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Gendering and Decolonising Climate Change Research: Exploring the Waterberg, South Africa


For decades the living biosphere has been over-exploited and subjected to a corporate-industrial food system and fossil-fuel extractivism, both practices destroying ecosystems and releasing pathogens. Global South populations – most notably women – are particularly impacted by these inter-connected ecological, social, and economic crises of our time. At the same time, however, women are a pivotal force in mobilising struggles for environmental and climate justice. This project specifically offers the first in-depth exploration of climate justice activism led by women living adjacent to coal mines and coal power stations in a ‘new frontier space’ of coal extraction in South Africa, as emblematic of the crises of our time and transformative responses to such.

The project’s overall aim is to contribute towards current climate change and climate justice research and activism, through adopting a unique gendering and decolonising theoretical framework and methodology. It aims to not only develop and conduct a unique approach to conducting interdisciplinary social science research but also to have a concrete impact on the capacity of ordinary women to resist the dire effects of mega-coal mining projects on their lands and communities. The (i) methodological, (ii) theoretical and (iii) concrete objectives of the proposed research are: develop innovative feminist, participatory action research methodologies in response to the climate crisis; produce an original and interdisciplinary history and presence of the Waterberg, drawing on political ecological, feminist and decolonial theoretical frameworks in order to contribute towards understanding the historical and colonial causes of climate change in the Waterberg; support the collective self-organisation of women in the Waterberg who are campaigning against extractivism and climate change; and target future North-South research and civil society collaborations by connecting organisations.

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF


Kings Gate
NE1 7RU Newcastle Upon Tyne
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 212 933,76