone lasts 2.5 years. Half of the youngsters feel addicted to their smartphone. Moreover, that smartphone is full of materials that require mining. Disturbing figures, because mining is one of the 4 biggest drivers of deforestation. Read why here.

The supply chain of our electronics also causes many other environmental and social problems. A smartphone contains about 62 minerals and metals. Several of these are mined in vulnerable areas, with serious consequences for people and the environment: pollution by chemicals and heavy metals, deforestation, loss of agricultural land and biodiversity, human rights abuses and criminalization. The ICT sector also causes almost 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

So would you like to learn more about the impact of our electronics on people and the environment? Through riddles, discover which minerals are in your smartphone, where they are mined and who bears the consequences?

Don’t hesitate, register as soon as possible and try to beat the record time! Good luck!


Under the direction of BOS+, CATAPA and De Transformisten joined forces for the creation of this escaperoom, as part of the Re-Connect project. For its development, they called on #ANTcollectief.

Cajamarca Art and Unity

Art and unity in Cajamarca

Art and unity in Cajamarca

“What if we sing?”, she asks as she pulled a small paper with some scribbles that formed lyrics out of her pocket. She is one of the Defensoras de la Vida y la Pacha Mama from Cajamarca. We are in the middle of our latest workshop on citizen journalism and human rights and we are just chitchatting while lunch is being served. “What if we sing?”

And we sing. Not just to pass time waiting, but to get our message through, to come closer. Quickly the participants of the workshop gather together, have a look at the lyrics, and sing. About the beautiful lakes of Cajamarca, the mining projects destroying them, about their resistance, their fight and never giving up.

My mother and I wrote this song as we were protesting against Conga”, the woman tells us, “we sang it in the streets, we sang it everywhere. And it is still accurate

Human Rights

The song became the common thread during the rest of our workshop. We had come together in a training session organized by our partner organization Grufides in Cajamarca, Peru, together with Chaikuni in Iquitos, as part of a project financed by the province of Oost-Vlaanderen. It focuses on empowering rural and indigenous women for the defense of fundamental and collective rights in socio-ecological conflicts in both of these regions.

A big and important part of this project consists of organizing training sessions on two main topics: human rights and citizen journalism.

The first topic informs about human rights with the idea that “you can´t defend your rights if you don´t know them”. So that´s why for the last year and a half we have been working with people, mostly women, from different communities in Cajamarca on different matters: human rights, environmental rights, violence against women, intercultural health and so forth.

Coming together to talk about experiences in different communities is of great importance. It helps to know that people in other regions have to go through similar problems, to hear the outcome of similar struggles, and to know other communities support you in this fight to defend your rights.

Citizen Journalism

The second topic we work on during these training sessions is citizen journalism. How can these communities make sure the rest of the world knows what they are going through? How can they make sure everyone is aware of the cases they are fighting for?

Journalism and means of communication are important tools to address the violation of collective and fundamental rights in these communities. Nowadays, journalism can be one of the most powerful tools to defend your rights.

This is why during these sessions we focus on making videos, photographs, writing notes, making radio programs and radio spots. We learn about storytelling, how to use social media and hashtags and most importantly: we do this together.

Our main focus during the last few sessions was to work on a regional and national campaign between the different communities involved in this project. The participants themselves came up with goals for this campaign, with their target audience, and during this last session: their strategy.

Art as a strategy

The participants decided to focus on three specific cases for this first campaign and came up with four different strategies to reach their audience: a video, in which we could show a before and after related to the mining projects in their region, a study on the water quality, a key figure who can tell their story from their own perspective and last but not least, art.

We can paint. We can paint murals all over Cajamarca, all over Peru. We can sing, we can write more songs, like the one we just sang. We can use poetry. We can make theatre. We are all creative, we all have capacities. And we can use art as our strategy

The ideas on how to use art in our campaign kept flowing. “When Máxima Acuña was told to tell her story in the international press, she didn´t tell it. She sang it. And it was so much more powerful, it transmitted so many emotions. I still get goosebumps thinking about it,” someone said, “we can do this too. Our stories are powerful too. They just need to be heard.”

To end this day-long session, we asked the participants what they learned. “That together we are stronger”, someone said. “That we can use our art to let the world see our reality”, someone added. Art and unity. That´s what we learned today. Art and unity. We will stand together and sing. And our voices will be heard.

Ctr alt del logo

Ctrl Alt Del Campaign

Launch Ctrl Alt Del Campaign

Reset the system & stop planned obsolescence!

The earth is becoming exhausted.

Floods, forest fires, melting glaciers, …: we are increasingly confronted with natural disasters. The consequences are disastrous & undeniable: we are exceeding the limits of our planet. To keep our globe livable, we must wake up and take action. Action aimed at the system, because we urgently need to stop holding only citizens responsible: we need to address the system, the economic system that strives for eternal growth! A reset of that system, that’s what we need! Ctrl Alt Del!

