Legacy Project

Equipping Green Connectors with the Advocacy Skills Necessary to Make a Change. Raising of Voices of the Green Connectors for Successful Advocacy Outcomes.

Overview Of Project

The Legacy project focuses on advocacy in particular. Whereby it provides shared information, participatory learning, execution of workshops and mentoring for environmental activists from local community groups, with the aim of helping them to amplify their voices to solve their local environmental justice issues. A major focus in this project is advocacy in Parliament, and making the link between the local and the national, in order to enhance effectiveness and achieve results. An enabling environment will be built for civil society to connect with the right people to make the changes necessary for sustainable development.

The project enables young ‘Green Connectors’ to:

Develop evidence to support their demands:

 

Through the workshop trainings conducted, Legacy participants were informed of the South African Bill of Rights, South African policies, governance and parliament, media and partnership strategies to assist them in their advocacy activities. As a result, Legacy participants have arranged meetings with local action groups, community members and multiple civil society organizations to develop petitions, letters and requests directed to local municipality and the National government to oppose offshore oil and gas developments.

Mobilise people to join eco-justice campaigns:

 

Through activism activities, Legacy participants have built partnerships with Non-Government Organizations, Schools, community councilors and leaders, small-scale fishermen and fisherwomen, private companies, businesses within the coastal area and community members.

Find the right channels for addressing eco-injustices:

 
The training workshops conducted have helped in providing knowledge to the Legacy participants, in terms of relevant channels to use within addressing eco-injustices. As a result, Legacy participants have organized and executed petitions, clean-up campaigns, protests and picketing movements, environmental awareness programmes and community meetings.

Use the media to enable communities to have a ‘amplified’ voice in governance and decision-making around sustainable development:

 

The Green Connection has provided help in amplifying activism activities done by the Legacy participants, through publishing online and print press releases on newspapers and magazines, providing opportunity for television and radio interviews, development of letters submitted to government, sharing information on The Green Connection website and social media platforms.

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Legacy Programme 2021

Empowerment of young activists, and women in particular, to intervene in the policy and legislative space, so that decision-making processes are strengthened to ensure effective implementation of governance in the natural environment, conservation and environmental justice spheres.

Background

At local government level, councilors may attempt to address local delivery issues, but environmental issues often straddle different geographic boundaries and fall under the provincial or national sphere of government. Complaining to local councillors does not necessarily lead to any change, and activists despair as their best efforts fall on deaf ears. Environmental justice activists have not used Parliament optimally to ensure that MPs hold the executive to account and ensure government actions are in the interests of people’s needs.  At a local council level, there seems to be a similar paralysis. The Green Connection believes that empowering people to participate in decisions that affect their environment is the only way that truly sustainable development occurs. The project objective is therefore to create a network of passionate and skilled Green Connectors – young people, and women in particular – to engage civil society in finding its voice.

In this way we hope to achieve an improvement in environmental governance and advocacy. Many communities in both urban and rural environments are desperately seeking a voice, and the means by which to engage with local authorities or institutions around issues that directly impact their lives. For example, energy matters (energy poverty/the cost of electricity; making a difference in the nuclear power debate; and investment by municipalities in solar power) and environmental issues, often related to the climate crisis (pollution; wetland conservation; and Environmental Impact Assessments pertaining to urban projects). Key themes already identified are ocean protection, and support of the livelihoods of small-scale fishers and coastal communities against deep-sea oil and gas extraction, and protection of the water-scarce Karoo and its unique biodiversity against agricultural impacts and the ongoing threat of fracking.

Achievements

– The Green Connection executed three advocacy skills-building training workshops.

– Legacy participant organised a fracking workshop on the impacts on water, in central Karoo, for the community members in Beaufort West.

– In the Western Cape, Legacy participants and The Green Connection arranged meetings with local action groups and mobilized World Ocean Day protest and picketing in Saldanha, Langebaan, and Paternoster. Additionally, Saldanha Bay Legacy participants wrote a letter of complaint about the failings of the Karpowerships Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process within their area. This resulted in the suspension of the EIA and the eventual Department Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) rejection of the EIA.

– Legacy participant from Western Cape, in Langebaan held interviews with fishermen. Additionally, participants took part in a webinar with Coastal Links provincial leaders, thus engaging them to participate in the opposition against karpowerships, and even had meeting with the Minister of DFFE on fisher’s issues.

– In Western Cape, a Legacy participant from Knysna established a co-management committee, and task team, to coordinate with provincial level around oil and gas, and fishers’ rights. He received an appointment with the mayor and SANParks.

– In the Eastern Cape Legacy participants from Port St Johns succeeded in getting a councillor who is opposed to oil and gas nominated for elections.

– Many of the Legacy participants formed successful and impactful partnerships with local civil society organizations.