Friday, March 10th, 2023 | By

In commemoration of International Women’s Day, National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) held a networking and exhibition event where women were able to share experiences, connect with feminists, climate activists and artists on innovative ways of addressing climate change.

The event that was held at Innovation village in Jinja city was organized by the Gender and climate Change coalition partners –NAPE, Fridays for Future Uganda, Girls for Climate Action and Simma Africa Creative Arts Foundation.

During the event, the women affected by climate disasters shared experiences of how massive crop failures as a result of long dry spells, heavy rains and floods have destroyed their livelihoods.

Ms. Monica Namutebi, a 52-year-old mother of 9 children narrated how she lost her livelihood and sustained injuries when the heavy down pour blew off her roof top and forced her to relocate from Kaliro district in 2019.

Ms. Namutebi, who relocated to Butiki ward in Jinja city, said that she was with her children in the house at around 10:00 PM when the strong wind blew off the roof top following three hours of heavy rains.

“As it was raining heavily, the wind suddenly blew off the iron sheet and hit me while I was trying to save the children. My husband had gone to the bar and I had no one to save me. When I survived, I left the place and relocated with my children,” she narrated.

Ms. Esther Batwala, one of the residents from Jinja who relocated from Bududa district following the mudslides noted that losing her property and livelihood to floods has left her to start from scratch.

Ms. Joan Akiiza, the Senior Gender and Legal Officer at NAPE noted that as government is put to task to accelerate efforts to contain the climate crisis which is mainly affecting the women whose livelihood depends on natural resources and the future of the young generation, women and young people should embrace climate smart innovations and technology.

Ms. Sandra Suubi, a musician and a visual artist asked the women and youth to get innovative solutions of ending plastic pollution. Ms. Suubi, who came dressed in an outfit made of plastics, said she is using her talent of visual arts to turn plastics into decorations and also address climate advocacy through music.

“I normally put on the plastic outfit and go the lake shores and this sends a message to them that plastics need to be recycled. As an artist, listening to such heartbreaking stories of women impacted by climate disasters trigger me to compose them into songs which I share with the world on internet and also sing every time I get an opportunity. I am using my talent to advocate for climate justice because it affects everyone including me,” said Ms. Suubi during the experience sharing.

Ms. Patricia Namirembe from Fridays for Future Uganda noted that they are using social media to amplify the voices of youth and women affected by climate change and call on leaders to act.

The women were treated to an exhibition which involved dustbins made out plastic bottles, biogas and short videos on making energy saving stoves to minimize on firewood use and electricity bicycles.

The theme for this year’s international women’s day was, “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.