Ola is our new Projects Officer, joining us after over a year of working on farms across the UK and Nigeria. Read this blog to find out a bit about his background, what motivated him to join the Shared Assets team, and what he’s looking forward to learning and he begins his career in this sector.
My background is primarily in community food growing, both in rural and urban environments. I have always felt strongly about social justice, community and education. My experience with land-work is tied heavily to my cultural background. There is a traditional Yoruba poem that says ‘iwe kiko lai si oko ati ada ko i pe o’ meaning ‘education without the hoe and cutlass is not complete’. In summary this means that one cannot learn without knowing the ways of the land. I hope that my endeavours here can evoke the sentiment of these words. I believe in a similar vein that communities should not be separate from the benefits of land, and these benefits should be upheld as a collective right. I am looking into ways our research and advocacy can serve as a practical educational tool to all.
"...one cannot learn without knowing the ways of the land.."Tweet this
I began my journey with Shared Assets last week and thus far it’s been a pleasant and invigorating experience. I have great appreciation for the intention we have placed on approaching things differently. Our focus is centred on executing the values and purpose of Shared Assets and this serves as a guiding force for how we conduct ourselves. My desire to work for this organization grew from recognizing our shared principles concerning community autonomy, land access, and discovering new ways to address these issues.
We have a collective purpose to address the aims of Shared Assets and individually we conclude the best way we can. We work collaboratively with the underlying notion that we each understand what conditions we need in order to do our best work. This may sound as a claim that we’ve rid ourselves of hierarchy – this isn’t the case. Instead we are exploring healthy power dynamics that are cognisant of our different experiences, knowledge and capacities. My observation over the last week is that we’re somewhere on a path towards this, still in the beginning, but I think strong foundations have been laid for an alternative way of working.
This role at Shared Assets presents me with an opportunity to broaden my knowledge of land issues. Within this short time, I’ve already met many interesting people doing amazing work. From Woodland based Social Enterprises to organizations developing tools aiding in asset transfer to local communities. Slowly, my interest in land is expanding outside the confines of its previous boundaries. I’m looking forward to where this journey will take me, and the opportunities it may present. I wholeheartedly believe in the work we’re doing now and what we will do as we grow. Perhaps some of you reading this may want to share this process with us, and if so, I look forward to meeting and collaborating with you.