Capacitating citizens to co-create solutions that address climate change

Aug 5, 2021 | Climate Change

GreenCape in collaboration with Indigo Development & Change conducted a two-day climate change mitigation and adaption, and skills development workshop for youth and community leaders, civil society, community-based and non-government organisations in Saldanha Bay. The workshop took place from 31 March to 1 April 2022 and is a strategic education and awareness raising element of the ‘Active Climate Change Citizenship for a Just Transition in South Africa’ initiative. The recently launched project, ‘SA Climate Change Champs’, is the mechanism being used to drive the Active Climate Change Citizenship for a Just Transition in South Africa’ initiative. The project aims to enable communities, women and young people with the tools to proactively, constructively and collaboratively engage in co-creating solutions that address climate change. “SA Climate Change Champs sets out to capacitate citizens with the confidence and skills to effectively engage with government about their needs and priorities regarding climate mitigation and adaptation, particularly within the renewable energy space.

Communities, like Saldanha Bay, need to be informed of the potential of adopting renewable energy practices, how it can help drive economic inclusion, and empower them to take part in public participatory processes as currently their voices are not adequately heard”, said Mary Faulks-Fairweather, GreenCape’s SA Climate Change Champs Project Manager. A group of 20 enthusiastic and passionate people from various civil society and community-based organisations in Saldanha Bay were inspired to become active citizens for climate change mitigation and adaption. My hope is that with the knowledge gained, they will become active citizens in the real sense of the word. We hope that through maintaining a consistent conversation around this very important topic, the impact will be transformative. We know that all of this will take time, but with the right attitude, all of this is possible, said workshop facilitator, Shannon Brandt of Indigo Development & Change.

I am inspired by the passion and eagerness to learn displayed by our attending civil society and community-based organisations representing the West Coast. It is good to know that the future of the West Coast is in good hands in terms of active citizenship, said Lindiwe Johnson, GreenCape’s Skills Development Manager.

The project also involves the creation of climate clubs and a virtual networking platform for high school learners. The intent is to build a community of young people that have a voice to influence national and local climate and energy policy. They’ll take action at their schools and in their communities that will influence climate mitigation and adaptation. By working through high school teachers, the aim is to reach students and create awareness about the economic, environmental and social benefits of renewable energy and career opportunities available to them in this field. GreenCape will be visiting several communities around the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape, to host such workshops. This initiative is funded by the European Union and implemented by GreenCape in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

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