Informal workers empower themselves around climate change

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The International Federation of Workers’ Education Associations (IFWEA) is running a 3-year on-line project for mainly informal workers on the effects of climate change on the poor.

In 2021, 33 participants from three organisations in three countries took part: the Malawi Union for Informal Sector (MUFIS), Alliance for Zambia Informal Economy Associations (AZIEA) and Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA). Fourteen of the participants are females.

participants combined
Some of the participants from the different countries

The methods used enable participants to independently and confidently pursue campaigns relying on each other working collectively and taking collective action.

In the first year, participants learn about participatory learning methods and participatory research methods (in an online or offline study circle) and develop education materials for raising awareness on “The effect of climate change on the poor” within their constituency.

The following year, the study circles identify existing alliances and the potential for improving these alliances through organising a concrete activity involving different kinds of organisations.

In the final year, they contribute to the campaign for climate change through lobbying or engaging a broader range of stakeholders and prepare statements, demands and/or host a forum for dialogue on solutions or improvements that need to be made.

In the process participants learn and understand different strategies for organising, online and digital tools for education, communication skills (how to talk with organisations and stakeholders) and participatory learning and research methods.

IFWEA supported the three unions with an online study circle guide including discussion points and online activities for participants to complete. In some cases, there was a big challenge due to the divide in digital skills, access and ability. For many it was their very first online education experience ever. “In our study circle, young people trained old on how to use phones,” said one participant.

Through participatory research done in each of the countries, another participant said, “it became clear for us that climate change has affected many lives in Malawi, especially informal workers.” Participants from the other two countries had the same experience and agreed that there is a major lack of education on climate change in their countries. Each study circle then came up with some popular education materials such as short video clips, poems (see the poem below) and articles to use as awareness raising tools.

They developed a plan of action to extend their awareness raising campaigns into 2022, especially through media channels.

To learn more about the IFWEA study circle program and online course visit https://ifweaonline.org/course/index.php?categoryid=23 or contact renaldi@lrs.org.za

Renaldi Prinsloo is an educator for International Federation of Workers’ Education Associations (IFWEA)

CLIMATE CHANGE

June Chadenga, Zimbabwe

Leading the fight against climate change

Lots of obstacles that we will face

Global warming is coming soon

but you still have the Sun and Moon.

What about our plants and trees?

Mother earth needs some peace

On top of trees are some honey bees

Lovely birds sweetly sing

Global warming might be near

Climate change is already here

No one enjoys the burning Sun

Avoid disturbing the natural balance

There’s a lot of things we can’t resist

The lovely earth that we should embrace and kiss

Let us save our mother nature

Let us make it in perfect structure.

Life is pleasant here on earth

Don’t let disaster become her birth

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Renaldi Prinsloo
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