Greta Thunberg Foundation donates to people fighting the climate crisis in Africa

September 23, 2020

The Greta Thunberg Foundation will donate €150,000 to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Oil Change International, and Solar Sister for their work supporting people on the frontlines of the climate crisis in Africa.

Africa is one of the most vulnerable regions for the impacts of the climate crisis, as heatwaves, droughts, and floods intensify with rising global temperatures. Especially sub-Saharan Africa has already seen climate extremes become more frequent and more intense. Scientists say the climate crisis is causing more extreme floods and droughts in Africa, and recently countries across the continent have been hit by heavy floods, including in Sudan, EthiopiaNiger, Chad, and Nigeria.

People and communities in Africa will continue to be the most affected by the climate crisis despite having contributed to it the least. The donation of €150,000 will go to three organisations working directly with people on the frontlines of the climate crisis:

  • €50,000 to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for their disaster relief work across the African continent, supporting people and communities impacted by recent heavy floods, droughts, food insecurity, and other disasters.
  • €50,000 to Solar Sister for their work to empower local women entrepreneurs in Tanzania and Nigeria to build clean, solar-powered businesses, through business training, market facilitation, and ongoing mentoring. Solar Sister’s grassroots model has built a network of over 5,000 women entrepreneurs who have created a sustainable impact by providing clean energy access for their communities and income that supports their families.
  • €50,000 to Oil Change International for their work against harmful oil and gas projects across Africa and to support distributed renewable energy projects. Part of the funds will be regranted to frontline groups working on energy and climate issues in Africa.  

Greta Thunberg said:

“We are in a global emergency, which affects all of us. But everyone is not suffering its consequences equally. Africa is being disproportionately hit by the climate crisis, despite contributing to it among the least. Africa is a key in the fight for climate justice and now faces both huge risks as well as many opportunities to develop sustainable societies which put people and planet first.”

Martin Ärnlov, Secretary General of the Swedish Red Cross, said:

“Addressing the threat of climate change will require the collective efforts of all of us to build resiliency in communities and help alleviate human suffering. The support by the Greta Thunberg Foundation is a manifestation of this shared responsibility and will make a difference for people in Africa faced with huge challenges due to climate change. We are very grateful that the Foundation is using its reach and funds to bring attention to this critical issue”.

Katherine Lucey, Founder and CEO of Solar Sister, said:

“Climate science is very clear: our future depends on everyone, everywhere embracing renewable energy on a scale and at a pace we’ve never seen before. That kind of transformation cannot happen if we ignore the positive contributions of half the planet. Women are the backbone of their communities. They are overwhelmingly the managers of day to day energy choices at the household level, and they are essential drivers of change. An investment in local women entrepreneurs bringing clean energy to their communities is an investment in the future for all of us. Solar Sister is honored to partner with Greta Thunberg Foundation to work toward this inclusive, clean energy future.”

Thuli Makama, Senior Advisor, Africa at Oil Change International, said:

“A just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy is fundamental to addressing the climate crisis. African countries must not be locked into harmful oil, gas, and coal production while other regions move forward. Historically, Africa holds little responsibility for causing the climate crisis, but it is amongst the most vulnerable to climate impacts today. Concurrent with this, there exists a strong drive and enthusiasm for community-led climate solutions on the continent. We are grateful for the investment by the Greta Thunberg Foundation in supporting the efforts of frontline groups resisting harmful projects and driving forward distributed renewable energy. This is a critical component of achieving climate justice and equity in Africa.”

The donation comes after Greta Thunberg was awarded the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity in July 2020 along with a donation of €1 million to her foundation. The Greta Thunberg Foundation will donate the full sum to charitable projects combatting the climate and ecological crisis and supporting people facing its worst impacts, particularly in the Global South. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has donated €500,000 of the award sum already, and the second part will be donated when Greta accepts the award in Portugal.

The previous donations from the Greta Thunberg Foundation’s made possible by the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity have gone to the SOS Amazonia campaign (€100,000) and to the Stop Ecocide Foundation (€100,000, press release), and for flood relief in India and Bangladesh (€100,000, press release). The foundation also supported work cleaning up the Mauritius oil spill (approximately €10,000).

— Notes to editors —

Where to donate:

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent

Solar Sister

Oil Change International

Media contacts

Greta Thunberg Foundation

The Greta Thunberg Foundation aims to promote ecological, climatic and social sustainability as well as mental health, i.e. the sustainability issue from a holistic perspective. The foundation was set up in December 2019 and will help ensure that any awards or royalties directed to Greta can be handled transparently to support charitable causes in line with the mission of the foundation. The foundation will in due course have a website where all information will be found.

Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity

The Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity, awarded annually, in the amount of 1 million euros, aims to recognise people, groups of people and/or organisations from all over the world whose contributions to mitigation of and adaptation to climate change stand out for their novelty, innovation and impact.

Previous donations from the Greta Thunberg Foundation made possible by the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity: 

20 July: €100,000 to the Stop Ecocide Foundation and €100,000 to the SOS Amazonia campaign [Gulbenkian press release]

“I’m extremely honoured to receive the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity. We’re in a climate emergency, and my foundation will as quickly as possible donate all the prize money of 1 million Euros to support organizations and projects that are fighting for a sustainable world, defending nature and supporting people already facing the worst impacts of the climate and ecological crisis — particularly those living in the Global South. Starting with giving €100.000 to the SOS Amazonia campaign, led by Fridays For Future Brazil to tackle Covid-19 in the Amazon, and €100.000 to the Stop Ecocide Foundation to support their work to make ecocide an international crime.”

28 July: €100,000 to flood relief in India and Bangladesh: [press release]

“The donations will go to 3 NGOs in desperate need of funds for flood relief work in India and Bangladesh. BRAC, who will receive €25,000, are working on the ground in Bangladesh to provide critical relief for impacted families, including dry food, temporary shelter and health services. ActionAid India and Bangladesh, receiving €50,000, are working in both countries to provide emergency relief, as well as long term rebuilding. Goonj, receiving €25,000, are providing clothes, food, medicines, and other essential items to affected areas in India.”

August 11: SEK 100,000 (about €10,000) to help clean up the Mauritius oil spill [Instagram]

“An environmental emergency has been declared in Mauritius after a ship ran aground off the shores and began leaking tonnes of oil.

Of course the oil and shipping companies should be the ones paying for the damage they have done. But since they obviously don’t care – please donate if you can.

My foundation will donate 100.000sek (ca € 10.000)”