By Landry Nintereste

DeCoaloniseAfrica is gaining momentum. What started as a small network and campaign in Kenya, with SaveLamu as the iconic anti coal fight, is now spreading and inspiring other groups to join the call.  At the end of August, 350 Africa gathered in Ghana with 30 activists from 350 G-ROC (Ghana Reducing Our Carbon) for a workshop where deCOALonise was introduced and inspired a  new campaign in Ghana called “RE for Communities”.

In the last three years, 350 G-ROC has advocated and fought against a proposed coal-fired power plant, a first in the country, with the support of local, national and international coal conglomerates.

Plans for the 700 MW supercritical coal-fired power project are on a temporary halt, and this has not deterred  Shenzhen Energy Group and  Volta River Authority to relaunch the project.

While our workshop’s main goal was to get a shared understanding of the RE campaign and create a foundation to develop a broad campaign strategy with an active involvement of local, national and international partners, strategic discussions around the new push for the coal project were inevitable.  It was clear that 350 G-ROC, along with its allies, remain determined to obtain a permanent cancellation of coal options.

At the same time, 350 G-ROC and its partners believe that there are better alternatives that ought to be pursued as a solution-based approach to the energy crisis in Ghana. The country has committed to promoting Renewable Energies as seen in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), Nationally Determined Contributions (Gh-INDCs).

After 3 intensive days, the 30 activists were able to define the campaign’s goals and objectives, and most importantly determine the targets and tactics for the implementation of the national 100% Renewable Energy agenda by 2020. In the past, GROC has been utilising community mobilisation and traditional media engagement, but the new campaign will involve tactics such as lobbying at various legislative levels, storytelling, activism and increase visual content including infographics and audiovisuals exhibitions.

When we left Accra, my colleague Papa and I were encouraged not only by the satisfactory results of the workshop but also by the determination and commitment of GROC members to shake the decision makers for concrete action. Together, we will deCOALoniseAfrica!