After months of planning and launching the #BanFracking campaign in the Free State, the Botshabelo Unemployed Movement (BUM), Fateng Unemployed Movement (FUM) and volunteers from Lindley in the Free State got together for a town-to-town outreach program from 17-22 October. The aim of the outreach was to sensitise communities in the Free State and Kwazulu-Natal on fracking and the proposed plans by Rhino Gas and Oil to Frack in and around their communities.
Both BUM and FUM started with the groundwork of this projects 2 months ago when they visited Sterynsrus, Harrismith, Senekal and Bethlehem to establish relationships with the community leaders and to alert them of the impending dangers of fracking and to inform them of the inception of the #BanFracking Outreach project.
All four towns mentioned above are part of Rhino Oil and Gas plans to frack in and around them. It was, therefore, important and urgent for BUM and FUM to start recruiting as many young people from these towns as possible to form part of the larger coordinating group of the #BanFracking campaign in KZN and Free State in anticipation of the possible public participation meetings next year.
The overall reception of the information from the public in all four towns was amazing and positive and led to in-depth questions about fracking and its possible impact on the communities. It is clear from this project that more information sharing and climate literacy is needed in these places as they are more vulnerable to big corporations selling them dreams about jobs that never materialise while extracting their resources and leaving them even worse off than they were before. This project consisted of door to door canvassing and community meetings with QandA sessions at the end of the meetings. An estimated 2500 people were reached, while about 600 were actively engaged, participated in meetings and signed the petition.
The next step for this campaign is to establish the bigger coordinating group which will consist of the recruited youths from all four towns, this will give way to the projected plans for next year which include a delivery of the #BanFracking petition as well as joining forces with The Support Centre for Land Change (SCLC) in establishing a new way forward strategy that will enable more people to join the #BanFracking Movement.
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