On the 25th of March 2023, Environmental Activism Week at Makerere University was launched supported by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in partnership with Centenary Bank, National Forestry Authority (NFA), Youth Go Green and Fair Ventures. The launch comprised a number of activities that included a panel discussion, tree planting and an inter-university debate. The debate under the theme ‘This House as a Female Climate Change Activist Will Choose not to have Children,’ was organized by Makerere University. The debate was about building capacity for climate change, mitigation and adaptation, and environmental conservation, and out of the 7 universities that participated, Kampala International University (KIU) emerged as the winner.
The Chief Guest Ms. Dagmar Zwebe, GGGI Uganda country representative while giving a speech commended the students for their enthusiastic involvement in climate change activities and emphasized showcasing solutions to the problems identified instead of the vice versa approach. She further called for the need for women’s empowerment and inclusion in climate change issues including mitigation and adaptation because women are affected the most, yet they are key to building climate-resilient societies. Therefore, women’s involvement in SDG 13 is key as women and children are the most affected by climate change. Their involvement corroborates strong and resilient communities.
Students were further encouraged to look at innovation as a path to Uganda’s development by Prof. Justine Namaalwa, Principal, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES), who emphasized the need for students to deliver practical innovations that provide solutions to Uganda’s climate challenges as the academia. Students need to identify the problems, analyze, and co-create solutions together with the communities for better implementation.
In relation to innovations and capacity building, the Makerere University initiative has been formed comprising of a ‘mindset course’ with a curriculum intended to educate students on responses to challenges and transform them into opportunities, and a project on tree growth has been established in Kyankwanzi and Kabanyoro.
During the panel discussion that was held under the theme ‘Environment week for capacity building of students in climate change’, students were encouraged to exhaust all the available resources to establish innovative ideas by doing research, internship placements, volunteering, and applying for available funds to bring their innovative ideas to life, but this can only be possible through SDG 17: Partnerships for instance with government institutions and academia. And for better policy adoption and implementation, students called for sensitization in communities on issues related to climate change and environmental protection.
This inter-university debate was organized in reference to the theme of ‘Youths fostering the implementation of environmental policies and climate change frameworks’ with the aim of creating a learning platform for students on climate change, green growth, policies and implementation so that they can be part of creating innovative solutions for a better resilient Uganda and for the future generation to come.
In attendance at the debate: Makerere University, Nkumba University, King Ceasor University, Kampala, International University (KIU). Kyambogo University, Gulu University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST).
Photo caption: The Panelists at the Inter-University Debate: Left to Right, Mr. Edwine Muhumuza (Youth go Green), Chris Semanda (FairVentures International), Prof. Irene Namalwa (Makerere University, Ismael Matovu (Guild Environment Minister), Dagmar Zwebe (GGGI) and the Moderator.