Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Taking Hope on the Trans African Climate Caravan to Durban

Benadette Chandia Kodili is a Swarm Blogger with ActionAid Activista from Uganda. It has been my pleasure to work with her as part of the Global Voices youth mentoring project.

She is the Secretary for Female Affairs Uganda National Youth Council and a Member of Activista International.

This is her latest post:

Sunday 13 November 2011

The African Caravan of Hope is finally in Uganda. The Caravan team is made up of a number of Community Organisations that are moving by road from Burundi to South Africa for the COP 17. It set off on the 9th November and arrived in Kabale on 11th November 2011. When in Kabale we had a march through the town to the Municipal council grounds. Here we had a chance to interface with a number of people on climate change issues and have them speak up for climate justice.


This they did by signing a petition to be presented in Durban during the COP 17 to the world leaders.

I spoke with Alex Byamukama, a 17-year-old first born boy to a mother of two. He told me that his mother had to spend money on water for domestic use. The family used to rely on rain water harvest. But because the rains were no longer regular they were left with no choice but to buy water which is expensive for his mother.

In addition, Alex explained how neighbours and friends have all been complaining of a general decline in production, especially in sorghum which is one of the stable foods in Kabale, due to low rain fall.

To deal with the situation Alex's mother had resorted to being a house girl since their father died two years ago. After the death of his father Alex’s Uncle took over the little land his father had left, leaving Alex’s mother nowhere to cultivate any food. When Alex is olde enough, ownership should pass to him but until then Alex, his brother and mother remain landless.

"You told me you are going to South Africa to a climate conference. How does that benefit me?"  Alex asked me.  I had spoken to him as an adult, but this question all of a sudden made me see him as little boy. If only the world leaders would listen to the voices of those whose lives are a constant struggle and whose future is so uncertain, such as this brilliant boy, it might help them remember to reflect on the plight of the individual common person and consider the effects their decisions have on ground level before prioritising their own selfish interests.

My simple answer was, "We hope the World Leaders will sign a fair and legally binding climate agreement."

"What would you tell them if you could make it to South Africa?" I asked.

Alex replied,

"They should use other methods of development other than the ones polluting the environment!"

"I will carry this message to Durban, Alex" I said.

Good luck, Kodili!

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