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Climate change is unquestionably one of the biggest challenges facing the world today. This is also very much the case in Uganda, where climate change has far reaching implications.

Ugandan society has an encouraging attitude towards gender equality, and there have been positive steps taken towards inclusion of women in public affairs and the workplace, yet challenges still remain. For instance, Uganda is still male dominated and women have limited ownership, access and control over resources, especially land. Although climate change impacts all members of the society, existing gender inequalities make women more vulnerable than any other marginal groups.

For Agnes Kirabo, the Executive Director of Food Rights Alliance, the question of climate change is a pressing one for Africa because it is debated as a problem instead of an opportunity to harness.

“In Uganda, climate change manifests itself either as a drought or as a flood but you see if we are looking at things differently, we wouldn’t even be discussing this because then we would have invested in harvesting the water which we characterise as a flood, store it, release it in a drought period and things are sorted. I don’t think that is rocket science, it is about attitude because we want to talk about things as a problem as opposed to working on them.” Kirabo adds.

There are marked climate change related gender disparities that place exceptional burdens on women, as many women use natural resources without owning them and without adequate knowledge on climate change responsiveness.

Kirabo says that when climate change sets in, the women who are depending on their hand hoe, lose a harvest to the poor rains, pests and diseases and thus lose a livelihood. Unlike women who are dependent on land, the men find livelihood options away from the natural resources and therefore anything that affects the farm does not directly affect their livelihoods.

On whether the story would be different if the women were in charge of land and other natural resources, the Food Rights Alliance Chief responds with a bold YES. Kirabo says that the decisions women make are collective decisions and always for their entire household.

She notes that women have love and tender care inbuilt within their physiological makeup. Kirabo adds that all women regardless of status, fear for the future and therefore they would care for nature better if they were in control of it.

“We are so attached to certain things, a woman can be attached to a mango tree because she planted it the day she gave birth, and every time, she looks at that tree, she remembers her child and calls it my tree, it is not easy to cut it down, the way we transfer care to human beings is the same way we transfer care to natural resources only that we don’t have fundamental rights to nature.” Kirabo evokes.

To reclaim the right of women to nature, Kirabo says that the country needs to empower women economically and that the journey starts with educating the girl child and introducing her to all opportunities that can translate into assets.

The need to bring women to the table and not only bring them in numbers but also to technically empower them to appreciate the emerging issues and to be able to represent themselves on the negotiation table is a step in the right direction.

So, is the man and his behavior the problem? According to Kirabo, the man`s behaviour is just an indicator of a much bigger problem that must be dealt with. The fundamental issue is the collapse of the rural economy. She says that when the rural economy was still productive, there was clear segmentation regarding which income generating enterprises are set for the household and which ones were for food security and as such household income was booming.

For a global alliance for smart agriculture, decision makers and development partners at all levels and sectors need to integrate gender perspectives into the planning, financing and implementation of adaptation and mitigation efforts. Mainstreaming gender in climate change policies and programs will help ensure the integration of women’s issues, needs and contributions across the planning and execution cycle of climate change policies and projects.s


  1. November 25, 2021 at 3:06 pm
    Kevin Namubiru

    Wow. I find this a very educative piece. Keep it up.

  2. November 26, 2021 at 9:15 am
    Mango emma

    Nice piece of work

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