Decades of institutional racism compounded by industrial development have left the region’s marginalized communities to bear the brunt of environmental injustices. Within these communities, dangerous levels of pollution cause asthma and cancer, millions lack enough water to meet their daily needs because of privatized water management, and dam development displaces thousands without compensation or benefit. As profits flow to those with power, grassroots groups face an uphill battle to improve environmental health and justice. Greengrants’ Southern Africa Board and its prominent activists are leading the way.
- Prioritize grants with clear linkages to existing actions and networks
- Support organizations that monitor government and corporate behavior
- Build environmental civil society capacity
- Support poor people with limited resources in their mobilization around environmental concerns
- Prioritize grants that contribute to broader national and regional processes
Water resource management
Waste and sanitation
Mother Touch Environment ClubGrant #: 54-469
Focus: Climate Change
A small grant to this student-run group in Zimbabwe's capital is raising awareness about human impacts on the environment and climate change. They are organizing presentations about waste-management, climate change, and water pollution, and then putting together a clean-up campaign in the Tynwald South residential area of Harare. The group also plans to conduct research about climate change adaptation and to distribute its findings to students at Mother Touch high school and the surrounding communities.
South Durban Community Environmental AllianceGrant #: 54-477
Country: South Africa
In an area that has been polluted for decades by oil refineries and power plants, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) is defending the rights and health of local communities. Made up of 16 affiliate organizations, the Alliance promotes a culture of environmental awareness, natural resource conservation, and sustainable development as a way to ensure environmental justice. A small grant to SDCEA sponsored an educational campaign about the energy burden borne by local communities in the form of exorbitant electricity tariffs. Additional funds provided for a separate campaign against the proposal to build a second nuclear power plant in South Africa.
Janet Awimbo has over twenty years of experience as a researcher, trainer, and organizational development consultant with public and private development organizations. She has worked with the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), The Impact Alliance, and the Pact Kenya. She has a Master’s Degree in Ecology from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
Matthew is a Kenyan citizen, born and bred in the capital city, Nairobi. His first exposure to grassroots organizations was as a young student, when he worked as a volunteer with his school’s Community Outreach Program. At Strathmore University, he carried out surveys with community-based organizations in the rural areas of western Kenya. Matthew was one of the founders of the Kenyan-Australian initiative Bridging Boarders , which works on development projects in Ndhiwa, one of Kenya’s poorest regions. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance, and has been working on research projects for various organizations in his country since graduation.
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association; Zimbabwe
Mutuso is the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA). Mutuso holds a Bachelor of Laws Honors degree from the University of Zimbabwe. He previously served as Legal Officer at Environment Africa, one of Zimbabwe’s leading environmental organizations. Mutuso has a passion for the management of shared resources and heads ZELA’s Trans-Boundary Natural Resources Management program. His other research interests include Communities and Markets, protecting Africa’s urban environments, human rights and democracy, trade aspects of intellectual property rights, and issues related to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Justiça Ambiental; Mozambique
Anabela Lemos worked until 2008 as the Comptroller at the American International School of Mozambique in Maputo, but she has always been involved in environmental issues in her day-to-day life. In 1998, when she and her sister learned of a project to incinerate pesticides in a cement kiln, they worked together with the community members to campaign against the project. From this successful struggle, the nonprofit organization, Livaningo, was born. Anabela worked with Livanigo as the a volunteer from 1998 to 2001, and served as Deputy Director from 2001 to 2004, as Livanigo strove to solve the problems of waste, obsolete pesticides, medical and hazardous waste, and incineration. In March 2004, Anabela formed a new organization called “JA- Justiça Ambiental”, to provide research and support to civil society faced with environmental and social threats and aim to build awareness and solidarity in communities. JA work on Industrial pollution, water and development, conservation & land issues, climate change, renewable energy sources and policy monitoring. Since 2008 she dedicated all of her time to JA, as Director.
groundWork; South Africa
Bobby’s passion for social justice and environmental sustainability is fueled by his experiences growing up in the apartheid-created township of Wentworth, which is situated amongst highly polluting oil refineries, chemical industries, and toxic waste dumps. For the past three years, he has been the Director of groundWork, a “young anti-toxics community campaigning NGO” that aims to support civil society in improving environmental governance. Prior to that, he worked for the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), and the Environmental Justice Networking Forum (EJNF) as the National Campaign Coordinator. Bobby’s work in South Durban received international recognition in 1998, when he was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa.
Citizens for a Better Environment; Zambia
A Zambian national, Peter is the founder and Executive Director of Citizens for a Better Environment (CBE). The organization is committed to sustainable environmental and socio‐economic development through research, community education, community mobilization, legislation, and litigation. Through his work with CBE, Peter helps communities seek redress for the negative environmental and socio‐economic impacts they’ve suffered from nearby mining operations. He was elected as an Ashoka Fellowship in 2004. Peter holds a Master’s of Philosophy degree in Sustainable Development Planning and Management from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He is currently pursuing Doctoral studies in the same field at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.
- Jan, 2012: Our advisors were at the United Nations climate talks in Durban last month to call for the inclusion of local voices. Hear what they had to say about the outcomes of the discussions.
- Nov, 2011: COP17 convenes November 28th through December 9th this year. We've broken down what it is and what it means.