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From Silos to A Pan-African Entrance

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Via its targets, the community has given itself the mandate to problem unequal water distribution; demand the institutionalization of the best to water within the constitutions of African nations; defend widespread possession of water; and interrogate the dominant narratives of privatization whereas proposing individuals centered intersectional options to inherent systemic issues. In fact, it’s unrealistic to quantify the achievements of such enormous aspirations inside such a brief interval, however the ongoing seen work of the AWJN inside the continent is value appreciating. Beneath the agency coordination of Ghanaian water justice organizer, Leonard Shang-Quartey, the AWJN has launched into varied campaigns on three fronts: constructing the community on the continental degree, directing linkages with present worldwide water justice boards, and facilitating the work of grassroots organizers in frontline communities. Whereas the primary and second flies the community’s agenda regionally and internationally, the latter grounds AWJN’s work on the nationwide and native degree inside the continent.

In worldwide engagements, the AWJN has strategically used the UN 2023 Water Convention to demand assist for precedence water justice points in Africa, by means of a multi-country signature and petition marketing campaign. Other than lobbying worldwide organs, the AWJN additionally marks key worldwide dates related to its agenda to advance the water justice trigger. For instance, on twenty eighth July 2023, by means of a press launch and gatherings in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, the community marked the thirteenth anniversary of the UN decision on the human proper to water by condemning the continued pattern of water privatization. In the identical method, World Atmosphere Day was noticed with a name towards consuming water sachets, and the demand that African governments make high quality consuming water obtainable for all.

Whereas there at the moment are AWJN members from Zimbabwe to Cameroon and Senegal, on the bottom, the community is straight concerned in communities in 4 nations offering assist for motion constructing by means of the Voices of Water Justice marketing campaign. Collaborating with the Ecumenical Water Community in Nigeria, the AWJN works with Ekiti neighborhood members of their struggles towards water privatization. In Ghana, the AWJN helps the Water Residents Community (WCN) to deal with the monetary mismanagement of the Tshei desalination Plant Public-Personal Partnership, which burdens the individuals. Dedicated to addressing the unequal distribution of water, the AWJN has joined the African Water Widespread Collective (AWCC) in South Africa to name out government-imposed water restrictions on poor households. And by the identical token, the AWJN is elevating home employee’s voices in assist of Mathare Social Justice Heart’s (MSJC) efforts to deal with the plight of those that bear the heavy burden of water shortages in Nairobi, Kenya. In all these nations, the AWJN has both constructed on ongoing struggles or helped to kick-start new initiatives.  

In Ghana for example, the AWJN is constructing on the longtime WCN struggles, which Leonard Shang-Quartey notes have succeeded in halting some water privatization contracts.15 In Kenya the community has not solely supported MSJC but in addition enabled the institution of the Nairobi Water Justice Working Group (NWJWG). Working with MSJC on home employee struggles constructed on the middle’s preexisting engagements with water justice struggles in Nairobi. Based on Gacheke Gachihi, coordinator of the MSJC, the centre has been concerned in Maji ni Uhai Maji ni Haki (Water is Life, Water is Proper) marketing campaign since 2018.16 Not solely did the marketing campaign handle to carry profitable water literacy gatherings in Mathare and associated neighborhoods, but in addition uncovered the truth of water shortage and its resultant results in stated communities. Gachihi additionally highlighted the truth that the centre’s present work with the AWJN to boost home staff’ voices has strengthened their efforts to succeed in out to essentially the most weak teams inside casual settlements. The connections to the AWJN grew when AWCC and BPP organizers, Faeza Meyer and Koni Benson and I have been in Nairobi presenting on water organizing and different points related to constructing Pan-Africanist Feminist motion histories on the Cabral Ecofeminist Political Faculty, organized by the African Ecofeminist Collective in honour of the anniversary of the assassination of Amilcar Cabral in January 2023. Organizers from throughout Nairobi engaged on problems with land, queer rights, ladies’s rights, police brutality, and others, discovered that water was a standard challenge. To attendees, it was obvious that the identical state that was contemplating new water privatization payments was additionally contemplating homophobic laws and enabling new ranges of political repression. Most of the members then joined the AWJN and have been particularly mobilizing in connection to water shortage as central to the rising structural and bodily violence impacting all struggles towards violence in Kenya.

The AWJN additionally enabled social actions and activists in Nairobi to create the NWJWG, which has been instrumental in water coverage engagements. The working group has been organizing neighborhood conversations to deepen understandings of water points in Nairobi and collectively plan on find out how to advance water justice struggles. Ruth Mumbi who’s coordinating the working group has this to say:

The working group was fashioned following a sequence of on-line direct engagements with the Africa Water Justice Community, which supplied a novel alternative and perspective for native organizations to know wider water justice points from the worldwide angle and the way interrelated they’re with the native experiences.17

Presently the working group is on the entrance line of struggles towards the proposed Nairobi County water privatization invoice, the place as lately as ninth October 2023 it marched in protest to current a petition towards the invoice to the Meeting as a part of their coverage engagement methods. Mumbi observes that every one the actions have been straight or not directly made attainable by assets from AWJN, which prolonged monetary assist to the working group and promoted its actions in different platforms leading to connections with different companions. From the NWJWG’s expertise, the AWJN conjures up the creation of recent initiatives however most significantly, it nurtures and strengthens their water justice struggles in varied methods together with influencing insurance policies on the nation degree.  

Removed from the offline engagement which gave rise to the NWJWG, the community can be using on-line platforms as a brand new web site of wrestle. A sequence of webinars dubbed #WaterSavesLives have been constructing individuals’s consciousness on varied water justice points and countering dominant mainstream capitalist narratives. Price contemplating is the truth that the webinars are usually not the one instruments feeding into the vital function of equipping the lots with the best data. As rightly defined by Benson and Karunananthan, the analysis carried out in solidarity with the Oakland Institute, amongst different comrade organizations, in direction of the beginning of the AWJN laid a strong basis for the community’s dedication to utilize the battle of concepts as an integral a part of its technique to defend the commons.18


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