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Back to Seized: The Soils of War
Box 5: Another way is possible

The Soils of War

Barcelona, Spain

Box 5: Another way is possible
The experience of disaster-ridden regions with aid from abroad and from their own governments does not mean that assistance is never needed. Indeed, help can be meaningful and extremely important, if it enables communities to help themselves. Peasant organisations such as La Via Campesina (1) have shown a way forward. After the tsunami they routed relief directly to communities’ right across the affected region:

“In Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia, where La Via Campesina has member organisations, farmers launched relief operations to support the survivors of the catastrophe, they gave out rice and vegetables to feed the people affected, and several fund-raising activities were organised to channel national and international contributions towards small peasants and fisherfolk’s organisations. La Via Campesina also immediately publicly raised important issues affecting small producers such as the origin of food aid (local or imported food), the type of reconstruction policies implemented (agribusiness or family based production) and people’s participation in the process.” (2)

1. International Secretariat of La Via Campesina, “20 months after the Tsunami: Looking back at La via Campesina relief operations”, 4 July 2006.
2. Peter Rosset and María Elena Martínez, “The Democratisation of Aid”, in Red Pepper, February 2005.