This profile was prepared when Peter Sinkamba was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Peter is engaging Zambian citizens in the effort to hold mining companies accountable to domestic and international environmental law. He founded Citizens for a Better Environment as an organization dedicated to developing, promoting, and implementing sustainable environmental and economic policies. At its core, CBE researches and exposes the most flagrant abuses of the environment by mining companies, applying pressure to hold those responsible to account. But most importantly, CBE gets its power from the growing community of concerned citizens that, thanks to Peter’s efforts, are becoming educated about environmental policy and abuses, and are organizing around issues of social and environmental justice. While these rural Zambian populations are the most directly effected by polluted waters and depleted wildlife, they have until now remained largely outside the negotiating circle. Since many are illiterate, Peter has implemented innovative methods—weekly radio announcements or community training courses on sanitation and waste management—to spread awareness and build support. Having begun in the six mining towns on the Copperbelt Province and Kabwe in Central Province, Peter and his team are helping similar efforts across Africa.