“Our situation has worsened, our only water source is destroyed, and our farm lands have been turned into a mining field. We cannot sleep due to heavy noise and vibrations. Our roads have been diverted. …Our livelihood is threatened by the operations of Sierra Rutile mining company.”
— Mr. Massaquoi, 52, Foinda community.
Foinda is a small village in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone. It is the only home that most of its villagers have ever known. It is their ancestral land. It is where, for generations, they have raised their children and buried their loved ones. Yet, the residents are desperate to leave.
Foinda lies within the concession area of Sierra Rutile Ltd. In 1993 the mining company undertook an Environmental Impact Assessment and announced that they would relocate the community. But they took no action.
Over the next 25 years, Sierra Rutile’s expanding mining operations would cause immense damage to the land, rivers, and streams that the farming community depended on. Eventually, the pollution rendered the community’s main water source unusable. Food in Foinda became scarce.
Meanwhile, most social services were put on hold: government and aid organizations thought there was no need to provide services to a village that was marked for relocation.
The residents were frustrated. Their village was no longer inhabitable and yet, as 52-year-old resident, Mr. Massaquoi says, “it seemed the company’s commitment to relocating the people of Foinda had gradually diminished and was all but dead.”
The community demanded that Sierra Rutile Ltd. take responsibility. The company said they would provide a tanker of water, but, says Mr. Massaquoi, the water they provided could only be used for domestic purposes.
“It was not suitable for drinking and posed a threat to the health and well-being of the community. The supply was also inadequate and inconsistent. We sometimes went for days without any water.”
Year after year Sierra Rutile ignored the community’s requests and demands. So, when the people of Foinda learned about Namati through their chiefdom speaker, they reached out immediately.
Namati’s community paralegals worked closely with the community to help them understand that the company was not just breaking a promise, they were breaking the law. Together, they identified the laws Sierra Rutile Ltd. were violating and developed a plan of action. An improved water supply was needed in the short term, but they agreed that relocation was the sustainable solution.
After almost two years of persistent advocacy, the involvement of regulatory agencies, and ultimately the threat of legal action, the company has finally taken steps to relocate the community.
But the case is not yet over. Namati paralegals are continuing to work with the residents of Foinda to help them ensure their rights are upheld throughout the relocation process.
“The legal empowerment advocates provided us with the new government-approved crop compensation price list, which empowered us to seek adequate compensation for our crops,” Mr. Massquoi explains. “Prior to this, Sierra Rutile wanted to use the old list which had lower prices, and we would not have known what we were entitled to if Namati had not supplied us with the updated information.”
When Namati staff noticed an advertisement in the newspaper that stated the company’s intention to build a smaller number of houses than what currently exists in Foinda, the paralegals brought it to the community’s attention. “We were able to use that newspaper advertisement to raise the issue with the company,” says Mr. Massaquoi, “and they have now agreed to build the appropriate number of houses.
“We thank Namati for empowering us and opening our eyes to these issues.”
Last updated January 30, 2013.
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Last updated: May 25, 2018
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Namati may collect and retain two types of information about Site and Forum visitors: (i) personal information that individual visitors voluntarily provide when interacting on the Site or Forum or on certain other occasions (such as via forms or in emails); and (ii) tracking data, which is data that is automatically collected from every Site and Forum visitor as they use and browse the site.
We may, from time to time, store and archive the information you submit to or through the Site and Forum. The information that we gather may include your name, title, and address, telephone number, email address, credit card number or other elements of personal information. In addition, if you contact us, we may keep a record of your correspondence, including any information contained therein.
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Our use of your Information involves various forms of communication with you, including:
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We retain the right to transfer or assign all information pursuant to a merger, purchase or other transaction relating to Namati or our assets.
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Personal information you submit via your member account, other than information provided or content posted by you to public areas of the Site as described below, is deleted from Namati’s records following the deletion of your account. However, such information may continue to be retained by third-party service providers to which it has been disclosed for one of the reasons listed above.
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The Forum uses data about your posts and other activity to make automated decisions about whether your posts are spam.
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From time to time, we may email users of the Site or the Forum information regarding important developments affecting Namati and/or the Global Grassroots Justice Network. We may also email users on occasion regarding the Site or the Forum. Such emails may be sent to users of the Site or Forum even if they have not requested to receive any communication from us.
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We reserve the right to disclose any information to comply with any law, regulation, decree, judgment, order, subpoena or any other governmental order (“Order”) without any obligation to contest or verify the accuracy of such Order.
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The section titles in this Policy are for convenience only and have no legal or contractual effect.
The Site, the Forum, and any third party services they use, may be subject to additional terms and conditions regarding privacy and use of information. Your use of the Site and the Forum is subject to those terms and conditions, which are incorporated into this Policy by reference. In the event of an inconsistency between this Policy and any additional posted conditions, the provisions of the additional conditions shall control.
We may need to change the Policy from time to time in order to address new issues and to reflect changes on the Site or in the law. We reserve the right to revise or make any changes to the Policy, and your continued use of the Site subsequent to any changes to this Policy will mean that you agree to and accept such changes. You can tell if the Policy has been updated by checking the last revised date posted on the top of this page.
You can also access, remove, update or correct your information, and raise any questions or concerns regarding the Site or the Policy, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailing:
Namati Data Protection Officer
1616 P Street NW, Suite 101
Washington, DC 20036, USA
If you live in a country which has adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (EU; 2016/679), you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority about this policy and its application.
The Policy was updated in May 2018 to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations.