Leah Namugerwa's Bold Stand Against Climate Crisis in Uganda

In Uganda, the impacts of climate change are being felt across the nation, posing significant threats to both the environment and the livelihoods of its people. From increasing droughts and floods to altering rainfall patterns and seasons, the consequences of climate change are far-reaching and profound.


These changes disrupt agriculture, food security, water availability, and human health, exacerbating existing challenges and amplifying the vulnerability of communities. Additionally, the risk of landslides and mudslides looms large, particularly in mountainous regions, leading to loss of lives, property, and livelihoods. Furthermore, climate change is contributing to the decline of biodiversity and ecosystem services, further jeopardizing the well-being of millions of people who rely on these natural resources for their survival. Additionally, the spread of diseases such as malaria, cholera, and meningitis is being exacerbated, posing additional threats to public health and well-being. In the face of these challenges, the urgent need for action and advocacy to address climate change has never been more apparent.

Ms. Namugerwa is an inspiration for Uganda's youth, leading the charge in the fight against climate change. Inspired by the actions of global climate activist Greta Thunberg, Ms. Namugerwa embarked on her advocacy journey at the tender age of 13. Witnessing the devastating impact of mudslides and flooding in rural areas of Uganda, she was compelled to take action. Since then, Ms. Namugerwa has emerged as a prominent figure in the climate movement, spearheading initiatives and campaigns to raise awareness and demand action on climate issues.

Driven by the pressing reality that young East Africans stand among the most vulnerable to climate change impacts, Namugerwa is resolute in her mission to inspire a generation that cares for the environment. Witnessing the profound human suffering and environmental degradation, she resolved to take action, recognizing that the future of her homeland depended on it.

Together with like-minded individuals such as Sadrach Nirere, Hilda Flavia Nakabuye, and her cousin Bob Motavu, Ms. Namugerwa co-founded Fridays for Future Uganda, becoming an integral part of Africa's most prominent chapter of the global movement. Since February 2019, she has been actively engaged in Friday striking, advocating for stronger climate policies and environmental protection measures. Additionally, she played a key role in drafting a petition calling for the enforcement of a ban on plastic bags, demonstrating her commitment to addressing both local and global environmental challenges.

Ms. Namugerwa's dedication to the cause goes beyond protests and petitions. On her 15th birthday, instead of throwing a lavish celebration, she planted 200 trees as a symbolic gesture of her commitment to environmental conservation. This act inspired her to launch the Birthday Trees project, encouraging others to mark special occasions by contributing to reforestation efforts. Her ultimate goal is to see the full implementation of existing climate legislation and to raise awareness of the urgent need for action on climate change.

In her relentless pursuit of climate justice, Ms. Namugerwa has organized marches and participated in global climate strikes, including the one held on November 29, 2020. She has also actively advocated for Uganda's government to fully adhere to the commitments outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement. Her efforts have garnered international recognition, as evidenced by her speaking engagement at the World Urban Forum in 2020 and her role as a youth delegate at COP25.

Namugerwa's activism has garnered widespread attention, propelling her onto the global stage. Despite her youth, she has engaged with foreign ambassadors, Uganda's parliament speaker, and participated in conferences across Rwanda, Kenya, and Switzerland. However, amidst the throngs of protesters, amid the muddy grounds of her homeland, where she feels most at home, her voice rises raw with passion.

In defiance of institutional indifference and societal expectations, Namugerwa has led a courageous campaign for climate action. She spearheaded tree-planting initiatives and petitioned to enforce Uganda's plastic bag ban, amplifying the voices of her peers and demanding accountability from leaders. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, as she continues to champion environmental causes, challenging authorities to uphold existing legislation and fulfil international commitments like the Paris Climate Agreement.

Despite facing opposition and scepticism, Namugerwa remains undeterred, fueled by a deep sense of purpose and conviction. She draws inspiration from Greta Thunberg, whom she met at the COP25 conference in Madrid, and tirelessly rallies her peers to join the movement. Together with fellow activists, she founded Fridays for Future Uganda, organizing strikes and events to raise awareness and mobilize support for climate action. Ms. Namugerwa remains steadfast in her mission to protect the planet and secure a sustainable future for generations to come. Through her unwavering determination and unwavering dedication, she continues to inspire young people around the world to join the fight against climate change.

As Namugerwa and her allies confront the looming threat of climate change, they stand as a shining star for Uganda and the world. Their collective efforts transcend borders and ideologies, uniting individuals of all ages and backgrounds in a shared commitment to safeguarding our planet's future. In the face of adversity, they demonstrate the power of grassroots activism and the transformative potential of youth-led movements.

Written By:

Saroj Sharma

Saroj has an experience of over 9 years working in the development sector as a social worker, educator and an independent researcher. She has worked extensively with the marginalized community in India and Nepal. She is an avid reader and takes a profound interest in writing, preferably human stories.

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