South Africa

Southern Africa

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.

Grantmaking Strategies

  • 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

Board Priorities

Water resource management

Land rights

Waste and sanitation


Energy development

Hydroelectric dams



  • Mother Touch Environment Club

    Grant #: 54-469
    Amount: $5,000
    Country: Zimbabwe
    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 Alliance

    Grant #: 54-477
    Amount: $5,000
    Country: South Africa
    Focus: Pollution

    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.

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  • Janet Awimbo_square

    Janet Awimbo


    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 Hawi cropped

    Matthew Hawi


    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.

  • Mutuso Dhliwayo

    Mutuso Dhliwayo

    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.

  • Anabela Lemos

    Anabela Lemos

    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.

  • Photo of Bobby Peek

    Bobby Peek

    groundWork; South Africa

    Bobby Peek is Director of groundWork, Friends of the Earth, South Africa. He grew up on the fenceline of south Durban’s Engen oil refinery, co–founded the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, was national campaigns coordinator for the Environmental Justice Networking Forum, and in 1998 received the Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa. He was on South Africa’s first National Environmental Advisory Committee to the South African Minister of Environment. From 2008 to 2012 he was on the international executive committee of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest federation of grassroots organizations fighting for environmental and social justice. He has an honourary PhD from the Durban University of Technology

  • Peter Sinkamba

    Peter Sinkamba

    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.

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