“Most people do not care what they do to the environment. I noticed adults were not willing to offer leadership and I chose to volunteer myself. Environmental injustice is injustice to me.”
As a 14-year-old member of Fridays for Future Uganda, Leah Namugerwa strikes every Friday for climate justice. Leah was inspired by Greta Thunberg but was truly moved to act after seeing the famine caused by drought and landslides from climate change. Despite the Ugandan government’s harsh response to strikers, Leah continues to fight for change. Currently, she is demanding a Ugandan plastic bag ban, and her petition can be found here.
Leah talked with us about what it’s like to climate strike in Uganda, and how she ignored the critics who called her strikes ‘weird’ — read the full post here.
Leah Namugerwa) is a youth climate activist in Uganda. She is known for leading tree planting campaigns and for starting a petition to enforce the plastic bag ban in Uganda. Following inspiration from Greta Thunberg, she began supporting school strikes in February 2019 with fellow Fridays for Future Uganda organizer Sadrach Nirere.
Namugerwa spoke at the World Urban Forum in 2020 and was a youth delegate at COP25. Her uncle, Tim Mugerwa is also a prominent environmentalist in Uganda. Leah Namugerwas is a member of the Anglican Church of Uganda.
Namugerwa heard of Greta Thunberg and her Friday strikes in 2018. She was later inspired to take similar action as Greta Thunberg at 13, after she watched a local news report about mudslides and flooding in rural sections of the country. Namugerwa has since become a prominent young climate advocate and an integral member of Africa’s most prominent chapter of Fridays for Future taking place in Uganda. She teamed up with Sadrach Nirere, Hilda Flavia Nakabuye, and her cousin Bob Motavu to birth the Fridays for Future Uganda. She has been engaged in Friday striking since February 2019, calling for more climate actions, and she has led the writing of a petition to enforce the ban of plastic bags.
Leah Namugerwa celebrated her 15th birthday by planting 200 trees instead of throwing a birthday party, and since then she has launched the Birthday Trees project, to give out seedlings to those who wish to celebrate their birthdays by planting trees. Her major goal is to see the enforcement of current climate legislation (Paris 21 agreement) and to attract more coverage of issues of climate change.] She organized marches along with other young climate advocates to mark the global climate strike on 29 November 2020, and the lakeshore of Kampala’s Ggaba Beach was also cleaned to celebrate the day; Dorothy Nalubega, a member of a women’s agriculturalist and environmental group was also in attendance. Namugerwa has continuously called on the government of Uganda to fully implement the Paris Climate Agreement.
Follow Leah on Twitter @NamugerwaLeah