As South Africa gears up to tackle the dual tasks of mitigating the effects of climate change and transitioning to a renewable energy future, there is a growing need to facilitate a Just Energy Transition. Key to this transition is the need to prepare youth, communities and women to be able to take up the range of job opportunities that will flow from it. Accordingly, the Active Climate Change Citizenship for a Just Transition in South Africa (SA Climate Change Champions), hosted a “train-the-trainers” workshop in Springbok with participants from Upington and Namaqua regions on 3 – 4 August 2022 to address this growing need.
The SA Climate Change Champions is an initiative that aims to enable constructive and collaborative engagement by communities, women and youth in climate mitigation and adaptation. The project aims to increase awareness of the array of opportunities in renewable energy sector of South Africa’s green economy. It is building capacity in a core group of civil society organizations’ (CSOs) and community-based organizations’ (CBOs) to train high school teachers, students and community organisations about renewable energy and climate change adaptations.
The workshop aims to empower trainers to be able to transfer knowledge that stands to benefit their communities from a transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy, and amplify voices that are not currently adequately heard at national level and which may lack the knowledge, capacity and sense of agency to act locally.
“It is citizens who get involved in the communities and are active in the process that will change situations and the workshop has shown me how to facilitate climate change workshops within my organization and with external stakeholders as well.” said Sylvia Strauss, Conservation South Africa (Stewardship and Impact Officer).
Priscilla Magerman, Namaqua National Park (Socio Economic Transformation Officer), said: “Climate Change is a phenomenon that impacts us all, especially those most vulnerable. There are mitigation measures and all have a role to play in implementing them. The workshop has given us tools that we can use to engage with the community on issues that impact them.”
“It is critical that the youth of this country are educated on climate literacy. Climate change isn’t something in the future and we need to create an understanding of what it is in order for communities to become active citizens, and develop climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives. These workshops are key, as we are upskilling leaders and representatives from civil society and CBOs, so that they can be capacitated to educate their communities on climate change and the opportunities within the growing renewable energy sector,” said Mary Faulks-Fairweather (SA Climate Change Champs Project Manager)
GreenCape, leading the delivery of the SA Climate Change Champs, 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.