1st Annual Climate Change Bootcamp 2015

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The 1st Annual Climate Change Bootcamp 2015


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Seventy-one undergraduate and graduate students from around Uganda actively participated in a three-day intensive climate change training effort held at Makerere University in Kampala January 28-30, 2015. This intensive training – dubbed Boot Camp - approach was so unique that it generated interest and support from a number of partners, including local and international NGOs, various university departments (not all science) and well-known local climate specialists.
Immersion into climate issues began even before the official program start on January 29. The movie, An Inconvenient Truth, was shown the evening before at the residence hall where many of the students stayed during the three-day effort. There were a number of comments on the student evaluations about how much the evening movies (another evening movie was Chasing Ice) added to the overall program impact.
The entire first day was comprised of presentations and activities designed to increase student knowledge and understanding of climate change basics, gender perspectives, international efforts, and response options – both adaptation and mitigation. There are many misconceptions and myths about climate change so we try to be very clear and both tell what it IS but also what it is NOT.
Presenters and activity leaders included faculty from various colleges, departments, and projects within MAK including: College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Management, Women and Gender Studies, Department of Economics, College of Education and External Studies, ERICCA, MUCCRI, and a NORAD supported REDD+ program. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Regional Collaboration Centre (UNFCCC RCC) also contributed two speakers for an up-to-date international perspective. Every presentation was followed by an activity that helped to clarify and cement what was learned.
To support the understanding that climate knowledge can be applied in many aspects of our lives, a field trip was held on day two to two locations. Field trip locations were sought that would provide the best local examples of either mitigation or adaptation actions. Both field trip locations happened to be mitigation sites. The students were welcomed at the Nalubaale power station - a water generation facility on the Nile River in Jinga. Escom Uganda Ltd., the operators of the power station, provided the students with interesting information (including when the facility was established, how much water flows through the power plant, and how power is distributed according to demand) and a full tour of the power facility. This power station is a major contributor to electricity in Uganda and does not give off greenhouse gases so it provided a terrific example of a mitigation action – one of the two possible responses to climate change. The rest of the day was spent at Mabira forest undertaking an assessment of the local pressures on the forest that need to be considered if any REDD+ project is to be undertaken and successful. What do you want to do now with the new knowledge you have gained? That was the focus for day three. Some of the students originally wanted to teach younger students however, after the training, many felt that all of society needs to understand the causes and potential responses to a changing climate, just as the students now understood the seriousness of the issue. Developing outreach efforts are on-going, with the student groups working on their areas of interest. Each student joined a work group divided into presentation topics: one group focused on developing information to share about climate basics, another on impacts and adaptations, a third on international issues and so on to cover all of the topics that were addressed.
The student work groups discussed the audiences they wanted to focus their efforts to reach and the methods of outreach, for example, developing presentations that could be delivered via flip charts to communities or hands-on developed work plans and meeting schedules that will help them to accomplish their goals. Since the Boot Camp, the students have been meeting together and with the Activity staff to focus-in on “doable” activities, as some of the original dreams were quite large. Everyone left with new knowledge, a drive to pass on that new knowledge and a sense of commitment, hope, and empowerment that we each can contribute to reducing climate changes and its impacts.


          Contact Us

          • College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences,
          • Makerere University- Uganda. East Africa
          • Phone: +256 414 542 277
          • Email: muccri.caes@mak.ac.ug

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