Africa Partner Organizations

Members of ARN
Members of ARN

Across Africa, activists have worked to stop destructive large dams, propose better alternatives, and protect the rights of affected people. Many of these groups have worked together as part of the African Rivers Network, the first continent-wide movement of dam-affected people and their allies. International Rivers works with groups in many parts of Africa, supporting their efforts to protect the region's rivers and the people who depend on them. Here we highlight some of our recent key partnerships.


Southern Africa

International Rivers' efforts on the continent began in southern Africa. In our more than 20 years working in the region, we've enjoyed strong partnerships with groups in Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and the Zambezi countries. Here are just a few of the most current campaigns:

In Mozambique, environmental justice group Justiça Ambiental has waged a broad-ranging campaign to raise awareness about the proposed Mphanda Nkuwa Dam on the lower Zambezi, and to engage local communities in the debate about rivers and dams in Mozambique. In addition to doing original field research on how the dam would impact local people, JA! has petitioned the government to analyze alternatives to the dam, organized field visits for visiting international activists (view a film based on one such visit), helped organize potentially affected communities, and held a major national workshop on the project. Currently, they are undertaking research on energy alternatives for Mozambique.

In Zimbabwe, the Basilwizi Trust has since 2000 worked to address the legacy of the Kariba Dam and its impacts on Tonga communities. Working directly with the affected people, Basilwizi seeks reparations in the form of development projects for the communities. They have produced a documentary on the topic, "Repairing Broken Lives," and have facilitated field visits for international visitors.

East Africa

In Kenya, an international network of NGOs is campaigning on the destructive Gibe 3 Dam in southwest Ethiopia. A key partner on the ground is the Nairobi-based Friends of Lake Turkana. The group has been instrumental in raising international awareness about how the dam could potentially dry up one of Africa's largest lakes, a situation that will affect a quarter-million people. In early 2009, Friends of Lake Turkana filed a request with the African Development Bank's Independent Review Mechanism for a project investigation (the AfDB is considering funding the project).

In Uganda, we have worked closely with the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) in Kampala for many years, particularly on the Bujagali Dam, and the issue of past dams draining Lake Victoria. For more than a decade, NAPE has diligently worked to open a public dialogue in Uganda about the need for better planning of large dams and the value of healthy rivers. NAPE has lobbied the Ugandan government, traveled to the World Bank and Europe to make its case directly with investors, helped dam-affected people make a stand, and gone to court to get key project documents released. Its efforts to propose alternatives to large dams included writing a citizens' guide to geothermal energy in Uganda, and holding an experts' meeting on the potential for geothermal in Uganda. The group's quarterly magazine, the NAPE Lobby, covers a variety of environmental topics of interest to Ugandans, with a special focus on water and energy stories.

West Africa

In Nigeria, our partners include SWAPHEP, working on the legacy of health impacts from past dams, and a group working to reduce the impacts from dams in the Hadejia Wetlands.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Kinshasha-based CEPECO has been working to get public participation in the planning of the world's largest hydropower project, the US$80 billion Grand Inga, planned for the Congo River, and to draw attention to the legacy of past dams. Communities affected by existing dams on the Inga rapids have been fighting for compensation for 40 years.