Youth vow to fight climate change

“If not me, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where? Act on Climate Change now!” vowed the youth who were gathered at Kampala International University [KIU] for an inter university youth dialogue on climate change under the theme youth climate action.

Youth taking a vow during the dialogue. PHOTO BY: NOAH OMUYA

On Thursday 03rd October, 2019, a number of youth from various Universities and secondary schools in Kampala, Uganda committed themselves in an affirmation to fight climate change in the country.

This barely after one week of global strike on climate change which brought together about 50 million people matching along streets in different parts of the world.

While presiding over the dialogue, Oxfam Uganda country director, Mr Moses Dombo appealed to participants in the dialogue to take a responsibility action in the movement against climate change.

“Each one of us has to be responsible, change begins with you and take a resolution that ends with you,” states Dombo.

In his address, Dombo further called upon youth to be strong activists who can demand for better policies from the government that help in fight against climate change.

Why the dialogue?

Uganda is considered one of the world’s most vulnerable and least climate-resilient countries. The AgriculturalSector which continues to be the most important sector in Uganda employing approximately 70% of the population remains highly impacted by climate change. According to statistics, the Agriculture sector contributes half of Uganda’s export earnings and a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Therefore, climate variability and longer-term climate changes have a significant impact on people’s lives and livelihoods and the national economy. According to Dombo, Oxfam, partners, and allies’ research and experience in Uganda clearly shows that climate change is already exacerbating poverty and inequality in the country.

“Climate change itself is an injustice, whereby the people least responsible for causing climate change are bearing the brunt of its impacts. Small holder farmers, most of them women and girls, are the most affected,” explained Dombo in an interview.

Time to act

The key- note speaker at the dialogue, Murungi Bonita Treasure, a 15- year old student in senior two at Nabisunsa Girls’ School, called upon the youth to stand up and take action against climate change.

“As youths, we are the backbone of this nation and we must stand up for our future. Let us work together to fight climate change,” states Murungi.

She further called the young generation to avoid environment pollution of all kinds and take responsibility to move out to sensitise the more [youth] who are not aware of the impending doom of climate change.

Murungi Bonita Treasure, a 15- year old student in senior two at Nabisunsa Girls’ School, giving a keynote address during the dialogue. PHOTO BY: NOAH OMUYA

“Remember, we are the chosen generation and we are chosen to fight for a better generation in future.”

The Chief Executive officer for Media Challenge Initiative, Mr Mpindi Abaas challenged students in all levels of education to always put emphasis in doing personal researches in issues concerning climate change.

“Learn one or two things about climate change, reach out to people working in that field and get to know what is happening in the world because at the end of the day, if you don’t know, you don’t know,” said Abaas.

During the dialogue, a Panel discussion was held on impacts of climate change, currents efforts and best practices, challenges and opportunities for youth employment linking all these to role of government, partners, legal framework and youth.

The KIU administration also set up climate smart garbage bins that are sought to separate metal, plastic and paper waste in order to ease disposal and recycling there by positively impacting climate change.

University staff and students showing the climate smart garbage bins during the launch. FILE PHOTO

Reports show that extreme weather and unpredictable seasons are becoming more frequent and severe, changing what farmers can grow and as a result leaving people suffer in hungry, food prices are going up and furthermore, food quality is going down.

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Noah Omuya

Noah Omuya is the founder and CEO of Aica Media and a two time winner of the Media Challenge Awards (The best feature story writer- 2018 and the best Climate Change Photography Award- 2019). He has a bachelors degree in Mass Communication from Kampala International University. He is also an alumni for; British Council Future News Worldwide Fellowship- 2020, Climate Tracker Energy Reporting Fellowship- 2020, InfoNile- Code for Africa Data Journalism Fellowship- 2020, the Media Challenge Fellowship, 2019 and British Council East Africa and Africa Writers Trust Master Class in Creative Writing- 2019. Omuya has specialized training in writing, strategic and multimedia communication, mainstream and online journalism, broadcast media and youth participatory radio, content development, and public relations. He is very much interested in sustainable development communication.

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