International Rivers Africa Programme

Image: Ollivier Girard for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Synchronicity Earth has supported International Rivers’ Africa Programme since 2013.

Africa is a dry continent, yet it is also home to some of the world’s great river systems: the Nile, the Congo, the Zambezi and the Niger. As industrial and agricultural use of water withdrawals rise, energy demands increase, and the impacts of climate change manifest, these river systems are coming under increasing human development pressure. Developing real and sustainable water solutions is therefore essential to safeguarding riverine environments and the species they support as well as providing sustainable livelihoods, and water and food security for a growing population.

International Rivers address the issue of river conservation in Africa by monitoring infrastructure development on major river systems (particularly, hydropower dams). In order to communicate the risks associated with unsustainable development on Africa’s rivers and the costs it incurs on local river-dependent communities, they produce knowledge products which engage and inform governments, investors, and international audiences in these debates. Further, they communicate and advocate for alternative development options, while supporting a network of local organisations in their own campaigns.

Whilst we have recently provided core support to the Africa Office, Synchronicity Earth’s support for International Rivers Africa Programme has predominately been towards its work in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This has included projects focused on developing awareness of the implications of the damming of the Congo River (with Inga 3); building civil society capacity; producing targeted outreach and communication products; better understanding energy solutions for Congolese people; and reducing environmental and social impacts if the Inga III dam goes ahead.

International Rivers is a key partner for both Synchronicity Earth’s Freshwater and Congo Basin programmes.

At A Glance