Kampala International University (KIU) in partnership with Oxfam Uganda held an Inter-University Youth Dialogue on October 3, 2019.
The event brought together students from over six universities and secondary schools. The purpose of the colorful event was to address the hard questions surrounding climate change and what the youth can do to reverse some of the damage that has been done.
Lately, 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 actors at the event believe 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.
The key note speaker, Bonita Murungi Arinaitwe, a senior two student from Nabisunsa Girls, amazed the crowd with her passionate speech calling on the populous to consider cotton bags rather than the “Kaveera.”
According to researchers, the infamous “Kaveera” has devastating consequences on the fertility of soil considering it’s non-biodegradable nature.
In effect, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor George Nasinyama declared that KIU’s goal for the near future is to become, “the most climate-smart Campus” in the country.
In separate remarks, he noted: “KIU is a student centered 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.”
On his part, Jackson Muhindo, Oxfam’s Resilience and Climate Change Coordinator, added that: “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.”
The Inter-University Dialogue was an idea spawned by a few students seeking to make a difference.
Following some devastating outcomes from 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, KIU students resolved to lead the campaign among youth to arrest the worsening climatic situation.
With support from Oxfam in Uganda, the university 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.
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