Solidarity Economies and Agroecology Team

Project Team:
Omprakash Kaiwartya (UK)
Temakholo Mathebula (SA)
Witness Kozanayi (Zimbabwe/South Africa)
Eric Ngang (UK, Cameroon)
Issahaka Fuseini (Ghana)
George Tonderai (Zimbabwe/South Africa)
Jane Burt (South Africa / UK)

Social Partners:
Zingela Ulwazi Trust in Mpumalanga and Mahlathini Development Foundation, in Kwazulu Natal

Project Title:
Solidarity practices during climate crises: Collaboratively exploring opportunities with women agroecologists

Project Overview:
The aim of this project was to investigate how already existing solidarity networks, such as stokvels, can support ongoing agroecology practices to be more adaptive and resilient to the climate emergency. Specifically, this project sought to:

  • Identify existing solidarity networks that could support agroecological practice.
  • Document what would inhibit and enable solidarity networks to support agroecology practices.
  • Support sharing and learning between the two agroecology groups in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga towards exploring how solidarity networks can support agroecology.

In response to the main research question: How can and do solidarity networks undergird agroecology to enhance resilience of women in the face of climate change and other stressors? this project used Participatory Action Research (PAR) to collaborate with two women-led farmer social partners in South Africa, Zingela Ulwazi Trust and Mahlathini Development Foundation. These organisations are already involved in solidarity networks and agroecology in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga and Ozwathini & Swaymane, KwaZulu-Natal. The two communities are located in contrasting agroecological regions with different models to support agroecology. This aimed to provide a rich context to understand the nuances around solidarity economies and solidarity networks in South Africa.

The following research activities were organised:

  • Co-determine the operationalisation of our research with partner organisations.
  • Desktop literature review on solidarity networks and basic analysis of the costs of agroecology in the two areas.
  • Invite 3-4 African scholars to run online workshops with the researchers and partner organisations on analytical frameworks.
  • Drawing on step 2, design an analytical framework for analysing the evidence.
  • Fieldwork: Interviews and a workshop for women in the two areas.
  • Analyse findings from interviews and workshop.
  • Facilitate cross site learning tours between the two groups including discussing how solidarity networks can support agroecology.

Project Outputs:

This project team has produced a working paper that form the basis of a publication, and is currently producing an animation and a policy brief to communicate the project’s findings across a range of audiences.