"I am striking for climate"

Since 2017, Hilda Flavia Nakabuye has been working with a team of six friends to organize the Fridays for Future Uganda campaign. The campaign focuses on climate change issues, demanding action from leaders, corporate bodies and communities to tackle climate change.

Hilda Nakabuye raising the awareness of schoolchildren on climate action on the shore of Lake Victoria, Kampala, Uganda, May 2019. © Hilda Nakabuye

“Growing up as a young girl in Wakiso district in Central Uganda, I saw the effects of climate change on my community,” Nakabuye says. “I did not know what precisely this was and what the causes were, until I attended the Green Climate Campaign Africa dialogue at Kampala International University in 2017.” 

For Nakabuye, listening to the causes and consequences of climate change and the speakers’ conclusion that little was being done to tackle the problem ‘broke [her] spirit’. “I was surprised to learn that the effects we were facing in our community were because of climate change. I felt terrible after knowing this but, at the same time, I also felt the determination to play a part in finding the solution,” she adds.

In 2018, Nakabuye and friends launched a Green Climate Campaign chapter at Kampala International University where they campaigned for a clean environment. They have so far motivated over 70 other students to join in their campaign.

Since then, every Friday she stages a school strike for climate on the streets of Kampala, in public places and communities to emphasize the need for urgent action. She also carries out awareness raising on climate change in communities, schools and social gatherings.

“In January 2019, inspired by the Fridays4future movement campaign of Swedish climate activist Greta Theunberg, I mobilised my friends and we started the Fridays4Future Uganda campaign in Kampala,” Nakabuye adds.

One of her flagship campaigns is the weekly lakeshore clean up where she mobilizes her friends to pick plastics and biodegradable waste along the shores of Lake Victoria. She also created Climate Striker Diaries, an online platform where she informs her readers of her engagement in the climate strike in an attempt to inspire more people to join the movement.

Nakabuye says that she “strives to encourage more students in particular and youths in general to join, so that together we can add our voices to call on political leaders to declare a climate emergency and take action to combat climate change.” She also calls on community members to take individual and collective responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint; and on youths to stand up, speak out, and fight for their future by joining the Fridays4future Uganda movement.

At 22, like many of her fellow campaigners, Nakabuye refuses to be silent and watch the environment continuously degraded by the effects of climate change. “Giving up is not an option, action no matter how small is required until someone somewhere hears our appeal”, she insists.

4 June 2019

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