Students of Kampala International University (KIU) have resolved to lead a campaign among youth to arrest the worsening climatic situation. With support from OXFAM in Uganda, the university has organized the first Inter- University Dialogue on Climate Change under the theme, Youth Climate Action, to encourage the youth to take a stand on climate justice.
According to Jackson Muhindo, OXFAM’s Resilience and Climate Change Coordinator, OXFAM’s partnership with KIU is critical because,
“Uganda is considered one of the world’s most vulnerable and least climate-resilient countries. The Agricultural Sector, which is one of Uganda’s critical sectors employing over 70% of the population,remains highly impacted by climate change. The sector contributes half of Uganda’s export earnings and a quarter of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Additionally, climate variability and longer-term climate changes have a significant impact on people’s lives and livelihoods and the national economy.”
Professor George Nasinyama, KIU’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, highligted the University’s motive in taking part in the dialogue;
“KIU is a student cantered University that prides itself in promoting student-led initiatives. Our goal is to graduate students who are complete in character and learning. Just like the recently ended Research Dissemination and Innovation Conference, events like these are not only huge motivators for the student body but they also enhance our students’ ability to contribute towards solving problems that affect society. Secondly, I cannot stress enough how critical the issue of climate change is. As a University, we must play our part by providing an environment that brings together university students across disciplines to take the lead in discussing and taking action on climate change.”
The dialogue features presentations on Climate Change from the youth, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal husbandry, Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD) and will be crowned with setting up of climate-smart garbage bins.
There will also be a Panel discussion on the impact of climate change, current efforts and best practices, challenges and opportunities, opportunities for youth employment, and linking all this to the role of government, partners, legal framework and the youth.
Extreme weather and unpredictable seasons are becoming more frequent and severe, changing what farmers can grow, making people hungry. Similarly, food prices are going up while food quality is declining. Climate change is therefore affecting what we can eat. The time to act is now and we all must speak out about the burden of climate change and influence government and other players to act.
Climate change aggravates poverty and inequality and is in itself an injustice, whereby the people least responsible for causing climate change such as smallholder farmers, women, and girls, bear the brunt of its impacts. Uganda has suffered devastating impacts of climate change such as the landslides in Bududa, the disappearing of Mukusa I island on Lake Victoria, and the drying up of Lake Victoria among others.