You are receiving this email because you are subscribed to ICLEI Africa's mailing list. You can unsubscribe at any time.

RISE Africa brings together thinkers doers and enablers to Inspire Action for Sustainable Cities


Are you ready for the RISE Africa 2021 Action Festival?

24-28 May 2021


Submit a session proposal to the Open Call by
7 April 2021



 Session types could include: Performance and Dialogue, Action Sessions, Trainings, Fieldtrips and Tours. 


View the curator statement and share the open call.


Submit a video provocation for the Action Festival by
30 April 2021


Submit a video that can inspire, motivate and push the boundaries of those who watch them. They should focus on new concepts or actions that promote sustainable future African cities.


Provocations should spark thought, debate or discussion.


Submit your entries to our 2021 photo competition by
12 May 2021



 Share visions, experiences and hopes for your city. Multimedia entries welcome! 15 shortlisted entries will be voted on by delegates of the RISE Africa 2021 Action Festival


Winner receives $500

Two finalists receive $200


Register for Core Sessions below or on the Action Festival Programme Page

More sessions will be added from 9 April, when the OPEN CALL is closed.

Africa is the 21st century changemaker – Global outcomes of sustainable urban development
The inaugural RISE Africa Session sets the motivation for our Action Festival, arguing that Achieving local and global sustainability goals can only happen if we ensure Africa urbanises sustainably.
Monday, 24 May 2021
10:30-12:30 CAT
Shaping and owning African urban narratives through literature, art and movement building
Explore how we might achieve social equity and new urban forms in our cities by starting with creative expression, individual and community aspirations, and meaningful participation processes.
Tuesday, 25 May 2021
10:30-12:30 CAT
Building the future now – How  our cities are pushing the boundaries of planning, governance, finance and technology
Local government stakeholders share innovative approaches for achieving urban sustainability through effective governance, improving access to finance and exploring opportunities for technological advancement in the fourth industrial revolution.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021
10:30-12:30 CAT
Next Urban Champions* - Meet the innovators, practitioners and thinkers who are revolutionising African cities!
What transformative actions are already improving our citizens’ mobility, energy, health, food, waste, water and ecological systems?

27 May 2021
10:30-12:30 CAT
Celebrating our urban imaginaries - A joint reflection and commitment to action
The closing RISE Africa Session invites you to join us to synthesise and reflect on the RISE Africa Festival and  chart a route for future RISE Africa community activities.

Friday, 28 May 2021
10:30-12:30 CAT

What happened last month?



“Because people don’t see the pipework and infrastructure that provide their access to water, they tend not to value it as a high as other products.”

- Refilwe Lesufi, Founder & Owner, Prana Consulting
“Before we try to improve capacity in water management institutions, we must understand what capacities already exist.”
Prof Jean-Marie Kileshye Onema, Executive Manager and Head of the Secretariat, WaterNet

As part of the 2021 World Water Day celebrations, RISE Africa honoured this year's UN Water theme of Valuing Water. This month, in partnership with the Water Research Commission, we brought together a number of initiatives from across the continent to showcase ways that water is valued. The discussion was opened by Dr Mandla Msibi, Group Executive for Innovation and Impact, WRC, with a refrain that ‘the importance of water is realized in its absence’ requiring us to introspect about what the value of water should mean in the present.
“Water is life” is the well-known expression that captures the essence of what water should mean to us. Humans consist of up to 60% water, we need access to clean drinking water to survive, we use water for hygiene and sanitation, for food production, manufacturing, industrial development and for many other uses; yet many cities and communities experience water scarcity, extreme flooding events, or both, and we are underperforming in our efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goal 6: ensuring water and sanitation for all. 
The failure in making tangible strides towards achieving SGD6 can be partially explained by the different ways in which user groups value water. Refilwe Lesufi, Prana consulting, suggests that how we value water, and therefore use water, is determined both by the society (and their practices) within which we grew up or geography – abundant water access means higher consumption, while water scarcity might suggest more considerate or efficient use. 
Louise Stafford, The Nature Conservancy, suggests that the notion of free water and current pricing of private and public water provides clear indication that there is little value built in, as the real cost of providing access to clean and safe water is often far higher than the pricing. Along with this, urban communities are often not able to see or engage with the infrastructure that provides water access as pipelines and treatment facilities are ‘hidden’. Urban populations often only see that clean water is available on-demand when a tap is turned on. Only when the on-demand source is threatened have cities seen drastic changes in behaviour and thus reductions in water usage, as is the case with the Cape Town Water Crisis, and many examples around the world.
Beyond increasing water value through economic means, there is a need to scale up use of technology and capacity development to improve efforts towards achieving SDG 6 targets. When considering available water provision, treatment or water-saving technologies used in water management practice, there are a wealth of innovators and private sector actors already providing water solutions. There is also abundant evidence to support implementation of nature-based solutions for water retention and treatment. However, in practice there is often a lack of financial resources to support implementation of new infrastructures or the growth of private solutions, due to limited understanding, or a lack of supporting governance structures in the public sector to implement these opportunities.
To address gaps in understanding, Rori Mpete, TKC Platform, suggests that there is a need to increase capacity development through education, experiential learning and training, particularly with youth, our future leaders. This could be bottom-up, through upskilling community champions to advocate and share the value of water in their communities. Jean-Marie Kileshye Onema, WaterNet, adds that this must be accompanied by top-down efforts to support platforms for continuous learning and knowledge sharing between stakeholders as well as to retain local knowledge and experience, and ensure effective succession planning in water management institutions.
Following the above reflections, as well as other offerings around the recent 2021 World Water Day celebration, it is clear that valuing water does not mean the same thing to everyone, and is not an intuitive call to action. Rather, it must acknowledge wide variety of understanding and approaches in the water sector and the need for various actions towards collectively achieving SDG6. Valuing water should encourage each of us to reflect about our experience with water and to do our part, by honouring what water means to us.

Roadmap to RISE Africa 2021 Action Festival




RISE Africa, brought to you by ICLEI Africa, with support from our partners: 

Our Future Cities, African Centre for Cities, NRF, South African Cities network, African Circular Economy Network, Djouman, The Nature of Cities, IIED, WWF, AU Youth Envoy


PO Box 5319, Tygervalley • Cape Town, 7536 • South Africa • Click here to unsubscribe.