Climate change is a major developmental challenge facing Uganda, one that is readily evident in our daily lives. Our vulnerability comes from our reliance on agriculture, forestry, and fishing – all highly dependent on rainfall and seasonal weather patterns (USAID, 2013).
During the last decade Uganda has shown changes in temperature, rainfall patterns, and an increase in extreme weather events like droughts and floods. These changes significantly impact our agricultural productivity, water resources, and natural ecosystems/biodiversity (IOM, 2021, Irish Aid, 2017).
What does that look like at the micro-level, in the real communities in which we work?
- Increased evaporation and erosion rates lead to poor soil conditions and reduced crop yields
- Reduced water availability for irrigation and domestic use leads to reduced crop yields and poor household hygiene and sanitation
- Reduced agricultural productivity leads to food shortages, increased food prices, and (indirectly) deforestation
- Reduced water quality leads to increased waterborne diseases and lower community health outcomes
RELATED: The Real Uganda makes it easy to offset your carbon footprint whenever and wherever you fly
The Real Uganda offers 2 – 12 week locally-led communty-based volunteer programs.
Too heavy? Aw, come on! You know we’re here to celebrate the successes and challenges of life in Uganda. Let’s talk about how The Real Uganda’s community-based partners are actively mitigating the effects of climate change in Uganda!
1. sustainable Agricultural Techniques
Our Agriculture and Conservation program partners with organic and communal farms that promote sustainable agriculture practices. Crop rotation and intercropping improve soil health and allow us to perpetually harvest fresh food to feed our families. Did you know that banana plants grow beautifully alongside pineapples? Other common traditional pairings include banana and coffee, sweet potatoes and cassava, and maize with beans and g.nuts.
Natural pesticides such as garlic and pepper increase crop yields without poisoning any of the good things naturally found in the garden.
A fun activity that gets the kids involved? Sack gardening! Empty rice and sugar sacks are re-used to make micro-gardens. Tomatoes, greens, and spices work especially well here.
2. water conservation
Water is fiercely conserved by everyone in Uganda. It gets expensive during the dry season!
Many families don’t have a private water source and must fetch it from far away from a natural spring well or borehole. It is stored in 20 litre gerrycans and meted out sparingly for household use.
Those with a little extra cash invest in the infrastructure needed to harvest rainfall during the wet season. Guttering collects rain water from the roof and channels it into 5,000 to 10,000 litre tanks. The bigger the tank, the longer we have household water during the dry season.
IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY: Climate change is a public health issue! Having enough household water allows families to maintain proper hygeine and sanitation practices.
3. energy efficient clay stoves
Our Community Outreach Program has two partners that actively build energy efficient clay stoves in Ugandan households.
These lessen the wood needed to prepare meals by more than half, reducing both deforestation and carbon emissions. They also funnel the cooking smoke out of the kitchen, improving air quality and reducing health problems associated with indoor smoke inhalation.
IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY: Climate change is a gender issue! In Uganda, it is predominantly women and girls who cook family meals and fetch the firewood to do so. Less firewood means more time for other activities. Funneling smoke out of the kitchen improves vascular health.
RELATED: Check out our viral Tiktok on the making of these amazing stoves!
Shop our online store for uniquely Ugandan tees, caps, bags, and mugs. The proceeds support our community programs.
4. Afforestation and agroforestry
We’ve got a partner whose goal is to plant 50,000 trees by 2050. He’s been planting on a hilltops as his gardens are hillside, directly below. Actively planting trees (especially fruit trees!) reduces soil erosion, boosts household nutrition, and provides additional sources of income for Ugandan farmers.
When clearing a new garden plot, Ugandans traditionally leave some trees behind. These trees help to maintain air quality, increase soil fertility, and improve water retention. And there’s nothing nicer than resting under the shade of a mango tree while working your vegetable garden.
IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY: The aim of these practices may be to provide a cool resting place and a little side income, but climate change resilience is a built-in benefit.
These are just a few examples of how our locally-led community-based partners are adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change in Uganda.
Want to learn more about Uganda’s naturally sustainable lifestyle? Read 11 Ways Ugandans Are Greener Than You
Interested in diving deeper into the climate change issue in Uganda? The Real Uganda’s volunteers work alongside local leaders to learn the reality on the ground and be a part of the solution. Apply to volunteer today. We’re looking for volunteers who want ethical cultural immersion and first-hand experience working with Ugandan communities.
IOM, 2021 The Impacts of Climate Change in Uganda
Irish Aid, 2017 Uganda Climate Action Report 2016
USAID, 2013 Uganda Climate Change Vulnerability Report