- Rebecca Nairuba
The Film Screening Caravan
NLDL's major work is to train and coach grassroots communities affected by land injustices on how to incorporate non-violent resistance and movement building in their efforts to wage against land injustices in their communities. Over the years of experience, we discovered that grassroots women were most affected by land grabs since they are responsible for taking care of their families.
Even after undergoing training, there remain some communities and individuals that have not spoken out against the repression they have suffered because of gender discrimination, apathy, and intimidation from perpetrators. This supported the notion of holding film screenings to connect with women in different areas and motivate them through powerful films that influenced history through peaceful resistance.
We screened the two films including ‘Taking Root’ in the four grassroots communities of Opit, Lajago, Lungulu and Logiri. The Kenyan film is an account of the green belt movement which was started by grassroots women under the leadership of Wangari Maathai, who opposed deforestation, which was a major threat to Kenya’s environment. The movement later evolved into a rising against a dictatorial regime at that time, which was plagued by bad governance, illegal arrests of political activists and critics, kidnaps, corruption, and even murders.
The women groups were motivated to leverage their power as women to speak out against land grabbing and the human rights injustices that land grabbers committed against them after seeing that there are other communities throughout the world that were dealing with similar issues. It is crucial to remind these communities that those who have brought about constructive social change had to have the courage to fight for themselves peacefully.
“After watching this movie, I understood that we are strong as women and we are capable of confronting these land grabbers that are terrorising our community. We must not be intimidated by their power but face them head-on and peacefully. One other thing that stood out to me about the women in the movie was that they remained peaceful, and did not break the law but achieved something greater,” Santa Acaa from Lungulu commented.
"I learned from the movie that we still have a lot of work to do even after reclaiming our farmland from NFA, therefore our group shouldn’t disband. The women in this movie dealt with environmental protection and even human rights issues. With NFA extending forest reserve borders into settlements and farmlands, our neighbours are experiencing issues identical to our own, and following the forced evictions, we discovered that powerful individuals are now owning farmland on the same land, on which the original inhabitants were evicted," Gloria Ajidiru stated. “We are going to train our neighbours and empower their women to become more courageous so that they enjoy the fruits of their land as we do now.
“You cannot enslave a mind that knows itself, that values itself, that understands itself,” Wangari Maathai.
We need to screen films on nonviolent resistance in many more communities especially those with apathy and encourage people to leverage their power and fight against social injustices.