By Portia Adu-Mensah, director of the group 350 Ghana Reduce our Carbon, also known as 350 GROC.
We started in 2013, after a massive training event that 350.org organised in Türkiye – the Global PowerShift. It was a crucial moment for the climate movement, when we needed new energy and – above all – new global connections. Around 500 people from more than 130 countries came together during a week of meetings and relationship building.
As several other new young climate leaders around the world, I came back home with my friends full of ideas and passionate to make change. We started 350 GROC to oppose Ghana’s plans to build the Ekumfi Aboano power plant – a 700-megawatt (MW) project that would burn 2 million tons of coal per year and impact the health and livelihoods of thousands of people. We mobilised, protested, and talked to affected communities. And after three years of campaigning, we won! The project was cancelled, once and for all.
But that was just the start. We kept fighting against fossil fuels in Ghana for many years. Our group got bigger, with almost 150 volunteers from different backgrounds joining – scientists, grassroots community leaders, lawyers, journalists, students. And we realised they had to go beyond. After we stopped the establishment of coal in Ghana, we had to fight for an alternative. In 2021, 350GROC started the campaign “Renewable Energy for Communities” (RE4C).
When we started, we were focusing on the national policy level. But we realized that it wouldn’t solve everything and we had to also campaign locally. Communities were the most impacted, and they need to have agency. RE4C was created with a multi-level approach, including lobbying for bolder national policies for renewable energy and advocacy for the implementation of local solutions.
In the last years, RE4C has trained 100 women on clean cooking, promoted several assemblies to introduce renewable energy alternatives and put on communities’ hands the decision about how to promote and use those, sent recommendations to the national Energy Commission on how to improve the country’s Renewable Energy Act, and much more.
Our immediate goal is to make sure that Ghana’s government sticks to their promise of having at least 10% of renewables in the energy mix by 2030 (it’s only at 3% now) – by increasing local, decentralised solar and wind projects and promoting the integration of renewable energy in district development policies. And we have ambitious plans! In 2023, 350GROC wants to:
- Create national momentum and push for a more ambitious Renewable Energy Masterplan
- Expand the “Women in Renewable Energy” project to other regions of the country, and deepen the engagement of the 100 women already trained
- Fund renewable energy projects in schools, enabling young people to create African solutions to the climate crisis
- Develop a Renewable Energy Training Manual, with accessible language to empower communities to identify the solutions available to them
But if we’re going to make these plans happen, we need help! 350.org supports groups as 350GROC in many ways – with direct funding or identifying other funding opportunities; with communications, organising and campaigning training; with building coalitions and connecting groups working in the same regions or around the same topics; with logistical and technical structures.
Join us for a just transition to renewable energy!