Second Place: Impacts Of Climate Change On The Youth In Uganda.


Climate change has become a reality much faster than all scenarios predicted. Climate change is not just an environmental issue, as too many people still believe. It is an all-encompassing threat, to health, to agriculture, to peace and society, to every ground that millions of people live on, to the global economy. Who could imagine that we are now at a point where even the last government has given up denying this reality? Landslides and rising sea levels are bleak signs of what we are facing. Some parts of Uganda will become uninhabitable because they will be flooded or hardly get any rain water as witnessed in the Karamoja region. A pollution report by IQAir indicated that Uganda is the 3rd most polluted country in Africa and the 29th globally. Developing countries like Uganda are going to suffer disproportionately if the global community continues the game that everybody waits for someone else to take action. Most scholars believe that the only way we can save the environment is if the youth and everyone else exhibit fierce leadership on climate and its advocacy. Imagine a world where the vibrant colors of nature fade away, replaced by a bleak landscape of destruction. The consequences of climate change are not a distant possibility but a haunting reality that demands our unwavering resolve,

Impact of Climate Change on Ugandan Youth

Declining Agricultural Productivity

One of the most significant impacts of climate change on Ugandan youth lies in the realm of declining agricultural productivity. Agriculture plays a crucial role in Uganda’s economy, and the youth constitute a significant portion of the agricultural workforce. However, changing weather patterns, unpredictable rainfall, and increased pest outbreaks are disrupting traditional farming practices. As a result, crop yields have decreased, leading to food scarcity, limited income opportunities, compromised education, and inadequate living conditions for the youth.

For example, in regions like Karamoja, prolonged droughts have significantly affected agricultural productivity. Farmers, including young individuals, struggle to cultivate crops due to water scarcity, resulting in food insecurity and economic instability. Moreover, the increased incidence of pests, such as the destructive fall armyworm, has further hampered agricultural productivity, impacting the youth’s livelihoods.

Health and Sanitation Challenges

Climate change also poses health and sanitation challenges for the youth in Uganda. Rising temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns contribute to the spread of diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and waterborne illnesses. The youth, particularly those living in rural areas with limited access to healthcare, are disproportionately affected by these health risks.

For instance, the increased prevalence of waterborne diseases like cholera and dysentery can hinder the youth’s ability to attend school regularly. Additionally, inadequate sanitation facilities exacerbate health risks, particularly for young girls who may face increased vulnerability and limited access to menstrual hygiene management resources.

Displacement and Increased Vulnerability

Climate change-induced events, such as flooding and landslides, have resulted in the displacement of communities, leaving the youth vulnerable and marginalized. In areas like Bududa and Kasese, recurring landslides have destroyed homes, schools, and livelihoods, displacing families, including many young individuals.

Displacement not only disrupts education and social networks but also exposes the youth to additional risks. Displaced youth often face challenges accessing essential services, such as education, healthcare, and clean water. Furthermore, they are more susceptible to exploitation, child labor, and other forms of abuse, hindering their development and well-being.

Environmental Degradation and Limited Opportunities

Climate change also contributes to environmental degradation, which negatively impacts the youth’s future opportunities. Deforestation, soil erosion, and habitat loss, exacerbated by changing weather patterns, threaten biodiversity and natural resources.

For example, Lake Victoria, a vital economic resource for fishing communities, is experiencing rising water temperatures, reduced fish stocks, and increased algae blooms. These changes directly affect the livelihoods of young individuals involved in fishing, limiting their incomegenerating opportunities and exacerbating poverty.

Innovative Solutions to Address the Climate Crisis in Uganda

One promising solution lies in transitioning to renewable energy sources. Uganda boasts an abundance of renewable energy resources, including solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. By embracing clean and sustainable energy options, the nation can significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while fostering economic growth. Innovative measures such as investing in solar panel installations, promoting community-owned mini-grids, and integrating renewable energy into agriculture can not only provide affordable and reliable energy access but also mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Implementing climate-smart agricultural practices represents another innovative approach. Conservation agriculture, agroforestry, and precision farming techniques are examples of climate-smart practices that enhance resilience and adaptability. By prioritizing sustainable land management, water conservation, and diversified crop production, these strategies empower the youth to mitigate climate risks while simultaneously boosting agricultural productivity.

Supporting training programs and capacity-building initiatives will equip young farmers with the requisite knowledge and skills needed to effectively implement these practices.

Furthermore International debt cancellation, encompassing both international and local bank debts, holds immense potential for Uganda’s development and quick recovery from the climate crisis. By relieving the financial burden, Uganda can redirect resources towards climate-friendly initiatives, build climate-resilient infrastructure, and address socio-economic challenges exacerbated by climate change. The resulting economic stability and increased domestic investment will foster sustainable development, create employment opportunities, and empower the youth to actively participate in climate resilience efforts. International partnerships will be instrumental in facilitating debt cancellation and providing the necessary support for Uganda’s sustainable and climate-resilient future.

Substantively, we can forget the areas that have been hit by climate crisis like Bududa, Kasese, Bwaise , Karamoja because we can’t forget that climate isn’t a problem for the rich man but everyone else. Areas hit by climate change can be assisted through technology in several ways. Firstly, early warning systems can provide timely information about impending weather events, enabling communities to prepare and respond effectively. Access to climate-related information empowers individuals to adapt to changing conditions, while technology facilitates disaster management and relief efforts. Furthermore, technology supports climate change education and awareness, enabling communities to understand and address the impacts of climate change. Remote monitoring and data collection aid in understanding local climate impacts and formulating effective strategies. Access to technology also attracts investments and supports sustainable development projects. Lastly, technology facilitates climate advocacy and networking, allowing communities to share experiences through radio , TVs and social media and collaborate on solutions.

Crucially, empowering the youth through education and fostering their involvement is vital for constructing a sustainable future. Introducing climate change education within school curricula, organizing awareness campaigns, and offering vocational training in green technologies are integral to engaging and mobilizing young people as catalysts for change. Creating platforms that enable youth participation in policy-making processes and establishing youth-led climate action networks can amplify their voices, ensuring their voices and promote meaningful contributions towards climate solutions. As said by Al Gore, Former Vice President of the United States and Climate Activist.

 “The youth are the torchbearers of hope in the face of the climate crisis. Their passion, resilience, and unwavering commitment to a sustainable future are driving the momentum for change. We must empower and support their efforts, as they hold the key to a sustainable and livable planet”


Climate change poses significant challenges to the youth in Uganda, affecting their livelihoods, mental well-being, and future prospects. Urgent action is needed to address this crisis and build a resilient and sustainable future. Well, to the youth who are out there, we are at a point where even the last governments have given up denying this reality, so let’s act accordingly. Allow me to end by quoting the words of Dr. Wuebbles “We need to transfer our energy to renewable energy, also one of the things we must do is adapt to the changes that have occurred and will occur. We need to prevent any future changes from happening, but adaptation is a major thing we need to do. Scientists, environmentalists, communities, as well as policy makers need to diligently and cooperatively live up to these challenges and combat climate change.” As the flames of climate change engulf our world, we must ignite the flames of resilience, innovation, and compassion. Together, we can forge a path towards a sustainable future, where the beauty of nature thrives, and the dreams of future generations flourish.

Name: Cheptoyek Levi
Age: 20 Years Old
School: Busoga College Mwiri
Class: Form Six
Country Of Origin: Uganda


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