Principles and Values
OUR WORKING PRINCIPLES
We are led by indigenous mandates: in our work, we renew agreements with key indigenous peoples’ organisations and movements. We carry out in-depth joint development and consultations for the work we propose, to ensure this is relevant, needed, and adds value.
We rigorously apply and enable “Free, prior and informed consent” (FPIC). Indigenous peoples must be able to exercise their right to “free, prior and informed consent” with regards to all projects or developments on their territories. Free means that the community decision is not made under pressure, through corruption or by manipulation. Prior indicates that consent has been sought before any activity begins (and indeed FPIC should guarantee communities are involved in decision-making voice at every step of a project’s planning and implementation). Informed means that communities have obtained comprehensive information about the project and have the time and space to debate this information. Consent signifies that indigenous peoples have the right to give or withhold their consent to the development or initiative. This right of indigenous peoples to accept or reject developments or projects on their territories is part of their collective right to self-determination, and is a right enshrined in international law as well as in many national laws and voluntary agreements. For LifeMosaic, informing communities about their right to FPIC, and enabling them to exercise that right are key aims of our resources and capacity-building. In addition, we rigorously apply FPIC to our own projects in terms of how we inform, discuss, partner with, film, and work with indigenous peoples.
We are a capacity-building organisation, rarely an implementer. We work with – not on behalf of – communities and movements. We seek to amplify and strengthen what they are already doing. We prioritise strengthening indigenous movements so they can have more impact, rather than growing LifeMosaic. This approach involves long-term partnerships with indigenous communities and their representative organisations. While LifeMosaic is small, we design our work to have a multiplier effect through conscientisation, making space for emergence, catalysing action, and encouraging others to catalyse, inspire and accelerate change. We work with extensive networks and in strong partnerships to amplify our work.
We privilege community experiences and voices. We always start from the culture, wisdom, history and knowledge systems of the indigenous peoples and other local communities we work with.
Our work seeks to maintain the mosaic of life and as such values and supports the diversity of cultures, languages, ecologies and spiritualties.
We believe in the power of visual storytelling to critically educate, and inspire debate and action. Our approach to developing and distributing toolkits and resources is underpinned by community testimonies, taking great care in relation to permissions. We never sell our footage. We use a Creative Commons license, but without a right to re-edit in order to protect communities’ consent in the use of their testimonies. We support grassroots distribution by trained local facilitators. We prioritise dissemination to frontline communities where large-scale change is planned (such as plantations, mines, oil exploration, roads, airports, tourism, national park, REDD projects or others), but ideally has not yet taken place.
We promote participation, agency and hope: Our work is strongly underpinned by critical awareness raising. In sharing resources and approaches we encourage people to think for themselves rather than telling them what they should do. We seek to raise awareness of the systemic crises communities face while ensuring the primary driver to action is to make hope possible. We support communities to learn from the past, analyse what has changed, and to vision their self-determined futures. This includes using preventative approaches rather than firefighting whenever possible, along with a wide range of methods to encourage participation, nature connection, and critical and holistic thinking. We invite and encourage participation, especially from those often excluded: women, elders, children and youth. We promote participation and collective leadership as ways to strengthen movements.
We believe in the power of a positive vision of the future. We like the proverb that it is more radical to make hope possible than despair convincing. We believe that movements must name the moment we find ourselves in, take time to identify the bigger picture that is emerging, and reflect on how to change the dominant paradigm. We believe that activists and movements cannot just deal with conflicts and crisis, but must invest time to dream, imagine, design and plan the future we would like to see. We believe that telling the story of the better future we are struggling for is an essential part of bringing it into being.
We value the importance of collective philosophies of living life in plenitude, such as Buen Vivir, or Sumak Kawsay, the Andean ancestral ideal of seeking life in harmony and equilibrium within yourself, between men and women, between different communities, and between human beings and the natural environment which we are part of.
We adopt a holistic and learning approach which keeps culture, spirituality, territory and self-determined development at the heart of all we do. We seek to relate with organisations and communities in an honest and equal way, sharing stories, voices, ideas and methods. As a team, we are open to learning and improving. We work with long-term perspectives in mind in terms of vision, approaches and relationships. We are not about seeking “instant fixes”. We’re about supporting communities - not about individual empowerment, or about the ‘hero’ activist. We apply “action-reflection” to our work, learning from what we have achieved, and adapting our theory of change, and approaches if evidence suggest we should.
In our work, we aim to be fair and just. Rather than neutral, we side with the poor, the dispossessed, the marginalised. We also stand for the intrinsic rights of nature.
OUR VALUES In our relationships and work…
- We seek to be relevant and excellent: This means our resources and interactions are clear, practical, of high quality. We work to enhance what leaders, communities and movements are already trying to do.
- We work in ways that are accessible, build hope, raise critical consciousness, and help others to take action.
- We are respectful and down-to-earth: We work hard to avoid building dependency on LifeMosaic. We seek to work with honesty and transparency. We respect people and the earth.
- We are open and positive: We are keen to learn, explore and have fun.
- We seek to create conditions for others to enhance their power.
- We work together not alone: Our task is collective.