Take, make, waste.

Our current linear model of consumption and production is one of the biggest causes of this climate crisis. In this “throwaway” model, the quality of those products is secondary to quantity, in order to drive consumption and sales, primarily of electronics, to the limitless.

More production = more mining

That infinite supply of products is not consistent with the finite nature of our planet; the earth is not a bottomless pit. We cannot keep extracting more and more metals from the ground. The demand for raw materials is already unsustainable, resulting in many catastrophes. Mining is not only associated with huge energy and water wastage, but also with the contamination of soil and water, through the use of chemicals. This causes biodiversity loss and thus the degradation of the earth’s ecosystem. On top of this, the mining sector is also responsible for 10% of global CO2 emissions, making it one of the most polluting sectors on earth.

Planned obsolescence: what is it and why will it destroy our planet?

Producing goods at top speed and at the lowest possible prices is the basis of our current economic system. Products are made with a limited life span (planned obsolescence) or the design makes repair difficult or unfeasible. Some products are even deliberately made with system faults, deliberately designed to be defective, so that the life span is short and more products are sold. This is part of a deliberate industry strategy to discourage users and to make us buy new devices quickly. That is the definition of planned obsolescence.

Time to take action for more regulation!

The solution to this lies at the policy level. The planet urgently needs strong politicians who do not allow themselves to be lobbied by the industry, but dare to subject them to strict regulation. Regulation can ensure that multinationals are obliged to make better products (eco-design) for consumers: repairable products, made to last, instead of disposable products made to break down quickly and be replaced. Logical right?

Join the Ctrl Alt Del Campaign!

Expect numerous workshops, lectures, actions, … on Planned Obsolescence in the coming months. Follow our Ctrl Alt Delete campaign closely and join Catapa in action: let’s force our politicians to take responsibility, stop planned obsolescence and reset the current system! 

#ctrlaltdel #ExpresDefect

ESC Catapa 2021

CATAPA’s new ESC Volunteers

CATAPA’s new ESC Volunteers

This past September we welcomed two new members to our office. They are part of the European Solidarity Corps, a programme funded by the European Commission that brings young people the opportunity to volunteer around Europe in social and environmental projects. It offers an inspiring and empowering experience for young people who want to help, learn and develop.

This year, CATAPA is further focusing on the topics Degrowth and a Wellbeing Economy. We currently have two working lines: Education & Movement, and Communication & Campaigns.


I’m Connor, from Ireland, and I am gonna be working in the Education and Movement’s field. I studied BA Politics and International Relations and a Masters in International Development at the University of Sheffield. During my studies, I had been focused on neo-extractivism in Ecuador and alternatives to capitalism’s socio-ecological destruction such as Degrowth and Buen Vivir.

ESC Connor

The ESC programme has provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute towards a cause I deeply care about, experience a new and unfamiliar culture, and push myself beyond my limits


I’m Laura, from Barcelona, and I am gonna be working in the Communication & Campaigns field. I studied Journalism and I recently finished a Master in Corporate and Strategic Communication. I had the opportunity to work as a journalist in Colombia in a media with a focus on Human Rights and, as a result of this experience, I want to focus my work on the defense of Human and Environmental Rights. Therefore, I believe that doing European volunteering in an organization that works with affected communities and fights for a greener and fairer planet fits perfectly with my objectives and my values.

ESC Laura

The ESC Volunteering is the perfect opportunity to contribute to a cause you believe in, develop yourself in the personal and professional field, as well as to step out of your comfort zone and discover a new country, people and culture

Movement Weekend 2021

Movement weekend


Movement Weekend

October 1st – 3rd


Join us for our annual Movement Weekend that will take place from the 1st to the 3rd of October. It is an ideal event to learn more about CATAPA’s work and to get to know the Catapistas.

During this weekend, we will have interactive sessions focused on the research and work that our working Groups are doing, we will learn and discuss what is happening across Latin America, share our thoughts and improve our knowledge. All this while sharing moments with the volunteers and enjoying being surrounded by nature.

People that are new to CATAPA and are interested in getting involved are welcome to attend too.


The program will be shared here soon. If you put yourself as ‘attending’, you’ll receive a notification when the program is final.


GEKKOO Verblijf Weert
Appeldijkstraat 36, 2880, Weert België

Price (includes accommodation and food):

Regular 40€ or reduced (for people without or lower-income) 25€
*You’ll receive instructions for payment after the inscription.

Other important information:

*We will serve vegan food. If you have any allergies or intolerance please let us know in our contact email.
*We want this event to be accessible to anyone. If you encounter any financial, language or other barriers or if you have any questions about accessibility, please feel free to send an email to truike.geerts[at]catapa.be.
*In this training trajectory there is no room for sexism, racism, trans- or LGBT-phobia and other forms of hate.

Organized by Catapa