Expertise: Environmental activist
Portia Adu-Mensah is a climate activist and the founder of Dream Hunt, a non-profit in Ghana that works in sustainable development and social-welfare. She advocates for climate justice, specifically the use of clean coal in Ghana. Adu-Mensah is also a national coordinator of the initiative titled 350 Ghana Reducing our Carbon (G-ROC), a youth-led organization established in 2013 with a goal to champion renewable energy and eliminate fossil fuels.
In 2015, when Portia Adu-Mensah heard about a proposed coal plant located in Ekumfi Aboano, in Ghana’s central region, she knew she had to rally people against it. “I’ve been to South Africa to see how coal impacts communities and people really are suffering because of the establishment of coal,” she says. Portia heard directly from people who faced health issues including respiratory and heart problems, and delayed development in children. “I knew there was no way I would allow this to happen to our people,” she says about the proposed coal plant. Portia, mobilized youth and environmental organizations against the proposed coal plant. They wrote letters, reached out to Ghana’s national energy regulator, and arranged in-person meetings with the community in Ekumfi Aboano. “We got the message from [community members] that there was a message from the top that any chief who meets with us will be in trouble, so we needed to re-strategize.”
Portia turned to journalists, speaking publicly about the harm a coal plant would bring to Ekumfi Aboano. She shared case studies with community members to educate about potential harms and the possibilities of clean energy alternatives. With mounting public pressure, the government cancelled plans to proceed with the plant.
Portia and G-ROC members continue to champion renewable energy and have provided solar power banks and solar light bulbs to women’s groups. Portia is also lobbying Ghana’s government to review the renewable energies act, which she says is in desperate need of an update. While she works to educate others about environmental issues, Portia also monitors corporations whose interests may cause harm.
Portia Adu-Mensah From Ghana: ‘Our Leaders Must Support Grassroots Girls’
Interview with Portia Adu Mensah – GLF Accra 2019