HESASA is based on the pioneering work done by the Paraffin Safety Association of Southern Africa (PASASA),[VAC1] which was formed in 1996 to create awareness about the dangers of ingesting paraffin. PASASA also addressed other negative consequences of domestic paraffin use, including burn injuries, township fires and the inhalation of toxic fumes. It provided training and education for households, lobbied government for safety interventions and compiled a knowledge base about the domestic use of paraffin.
After extensive research into the energy sector, PASASA realised that South Africa’s focus on integrated energy safety in households was limited. In 2010, the organisation began to transform itself into the Household Energy Safety Association of Southern Africa for the following reasons:
- PASASA’s research into harmful incidents and injuries made it clear that harmful energy-related incidents were not unique to the use of paraffin in households.
- An increasing number of stakeholders identified a need for an organisation that could engage with civil society, community, government and business stakeholders, and lobby for improved household energy safety practices and policy.
- Community-based research showed that energy-related incidents were increasingly occurring across income groups and that many households were using a variety of energy sources.
- The focus on paraffin safety limited the association’s potential to cover overall energy safety, including gas, candles, electricity, matches and wood fires.
- The association needed to broaden its focus to include all, rather than just poor, households.
- Government was driving the use of alternative energy and hoped to replace paraffin with gas for domestic consumption.
- This new organisation would also reach beyond South African borders, leading household energy safety in the region and across the continent.
As a result, the association needed to reinvent itself. It has become a new, vibrant and independent entity, with a diverse board that is able to attract funding sources. It will work with a cross-section of stakeholders.
As part of its transformation process, the association conducted an in-depth stakeholder analysis, which was used to develop guiding principles, strategic objectives and key interventions for HESASA.
As a result of the transformation, HESASA has a much broader focus on household energy safety, targeting all income groups.