Oppression or Emancipation? How development aid projects impact Small-Scale Gold Miners in Uganda and Colombia. A Techno-Anthropological Action Research.

Jorge Ivan Contreras Cardeno, Tom Holmgaard Børsen (Principal supervisor), Nils Thorsen (Secondary supervisor)

Research output: Book/ReportReportResearch

Abstract

This master´s thesis explores from a Techno-Anthropological perspective a particular situation presented by a Danish NGO which promotes around the world the implementation of Mercury Free Method for Small-Scale Gold Miners: Few months after the application of the technique; miners go back to use mercury without any “logical and reasonable” explanation. Aiming to identify the reasons and the barriers for the transference of technology in marginalised and oppressed groups as the Artisanal Small-Scale Gold miners from Uganda; I found an excellent opportunity to link this exercise with my home country Colombia. Small-Scale Gold miners from my country are also dealing with formalisation issues and the harmful use of mercury in their activities. The main research question formulated was: How can an NGO develop a sustainable model for engaging and empowering small-scale gold miners´ communities in the adoption of a Mercury-Free Method? The three fieldwork, one in Colombia, and two in Uganda revealed an issue that grounded my expectations: unintentionally, developing aid projects instead of facilitates and “help” the communities, generate more oppression to them. The idea to intervene in Colombia drove me to think in which sustainable way should be conducted the intervention this time. One of the central conclusions of this research is that it is necessary to rethink and demystify the paternalistic stance of aid projects in developing countries. Projects need to change from a FOR vocation to a WITH perspective. In other words, the idea is not to work for the oppressed, but to work with them. They are the only ones who locally must find the conditions for their liberation. Creating technological solutions through collective and democratic dialogue and facilitated by NGOs.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages107
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Critical theory
  • Techno-anthropology
  • Mercury-Free
  • Small-Scale Gold Mining
  • Action Research
  • Empowerment
  • Technology Transfer
  • W Model

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