Good life? Only for all!

Analyzing the effects of global development.

The participants are introduced to criticisms of economic development and exploitative production methods while examples of socio-ecological transformation processes are given.

Work materials:

Video: WoMin African Alliance (2021): Polluters and Plunderers: The Roots of Africa’s Crises
Good life can only exist for all _information cards

Learning objectives

The participants can..

  • Get to know and reflect on concrete ideas of sustainable and public welfare-orientated development.
  • Understand the globally dominant concept of development.
  • Establish the connection between development and global justice issues and reflect on their own needs and ideas of justice in this context.
  • Familiarise themselves with various examples of counter-movements and initiatives that develop, demand and implement alternatives in and to capitalism.
  • Take action.


For a critique of development, it is important to analyse its socio-ecological effects and their colonial continuities. Further, it is important to know which alternatives and emancipatory actions are possible and lead to sustainable practices.

Facilitators should be aware that the video represents a (historical) perspective on the topic of extractivism and development. We recommend familiarising yourself with the complexity of the topic. On the one hand, this concerns the dominant idea of development in the Global North and criticism of this idea: mastery of nature through technological development and increased efficiency should create prosperity for all.

On the other hand, it is often a challenge for governments in the global South, for example, to break with an extractivist mode of production because the global economic system hardly allows this. Under these conditions, governments with an interest in social justice repeatedly finance social programmes through the exploitation of natural resources. Although extraction rights are often awarded to companies from the Global North, this is not the case across the board, as the globalisation of imperial ways of life and production has also given rise to internationally operating companies from countries of the Global South, which in turn are extractivist in other countries of the Global South. Finally, we would like to point out that the video ultimately comes to a head. Even within the Global South, the question of how social development should take place and what a good life for all might look like is naturally controversial.



Set up the projector to prepare the workshop room. To aid understanding of the video, we recommend visualising the following sequence of ideas shown in the short film.

Write them down on flipchart paper or Moderation cards:

Title of the video: Polluters and Plunderers: The Roots of Africa’s Crises


– 1 Autonomy and self-sufficiency

– 2 Industrialisation, violence and the displacement of peoples

– 3 Corporate wealth and co-operations

– 4 Organising for social justice

– 5 Independence of African countries


1. Introduction (5 minutes)

At the beginning, the context of the video and the associated questions should be clarified.

Depending on the participants‘ level of knowledge, the facilitators present or elaborate on the basic background of the definition of „development“ or „extractivism“ from the economic and capitalist context.

2. Video (aprox. 15 minutes)

The video is shown. If the group is large enough, it is divided into five small groups at the end. Each small group is given the task of focussing on the presentation of one of the phases of the video.

The participants can take notes during the sequence that is particularly relevant to them.

The aim is to have an open discussion about each phase of the video with the whole group. Share and listen to their opinions on the situations and their outcomes.

Ask the group:

– Do you know the historical background and the current situation on the African continent?

– Can you recognise characteristics of the following aspects in the events in the video? Development, exploitation of ecosystems, extractivism, social movements, colonialism or colonial continuities?

3. Alternatives (max. 30 minutes)

If possible, we divide the group into five different groups again. Each group receives one of the cards with a description text of examples of „inclusive development“.

On these cards the participants can get to know examples of alternatives that propose an idea of post-development, transformation processes from below and actions for the independence of groups or communities in colonised countries.

    • Chipko Movement India

    • Process of Black Communities – PCN

    • La Via Campesina

    • Swaraj or Radical Ecological Democracy (Eco-Swaraj)

    • Degrowth

Each group should read the content of the relevant letter and then make a proposal for a campaign to promote the content of the information, how to make it happen or use these examples from their locality or region.

Present your campaign proposal in action mode to involve all participants in the group.

For this part of the method, it is important to have enough materials that can be used creatively.

4. Evaluation (10 minutes)

With this method we want to convey the message: „There can only be one good life for all!“ by showing examples of a transformation towards a sustainable and just economy, it is necessary for societies in the Global South to act more „independently“… they can make their own economic decisions. Otherwise, this means that the influence and interests of the Global North must lose influence. There are also imperial projects within the Global South – e.g. China’s New Silk Road. If necessary, draw attention to this complexity without wanting to relativise the responsibility of the Global North – especially in order to avoid the risk of reproducing dualistic thinking

Participants can lead a discussion, which will take place in plenary. Possible evaluation questions in the plenary are:

  • What should we demand from our decision-makers in the Global North?
  • What should we pay attention to when we are active in development policy or civil society?
  • How can contact and dialogue between movements in the Global South and the Global North take place on an equal footing?

The results of the discussion can be presented on a flipchart or on separate flipchart paper.

Tips and advice for facilitators

As mentioned in the preparation part, it is important to make participants aware of the content, especially those who are directly affected by colonialism, to recognise the social inequalities and the emotional impact it causes. Create space for solidarity with their feelings and facilitate safe spaces that are free from discrimination and prejudice.

Simple language

It is advisable to keep the language simple. When talking about colonialism and development or looking for information, you may find information or content that is somewhat complex or academic. Think about the target audience to be addressed and decide on the depth of approach to the topics accordingly.

Possibilities for further work

The concept of development used here is also viewed critically by many voices from the Global South. We recommend the reference material of the „Voices from the South“ method (method booklet „Beyond Growth!“) for dealing with this topic. It uses some terms that may not be clear to all participants. We recommend that trainers pay attention to this and explain difficult terms explicitly.

The following methods can also be used for this topic:

– „Prosperity and the good life“.


WoMin African Alliance (2021): Polluters and Plunderers: The Roots of Africa’s Crises

WoMin ( is an alliance of organisations across the African continent working with national and regional movements and women’s organisations, as well as communities affected by mining and mega-infrastructure projects, to expose the impact of extractivism on African women and promote equitable, women-centred development alternatives. WoMin works in 11 countries in West, East and Southern Africa to bring a radical African ecofeminist agenda to the discussion on the climate crisis, climate justice and ways to protect the future of the planet and its people from corporations, their allied governments and elites in the Global North and South.