Our Team



Koni Benson

Koni Benson is a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of the Western Cape, working in the areas of gender, urban, public, and oral history. She is a research fellow and organizer with the Blue Planet Project, supporting struggles against pre-paid water meters in Cape Town and the growth of the water justice movement on the continent. Her research is on collective interventions in histories of contested development and the mobilization, demobilization, and remobilization of struggle history in southern Africa’s past and present. She is the author of Crossroads: I Live Where I Like, a graphic novel history series on women’s organized resistance to forced removals in Crossroads South Africa and a forthcoming book with PM Press. She is the co-author with Faeza Meyer of Writing Out Loud: Interventions in the History of A Land Occupation. With Feminist Alternatives, she co-produced My Dream is to Be Bold: Our Work to End Patriarchy (Pambazuka/ Michigan State UP, 2010). Her writing has been published by the Journal of Southern African Studies, African Studies Review, Feminist Africa, Gender Place and Culture: Feminist Geography, Education as Change, South African Labour Bulletin, Zambezia, Khanya College Journal, Pathways to Free Education, ILRIG, Zmagazine, and newspapers in South Africa, Canada, Kenya, and Namibia.


Meera Karunananthan

Meera Karunananthan is the Director of the Blue Planet Project. She works with social movements around the world to challenge corporate water grabs and promote community-based strategies for water justice including the Blue Communities Project – a project she co-created as national water campaigner for the Council of Canadians in 2009, which has now taken root in local campaigns around the world.

She is currently pursuing a PhD in Human Geography focusing on the struggles for access to water of racialized women living in townships and informal settlements in Cape Town.


Adrian Murray

Adrian Murray is a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University. His research explores labour and social movement opposition to the neoliberal restructuring of public services in the face of ongoing austerity across the global South and North. He is also active in labour and community organizing.

Marcela Olivera

Marcela Olivera is a water commons organizer based in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Since 2004 she has been developing and consolidating an inter-American citizens’ network on water justice named Red VIDA. She sits on the coordinating committee of the Platform for Public and Community Partnerships of The America (PAPC). Since 2019, she has been working as the regional coordinator for the Blue Planet Project.

Board of Directors


Maude Barlow

Maude Barlow is the founder of the Blue Planet Project and former Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. She chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch, is a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council, and is the Honorary Chancellor of Brescia University. She has also served on the executive of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature.

Maude is the recipient of fourteen honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”), the 2005 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Fellowship Award, the Citation of Lifetime Achievement at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards, the 2009 Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award, the 2009 Planet in Focus Eco Hero Award, and the 2011 EarthCare Award, the highest international honour of the Sierra Club (US).

From 2008–2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 19 books, including her latest, Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis; and Whose Water is it Anyway? Taking water protection into public hands.

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