The female face of climate change activism in Uganda

The climate crisis is one of the many issues affecting Uganda and the greatest threat to human lives. Droughts and flash floods are some of the common occurrences due to raised temperatures that have claimed many lives and led to destruction of property.

To end this, women and men have taken up planting trees and other campaigns to save Ugandans and the next generations.

Being the women’s month, we recognise and celebrate women who are standing up to protect the environment.

Hilda Flavia Nakabuye

Nakabuye is the founder and team leader at Fridays for Future Uganda. She has been instrumental in organising and mobilising youth to take action in fighting against climate change. She stands out for advocating for inclusivity especially in regards to African voices when taking action and decisions.

Along with fellow activists, she has also dedicated her efforts to mobilisation of the youth in the demand for urgent action towards the climate crisis. With over 50,000 youth in Uganda, Sierra Leone, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria and Angola, the Fridays for Future movement has had massive impact in the continent.

Her inspiration stems from the fact that she grew up in a community affected by climate change and lived the experience. As a way to attain a better life, she decided to start something that will address the issue.

Patience Nabukalu

Patience is Ugandan climate activist fighting to help protect and restore wetlands in Uganda.

She is also part of the Fridays for Future movement and representative of Most Affected People and Areas (MAPAS). She is a climate activist who hopes to make change by protecting and restoring wetlands in Uganda and across the African continent.

According to Nabukalu, Most Affected People and Areas are concentrated in the Global South and are at the front line in tackling climate change since they experience it first-hand.

She further expressed that she has experienced the crisis herself and that is why she raises her voice to speak for the voiceless MAPAS.

Leah Namugerwa

Leah is a youth climate activist in Uganda who became famous because of her tree planting campaigns which are usually scheduled for Friday making it the busiest day of the week in regard to environmental intervention.

Leah started fighting for the environment at an early age of 14 and on her 15th birthday she planted 200 trees instead of spending the day in party mood. That day birthed the Birthday trees project and has since then been very impactful. She gives out seedlings for those wishing to celebrate their birthdays planting trees.

She has been involved in several marches along with other young climate advocates to mark the global climate strike on 29 November 2020, and clean the lakeshore of Kampala’s Ggaba Beach.  Namugerwa has continuously called on the Government of Uganda to act towards climate action.

She is also part of the team that started the petition and campaign for banning the polythene bag in Uganda.

Leah continues to fight for climate change by encouraging, planting trees and speaking against plastic pollution for a better Uganda.

‘’It is the rule of nature living for others,’’ she said during the recently concluded COP27 in Egypt, where she was invited as a speaker.

Vanessa Nakate

Nakate started her Climate activism journey in 2018, but she became famous in 2019 when she was cropped out of a picture with other activists which the media described as racist.

Since then, she has been invited to numerous panels to speak about her work and movement on climate action.

She was recently appointed as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador 2022.

In July 2020 she appeared on an interview with famous actress Angelina Jolie, talking about the power of African voices in relation to climate change.

She has founded two youth organisations, including the Rise Up movement; an organisation raising the profile of climate activists in Africa and around the world.

She has also been the headline of Climate Action in Uganda, leading climate campaigns and supporting other activists.

Rose Kobusinge

Kobusinge is a climate activist who has experienced the impacts of climate change first hand and thus she decided to take on the journey of advocating for change.

She has also prioritised studying and understanding how the environment works and she is currently pursuing a PhD. She is also the co-founder at the Climate Biodiversity Initiative and an Environment Officer at Kabalega Foundation.


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