Mobilizing Social Movements for Energy Democracy and Sovereignty in South Africa: Towards socially owned renewable energy solutions

The project aims to strengthen social and environmental justice movements for democratic engagement and to partner with municipalities and relevant entities so as to lead to the installation and operation of community-led, socially owned renewable energy.

This exciting ground-breaking project brings together three South African social movements from different urban locales, supported by two NGOs to implement a campaign that realizes widespread installation and operation of community-led socially owned renewable energy solutions. The project forges new ground in locating advocacy for a just transition within the social movements. The goal is to strengthen and enable social movements in South Africa to engage all tiers of government towards realising renewable energy community solutions that can implemented at scale.

This project is undertaken in partnership with three community-based organisations, South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), Vukani Environmental Movement (VEM) and, Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), and supported by two NGOs, namely groundWork and Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA), each with more than 20-years’ experience in campaigning with and providing technical support to communities.

The project is coordinated by groundWork who will be responsible for project monitoring and reporting, coordination, liaison, support, advocacy and networking at local, national and international levels.

The project will build upon its partners’ connections with the rich milieu of movements working on related issues from different geographies and spaces in South Africa and, potentially, throughout Africa. It will also form bridges and pathways in relation to civil society and governments in this time of crisis, both as a result of Covid-19 and the energy and economic crisis in South Africa and Africa. This project will be essential in empowering communities and seeks to identify, nurture and support champions within partner movements to engage effectively with local governments, and other actors, towards a just transition which promotes/enables renewable energy solutions.

Donor: UMI Fund
Timeline: 1 August 2021 – December 2023
Project Manager: Yachika Reddy