Action to tackle the impacts of climate change is key to addressing environmental and social challenges facing the African continent and finding relevant solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. It is difficult to identify good practices that can be replicated and promoted in francophone Africa and beyond. Capacities and expertise are limited in rural communities in Africa. In addition, community-based organizations do not engage effectively in South-South cooperation efforts. Many francophone African countries have fragile social and economic contexts. There is also a lack of capacity, financing and access to affordable technologies, as well as weak support from public authorities.
Towards a Solution
The objective of the non-governmental organization Initiatives Climat [Climate Initiatives] (IC) is to combat climate change through South-South cooperation in francophone Africa and to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by:
- Identifying good practices to combat climate change and promoting them during international events and on media platforms.
- Transferring available good practices and technologies to civil society organizations (CSOs) and green and social entrepreneurs in francophone Africa.
- Engaging project leaders in the implementation of concrete South-South cooperation projects.
A learning platform and best practices database was established for communities, CSOs, green youth entrepreneurs and municipalities. To promote participation on the platform, IC organizes an annual competition to identify best practices, and winners receive awards. As a result, the platform currently contains 230 initiatives and has become a valuable tool for learning about and sharing good practices, designing ideas, learning from the experience of others and implementing projects.
To foster the acquisition of new knowledge and the dissemination of new practices (including technology transfer) between project leaders in 15 francophone Africa countries, IC organized four collaborative trainings and two research and development workshops on solar energy, green charcoal and agroecology.
These technology transfer trainings and workshops enabled the programme to identify the current needs of beneficiaries and respond with concrete actions in the field. They also provided the opportunity to disseminate information, compare situations between countries and provide collective responses to common problems. As a result, project leaders can find solutions to the difficulties they encounter by examining the approaches used by others. For example, Senegal has shared its experience in solar energy with Guinea and Morocco, and 10 countries are currently working to produce green charcoal based on prototypes designed during the research and development workshops. Furthermore, the ‘Improved Traditional Granary’ model for seed storage developed in Senegal has now been replicated in six countries.
In addition to the online database, IC has created several community networks, including a network of correspondents from 13 African countries who identify good practices and technologies and analyse local needs to improve and upscale them. The African Green Charcoal Cluster is a network of producers from 10 countries who exchange knowledge on the production and commercialization of green charcoal, including information on certification. The network of project leaders committed to agroecology established an African seed bank, and members regularly exchange knowledge on innovative practices. The network of Green Entrepreneurs from 15 African countries gathers once a year during its annual Forum on Youth and Green Entrepreneurship in Francophone Africa to review progress and challenges, design new common solutions and promote South-South collaboration.
Thanks to IC, the project leaders identified in the databases, particularly IC award winners, have improved their reputations among local authorities and governments, enabling them to create new partnerships.