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The Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) Area

Community Voices on Climate Change

The voices of people living close to the uMhlangane River, like those of other low-income populations around the world, are not often a part of the international climate change dialog. To promote climate justice, the “Community Voices on Climate Change” project makes visible the local population’s knowledge and existing understanding of climate change and environmental issues. The project was initiated in 2013 by the former INK district manager. His observation: when development projects do not take into account and build upon local knowledge, the interrelationship of poverty and environmental degradation often goes unaddressed. The main outcome of this project: stimulating new ways of thinking about the relationship between the local population and climate change.

This project encompasses the following activities, carried out in cooperation with staff and students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and building on INK district management’s existing contacts with the UKZN Department of Community Development:

  • A creative writing workshop for members of the local population and students of UKZN with a thematic focus on climate change
  • A search for Africa-oriented approaches based on indigenous knowledge. The question at hand: For what reasons have people traditionally saved water, without outside experts teaching them about climate change?
  • Documentation of stories, poems, and other forms of expression from a variety of community members (children, young people, women, the elderly) about climate change and environmental degradation
  • Raising awareness among actors in the climate partnership of the non-formal knowledge that is already present in the project area
  • Bringing local knowledge into development projects and deepening the local community’s understanding of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures
  • Fostering the appreciation of local knowledge and promoting its value

In February 2014 stories from the townships were published as a collection titled "Community Voices on Climate Change" (pdf, 23.9 MB). The booklet may be borrowed for educational use through the Bremen Information Center for Human Rights and Development (biz).