News / Africa

    Ugandan Children Provide Fresh Perspective on Climate Change

    Ugandan schoolchildren end the International Children’s Climate Change Conference by planting seedlings, Kampala, Uganda, July 12, 2014. (Hilary Heuler / VOA News)
    Ugandan schoolchildren end the International Children’s Climate Change Conference by planting seedlings, Kampala, Uganda, July 12, 2014. (Hilary Heuler / VOA News)

    Last weekend Uganda hosted the first Children's Climate Change Conference, where hundreds of young delegates shared their ideas on how to tackle a growing global problem.  
     
    Eleven-year-old Neolla Taaka is pretty sure that sooner or later, her life is going to be affected by climate change.

    “I would think that most people around would not be able to get enough food, the drought would be high, we may be forced to migrate.  But also I would think that the lifestyle of people would change.  Like, if you have been having enough water to drink you would not be able to, you would have to walk long distances," said Taaka.

    A young delegate plants a seedling at the end of the International Children’s Climate Change Conference, Kampala, Uganda, July 12, 2014. (Hilary Heuler / VOA News)A young delegate plants a seedling at the end of the International Children’s Climate Change Conference, Kampala, Uganda, July 12, 2014. (Hilary Heuler / VOA News)
    x
    A young delegate plants a seedling at the end of the International Children’s Climate Change Conference, Kampala, Uganda, July 12, 2014. (Hilary Heuler / VOA News)
    A young delegate plants a seedling at the end of the International Children’s Climate Change Conference, Kampala, Uganda, July 12, 2014. (Hilary Heuler / VOA News)

    Last Saturday, Taaka and her classmates presented their thoughts on climate change to an audience of their peers.  This was the International Children’s Climate Change Conference in Kampala, Uganda, reportedly the first of its kind.

    The conference was organized by Joseph Masembe, who runs a local organization called Little Hands Go Green.  He says he was looking for a way to make the concept of climate change relevant to ordinary Ugandans, an idea he got two years ago while attending the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Doha.

    “When I sat there it was greenhouse gas emissions, and these people have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and the Bali conference, and on and on.  But I looked at the average Ugandan and I thought, ‘What can they do?  Let us get the simple aspects of it.  Let me create a climate change conference that is hinged around children,'" said Masembe.

    More than 200 children came from schools around Uganda, including international schools; Masembe says 35 nationalities were represented.  Each school gave a presentation on how Ugandans can help tackle the global crisis.

    “Some of your vehicles, when you are driving around town, the vehicle it is just producing only dangerous gases and it can not stop producing them.  So, I would advise you to discourage movement by vehicles over short distances.”

    Masembe says he was impressed by what they had to say.

    “I am actually shocked at where these children got all these ideas, because we do not have environmental conservation education in the national curriculum.  It is not there at all.  Because you see, we are naturally endowed, so we do not realize that we are losing our on our vegetation cover.  We believe it is there.  We are the Pearl of Africa, and people just wake up and live like that," he said.

    But he says the effects of climate change are already being felt.

    “Weather patterns have started to change a lot.  Farmers in the villages are telling you that the rainy season is not what it used to be.  Now we have torrential rains, we have mudslides.  When it rains in Kampala places get flooded.  This was not the trend before," eh said.

    Young delegates like 10-year-old Patricia Gukiina were not impressed with how adults have been handling the environment.

    “I think they do not take into practice what they say," said Gukiina. "They tell us to plant trees, but they do not.  [They say] ‘do as I say, but not as I do.’”

    Taaka hopes even though they are still kids, her generation can change that.

    “When kids are involved the adults can think, ‘Hmm, how can they be younger than us and yet they are doing it?’  If they are involved they will inspire other people to do it," said Taaka.

    Masembe plans to make the conference an annual event, and to eventually hold regional conferences around East Africa.  Such events help plant the seed of environmentalism in the next generation, he says, one young delegate at a time. 

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora