Aisha Kaahwa, a primary seven pupils of Buliisa Primary school in Buliisa district is the chairperson of the Sustainability Club at the school.  Being in an area that is prone to strong winds and hailstorms, Aisha wants her club to massively plant trees around her school.  She also urges her colleagues to plant trees around their homes since the winds are a menace there too.

“We have been taught at school that having many trees and forests is very good for our environment and that trees act as wind breakers too. In this Sustainability Club we have been sensitized that we need not to know that trees are good for the environment only but that we need to plant the trees,” Kaahwa said recently while interacting with NAPE staff and journalists at her school.

Allan Kalangi, the Manager of NAPE’s Sustainability School Program believes that working with young people like Aisha is one way of mentoring them to grow up loving the environment and towards living is a sustainable economically sustainable world.

“There are many initiatives targeting youth development. Most of these initiatives however, target youth who have already completed school. We initiated these sustainability clubs to target children in school so that they can start debating on Sustainable development issues at a very tender age,” he said.

NAPE is partnership with Kakindo Orphans Care (KOC) have so far established three Sustainability Clubs in School in Buliisa District. These are Kasansya East Primary School, Buliisa Primary School and Nyamukuta Primary School in Bulisa District. Elsewhere, Sustainability Clubs have been established at St. Andrea Kaahwa and Duhaga secondary schools in Hoima and Katojo Vocational Secondary School in Mbarara District.

While visiting the clubs in the Kisansya East and Buliisa primary schools on 27th March 2017, Mr. Kalangi expressed concern that Uganda has experienced many problems such as abuse of natural resources, environmental degradation, corruption and mismanagement of public resources. He said that children have not been groomed to shun those bad practices at a very tender age and when eventually they find themselves the office bearers they carry just like their predecessors.

Kalangi said that the clubs will help the children appreciate that it’s their responsibility to find innovative ways of conserving the environment and appealed to their teachers to always engage them in sustainable development debates.

 “We want children to start at an early age to use the environment sustainably and participate in discussing and finding solutions to issues that affect their society. This makes them appreciate their responsibility and roles in the sustainable development processes. We also need to train them to be innovative so that they can break the habit of depending on hand out,” Kalangi added.

Samuel Asiimwe, the Patron for Kisansya East Sustainability Club said that through the clubs, the children have expressed zeal for conservation of nature.

“We now have a woodlot for school in addition to the fruit trees that have been planted in the school compound. All these are efforts of children in the sustainability club.”

In 2016, a three-classroom block, estimated to have cost 120 million shillings, and a resource centre at the school were blown of off by wind due to very few trees that can act as wind breakers.

The school head teacher, Ronald Kyamanywa, said the initiative will help in having more trees at the school to act as wind breakers and also the fruit trees will help partly in solving the lunch problem.

Story compiled by Vincent Nyegenya