The First African Feminist Academy For Climate Justice
The inaugural Africa Feminist Academy for Climate Justice (AFACJ) was a co-created space that brought together African women and girls in all their diversities to cross-learn, strategize and boldly reclaim their rights on climate justice. Tucked between debunking false solutions for climate change and patriarchal narratives, the Academy tested and tried COP26 promises. Yester resolutions were also unpacked and the muted feminist concerns and solutions lauded in the interest of the African women, youth, and frontline communities including black indigenous people, land defenders, rural communities that bear the greatest burden of the climate crisis.
The Academy reflected on the unresolved injustices that were constructed by the global North since the genesis of slavery. Participants literally had a deep dive into their subconscious and fished out the unprecedented meanings they had attached to life, health, and well-being. They reflected, recited, and relieved the harsh realities Africa has been made to endure as a continent and the living repercussion on its people, its soil, and its weather patterns. The cooling waves from the unwavering Atlantic Ocean lobbed the participants to feel, think and speak freely without rehearsing what has already permeated the arena of climate justice. This was truly the genesis of sailing into the raw #AfricanFeministStories of #FeministClimateJustice.
The Exclusivist Inclusion
The Academy was well attended by African feminists and climate activists who have been disproportionately marginalized and outrightly excluded from the big COPs made up of the who is who. Their inclusion was feminist impartiality to the exclusive Global North summits which regurgitate false hopes but sustain discrimination against those who are forced into being voiceless and helpless. The academists were drawn from Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Somalia Tunisia, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and largely encompassed indigenous people, young women, youth and frontline community activists who are keen to share their lived experiences and stories of resilience.
The Spirit of the Academy
Convened in Accra, Ghana, the Academy revitalized the spirit of unity and the dreams for African solutions for Africans by Africans that were once echoed through the lips of Kwame Nkrumah, a pan-Africanist and first president of Ghana. The temperature of conversations between the 23rd to 26th of May 2022 truly resembled the unprecedented weather patterns. The spirit of the Academy was also expressed through art, spoken words, songs, and dances by women and girls in all their diversity. In its rhythm, the spirit boldly ignited the passion for a gender-just climate actions that are inclusive, predictable, adequate, transparent, accountable, and accessible. The academists did not shy away from echoing alternatives to the dominant patriarchal hegemonic falsehoods that were unabatedly unpacked and challenged in the physical and digital wall of resistance. The amazing co-facilitators Ruth Nyambura and Sheila Shefo
The Tree of Hope
In seeking to build consensus on the next steps, the academists recognized and redressed the discourse of loss and damage. They focused largely on marginalized peoples’ and communities’ convictions of climate justice. In so doing, they proposed solutions that can address the climate impacts, particularly for African women and girls, whose voices are often muted in Climate Justice spaces. Their resolutions were penned and glued to the tree of hope. As reflected in the imagery, the tree of hope elevated feminist alternative solutions to be implemented for a just and healthy African continent.
Article written and compiled by Imali Ngusale – [email protected] .For more on FEMNET’s Climate Justice and Natural Governance work email Anne Songole – [email protected] or Dr.Melania Chiponda – [email protected]