Presentation of the Program "Ecological and Social Transformation" in Morocco and across Africa

TransformAfrica is a multi-annual program promoting a participatory, just and sustainable socio-ecological transformation in Africa. The program is managed by the Rabat office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation and supported by a variety of civil society actors from different African countries.

Which transformation are we talking about?

The African continent is faced with multiple social and ecological challenges calling for smart solutions and a more sustainable and just development. Africa is affected most by the consequences of climate change: Water shortage, desertification and the change of seasons put the economic growth and social coherence in Morocco and in Africa at risk. Environmental pollution and reckless exploitation of natural resources endanger the livelihoods of millions of people. These few examples show how ecological, social and economic questions are inextricably intertwined.

Many African countries have embarked on transformation processes tackling these challenges. However, policies are often too shortsighted and not designed in a holistic way, thus, targeting rather symptoms than root causes. Furthermore, the development and implementation of social and ecological policies tend to be carried out through a top-down approach. Ordinary citizens, civil society and affected communities have hardly the possibility to intervene, discuss and participate in these processes. The same holds true for the representation of women. This lack of participation leads to suboptimal results and reproduces existing patterns of inequality and discrimination.

How could we shape transformation differently?

Against this background, transformAfrica aims to promote an inclusive and sustainable transformation driven by citizens’ initiatives and civil society. The program seeks to build up a transnational network of local experts, activists and practitioners from across Africa working on different aspects of socio-ecological transformation processes, strengthen the narrative of a participatory, just and sustainable transformation and encourage public debates on the development and implementation of new social and environmental policies.

transformAfrica intends to transmit the voices of those who are most affected by the ongoing transformation processes to African decision-makers, and thereby, influencing policy discussions on suitable solutions for the social and ecological challenges Morocco and other African countries are faced with. The collaborative work of the established civil society network will contribute to an open and pluralistic debate providing realistic entry points for a sustainable and just transformation of African countries and societies.

What is transformAfrica doing about it?

The transformAfrica network was set up in Rabat in November 2017 on the occasion of an international conference organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. For the time being civil society actors from Morocco, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia joined the network. However, the program is open for other African countries as well.

In order to organize the thematic work most efficiently, five working groups were established, gathering experts, artists, local representatives and CSO actors working on different aspects of the socio-ecological transformation. Namely on: Agro-ecology, Energy Transition, Governance of Natural Resources, Participatory Urban Development and Waste Management. Each of these working groups will be carrying out a series of activities showcasing innovative, sustainable and participatory ways of shaping the socio-ecological transformation. Through the activities an open and pluralistic exchange on opportunities and challenges of different development models and policies will be possible. All activities include a transnational perspective, adopt a gender sensitive approach and will use artistic and digital means for communication.