Towns Action Network

Connecting changemakers in South African towns

Towns Action Network

Connecting changemakers in South African towns

Towns Action Network

Connecting changemakers in South African towns

Small and medium towns in South Africa face significant socio-economic, infrastructure, and governance challenges. However, local changemakers across the country are taking action to find solutions and re-activate the potential of their towns.

The Towns Action Network (TAN) is an action-based national learning and support network that connects changemakers and fosters local partnerships across sectors to support the regeneration of South African small towns.

Network activities are designed to inspire joint action to revive small town economies and promote learning and collaborative action between local municipalities, residents, and business.

The network uses storytelling to spotlight ‘what is strong instead of what is wrong’ and showcase the potential for sustainable impact and change.

Sign up for the TAN newsletter here.


Connecting changemakers around small-town regeneration


Sharing stories of changemakers who are turning around the fate of their towns


Enabling residents, policymakers, researchers, support organisations & storytellers to partner effectively

TAN Partners

The Towns Action Network is convened by the EDP and supported by seven organisations leading the regeneration of small towns in South Africa, with funding from the Finnish Fund for Local Cooperation.

News & Updates

Want to join TAN?

The Towns Action Network is open to any organisation or individual involved in small town regeneration and governance in South Africa. This includes residents and businesses, municipal officials, civil society, community organisations, researchers, media and other changemakers.

We encourage active participation in this voluntary network to foster sustainable change and impact.

Network benefits include:

  • Quarterly online gatherings, with post-event recordings, reports and resources shared.
  • Updates and opportunities to get involved in local partnership projects.
  • Insights and advice from TAN Support Partners.
  • A regular newsletter including network highlights, features, updates and more.

For more information, contact: Nobungcwele Mbem, EDP Project Lead,

Towns of change

See where TAN members are active across South Africa.

Find the geographical locations and descriptions of small-town changemaking initiatives on this interactive map.



TAN newsletter

The TAN newsletter features opportunities for network members, upcoming events, relevant resources, and key network activities. 

Sign up to the TAN newsletter here.

Previous newsletters:

Issue #3 (July 2023)

Issue #2 (November 2022)

Issue #1 (September 2022)

TAN Gatherings

Quarterly gatherings bring the full network together to share learnings and best practices. 

Previous Gatherings:

December Gathering (1 December 2022)
Session recording | Report 

September Gathering (21 September 2022)
Session recording | Report

May Gathering (19 May 2022)
Session recording | Report

Launch of TAN (2 March 2022)
Session recording | Report

Support resources

TAN Offers and Needs Catalogue: Interactive form providing opportunities for TAN members around partnership building, vertical and horizontal learning exchange and skills transfer. 

TAN page on uKESA: An easily accessible online repository that shares information and networking opportunities relating to the built environment. The TAN page contains media articles, research papers and speeches related to small towns and local government.