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2022 in Review: Building, Deepening, and Growth

#Blog#Ecological Justice#Food Sovereignty#Human Rights Defense
December 2022


Although 2022 has been tumultuous in many ways, it has been a year of steadfast building, deepening, and growth – for social movements, and for us as a movement support organization. The following are some highlights that stand out for us as we look back over the year. We’re grateful to our community of supporters for your critical part in these – and in all of the work, since it truly takes #EachOneOfUs. Happy holidays, and here’s to greater strides toward justice and transformation in the year ahead.


While still facing the ongoing effects of the Covid pandemic, half a million Brazilians were threatened with homelessness when the far-right Bolsonaro government sought to lift a national moratorium on evictions. Our partner the Landless Workers Movement of Brazil (MST) sprang into action and mobilized a massive popular response, amplified by Grassroots International and Friends of the MST via an international solidarity campaign. Through a range of actions, including thousands of letters sent to Brazilian officials, the Zero Evictions campaign was a resounding success. The election results to oust Bolsonaro in October speak to the desire of the Brazilian people for democracy and deeper transformation, and we know that the organizing work by our diverse movement partners in Brazil will continue toward those long term goals.


From hosting major international forums on food and land issues to launching a Global Convergence of Land and Water Struggles, West African movements have been at the forefront of the global response to land and water grabbing. Recent victories include groundbreaking laws in Mali and Sierra Leone strengthening community land rights and a series of national-level climate justice caravans across the region in the lead-up to the COP27 climate summit. In 2022, Grassroots International took a significant step to deepen its relationships with West African movements by transitioning our West Africa initiative into a permanent program area. We are excited to step up our support for movements resisting at the epicenter of the global land and water rush.

Photo from Unitierra de Oaxaca

Agroecology, which involves tapping into ancestral knowledge and practices to farm in sync with nature, has been gaining ground internationally. This is largely thanks to the efforts by social movements to strengthen, protect, and bring to scale the diverse forms of farming carried out by communities across the globe. In May, we celebrated the launch of IALA Mexico, an agroecology school providing technical training and political formation by and for Mexico’s Indigenous and peasant movements, led by our partners La Via Campesina and UNOSJO1. Part of a growing network of agroecology schools across the Americas and globally, IALA Mexico is unique in its decentralized and “territorialized” design that includes branches throughout different parts of the country.


Despite the COP27 climate summit taking place against a backdrop of repression in Egypt, and lobbying by hundreds of fossil fuel industry representatives, social movements had a powerful presence. They influenced some positive outcomes like agreement on a loss and damage fund for countries disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis, while vocally exposing false climate solutions favoring polluters. We were honored to support the participation of a number of movement partners and allies and to be there alongside them in strategic collaboration. This has also been a big year for shifting philanthropy toward climate justice, a main vehicle for which is our participation in the CLIMA Fund. The work of both Grassroots and CLIMA was featured in the important new report Centering Equity and Justice in Climate Philanthropy.

Gabriella Báez/República 21 Media

Given the multiple forms of violence inflicted upon individuals, communities, and entire peoples by overlapping systems of oppression, social movements are increasingly acknowledging the essential need to integrate forms of collective healing into social justice work. This was a central theme of a powerful learning exchange we helped to organize in Puerto Rico this past year with our allies at Move to End Violence from the US and our Honduran and Puerto Rican movement partners. This theme is also at the heart of the work of the Martín-Baró Initiative for Wellbeing and Human Rights (MBI) at Grassroots International. MBI grantees are breaking new ground at the intersections of healing and justice work and made important progress on multiple fronts over 2022 (see here for the latest).


Art by Nada Esmaeel (@nadasink on Instagram)

The criminalization of Palestinian civil society by the Israeli government, among other attacks on human rights, has intensified the need for stronger international solidarity. Over the past year, more voices spoke out for Palestine, including those within philanthropy. Nearly 150 members of the progressive philanthropy community converged in November to launch Funding Freedom: Philanthropy and the Palestinian Freedom Movement, a new report published by Solidaire Action. The report outlines the increasingly severe attacks on organizations that support Palestinian rights and offers human rights funders a roadmap forward. Grassroots International was excited to be part of the process behind the report and to be highlighted within the report for our role as a movement support funder committed to Palestinian liberation.





In March, the Berta Cáceres International Feminist Organizing School (IFOS), with upwards of 130 participants representing diverse feminist movements from more than 40 countries, completed a remarkably successful first year. From there, the focus has been on diffusing and applying the powerful frameworks developed through IFOS – like feminist economies for life – at the local level across the globe. A key means of doing so has been through the IFOS Facilitators School, together with the development of popular education materials such as a beautiful guidebook. Grassroots International has been honored to accompany this process, led by Grassroots Global Justice Alliance in collaboration with Indigenous Environmental Network and World March of Women, through political, financial, and technical support.


With ever-intensifying climate-related disasters, layered upon the ongoing impacts of pandemic and multiple other crises, emergency response is an increasingly important component of our movement support work. Beyond meeting immediate needs, this support enables movements to continue their transformative work through and out of crisis. A powerful example is in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Fiona, where our movement partners have been advancing just transformation, agroecology, and grassroots feminisms through their recovery efforts. They seek not to build back, but to build forward with long-term strategies grounded in sovereignty and self-determination. Our partners in areas facing protracted crises, including Haiti and Palestine, are doing similarly transformative work against great odds, which we are committed to accompanying over the long haul.


Gabriella Báez/República 21 Media

Last year we joined our Honduran partners in cautious hope for change. The national elections in December marked the end of a 12-year narco-military regime, signaling new political openings. Positive steps forward over 2022 include the halting of some plans for special economic development zones threatening Indigenous and Afrodescendant communities and the sentencing of one of the masterminds behind the assassination of beloved Lenca activist Berta Caceres of our partner COPINH. But there has also been heightened backlash against Honduran social movements, including COPINH2 and our other partner OFRANEH3, by rightwing elements still wielding power within the current government. Social action in solidarity with our partners, including a major e-action that is still ongoing, has thus been a critical priority.


[1] Unión de Organizaciones de la Sierra Juárez de Oaxaca / Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juárez
[2] Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras/Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras
[3] Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña/Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras

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