Ugandan climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate describes her journey as a young Black woman leader in the fight for a healthier planet. Nakate’s involvement in the climate justice movement began in 2019 when she organized climate strikes and inspired other young people in her local community to join her efforts. After nearly a year of this, she created the Youth for Future group, which later became known as the Rise Up movement. This movement aims to lift up the voices of all people in the climate movement and supports various grassroots projects. Nakate advocates for climate solutions that hold the global North accountable for its role in the climate crisis, and she explains the voices of people on the frontlines of climate change must be centered in conversations about creating more sustainable, just futures. Climate finance must be made a priority, and fossil fuel projects must be stopped. If these actions take place, better futures are within reach. Photo credit: REUTERS / Alamy
Constance Okollet is among the first women of Uganda taking bold action to fight climate change impact, through the formation of the Osukuru United Women Network. Over time, the network has evolved into an education platform about climate change, mitigation and adaptation strategies. Irene Barbara Amayo, another powerful woman, is the chairperson of a group in the Network which has taken action including creating a sustainable poultry operation and a small tree nursery. Even though the Network faces multiple infrastructural challenges which constitute barriers and challenges, the women involved in the project continue to be optimistic and stand for their beliefs. This article highlights that even though these women are not the ones responsible for climate change and massive global pollution, they are nonetheless rising as heroes to build solutions. Photo credit: Edward Echwalu
Betty Obbo of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists writes about how top-down hydroelectric dam projects, such as the Bujagali dam in Uganda, displace vulnerable communities and create more problems than they solve for local women. One such woman is Rukia Kauma, now living in Naminya resettlement village, who explains how the lack of basic amenities, roads, schools and fertile soil in her new home impact her daily life as her family’s principal breadwinner. She now walks hours a day to fetch water and firewood in the forest, which often exposes her to the risk of sexual violence. The Ugandan government, African Development Bank and the World Bank did not adequately consult women when designing the dam project, further reinforcing patriarchal relations around their access and control over land and water sources, and the continued lack of social services provision to displaced people is staggering. The National Association of Professional Environmentalists is teaming up with community members to fight these and other dams. Photo credit: World Bank
Although Uganda and Tanzania have seen visible changes in the lives of women via legal and constitutional means, their current climate policy fails to acknowledge gender and social glass ceilings faced by women in social matrices where their roles, priorities, opportunities are different from men’s. Ignoring the gender gap in fields like agriculture impacts the economy of country negatively. This study reveals that closing the gender gap in agriculture would increase Tanzania’s GDP by $105 million and Uganda’s by $67 million. Though the governments of Uganda and Tanzania are trying to close this gender gap, a lot still needs to be done at the local, national and international levels in regard to better allocation of resources and including women not as beneficiaries, but rather as an equal partners in the development process.
When the lack of access to clean drinking water was adversely impacting the health of children in the village of Gomba, two women came to the rescue. Godliver Businge and Comfort Harja, of the Uganda Women’s Water Initiative, started a project that installed water purification systems in schools and trained local women to build their own biosand filters, which in return increased school attendance rates and decreased medical expenses. The project has also helped women, such as Betty Birungi, build their confidence and run for offices. Photo credit: Joel Lukhovi/Survival Media Agency
The Policy Action and Climate Change Action (PACCA) project, coordinated by Dr. Edidah Ampaire, creates policy shifts to help communities better adapt to climate change. Similarly, the African Climate Change Resilience Alliance (ACCRA), coordinated by Tracy Kajumba, works to better climate change responsiveness in sub-Saharan Africa. Recently they conducted a gender analysis together to highlight the ways in which women farmers are contributing to climate resilience in sub-Saharan Africa. Photo credit: FoEI/ATI – Jason Taylor
As Uganda faces deforestation and climatic variability, the Kwatansia Women's Group supports women to plant fruit trees. Not only do the trees provide a source of livelihood and food security, they also serve as powerful carbon sinks to curb climate change. Photo credit: Africa Times
In this interview from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP20 meeting in Lima, Peru, Earth Island Institute’s Constance Okollet discusses her work as a peasant farmer in Uganda and as the chairperson of the Osukuru United Women’s Network, mobilizing women farmers affected by flooding and health impacts from climate change. Photo credit: UNFCCC Climate Action Studio
In Uganda and throughout the Global South, the toxic fumes that firewood stoves emit are resulting in respiratory diseases that take the lives of up to 4 million people a year. Since women are primarily responsible for cooking, they are most impacted. In addition, rainforests are being chopped down for firewood without any reforestations efforts. In response, the Girl Up Initiative Uganda is guiding a project that tackles this problem by providing clay cookstoves that are less harmful for women’s health and the environment. The project is also also providing women the possibility to earn an income through producing charcoal briquettes. Photo credit: GUIU
Dr. Diana is a Ugandan women farmer who has swapped mowing her lawn for growing fruits and vegetables in Uganda’s capital city of Kampala. She also raises chickens and cows in her backyard garden. Dr. Diana is also assisting other local women to start their own urban gardens through training sessions and chicken and seeds grants that start aspiring women urban farmers off on the right foot. Not only does Dr. Diana’s urban farm provide vegetables for the women, but good business and economic independence is also being established for Kampala’s women urban farmers by selling their produce to their surrounding communities. Photo credit: GGTN Africa Youtube
Josephine Auma is the leader of Uganda-based organization Action for Women and Awakening in Rural Environment. As a participant in the Global Women's Water Initiative three-year "Women and Water Training Program" she is learning to build water and sanitation technologies and promote local economic development in doing so. Her work has led to the adaptation of community toilets, which is preventing the spread of bacteria and illness in her community. Photo credit: Global Women's Water Initiative
Secretary for Water and Works in the Moyo District of Uganda, Angella Tassas is a former refugee who is bringing women's voices to the table regarding water management. After attending a training with the Global Women's Water Initiative about clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, she is now sharing her knowledge as a community educator and leader. Photo credit: Global Women's Water Initiative
Scovia Nambeiza and Rose Namuddu are among the many women farmers in Uganda who have to achieve a daily balance of household work, crop and livestock farming, and feeding their families. Because of their exhaustive roles, women are particularly vulnerable to climate impacts on food security and often limited in their access to tools and resources. Gender mainstreaming is important to engage both men and women in community climate solutions to account for inequities in social dynamics. Photo credit: Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice
About 130 female entrepreneurs in Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan have fought to close the gender gap in their communities by providing solar-powered lighting to rural areas. As the primary consumers of household energy, women are key players in the shift to clean energy, which improves air quality and lowers CO2 emissions. Furthermore, many households in rural parts of Africa spend up to 30% of their monthly income on kerosene. Renewable electricity is lightening this economic burden, which often falls on women’s shoulders. Photo credit: Solar Sister
Constance Okollet, Chairperson of the Osukuru United Women's Network in Eastern Uganda, writes about how increasing temperatures are eroding the consistent pattern of seasons in Uganda. Natural disasters like floods are destroying villages at unprecedented rate, making Ugandans vulnerable to diseases like malaria and diarrhea. She notes that with the help of Oxfam, she is now part of women’s group where she can advocate for swift action on climate change to global leaders.