Leah Namugerwa - Fridays For Future Protest
Leah was born in Uganda, where the effects of climate change are all too present in day to day life. Extreme temperatures and natural disasters regularly ravage her country and after watching clips of mudslides and floods taking place in rural communities, she was inspired to take action. When her father and uncle explained to her that the causes of these floods were related to climate change, she began researching online and created a Twitter account dedicated to climate awareness.
It was through Twitter that Leah discovered Greta Thumberg and was inspired to stage her own school strikes in Uganda. Such strikes are technically illegal in Uganda, where police permission is required for gatherings of three or more people that could be considered political. However, this didn't faze Leah, “My safety? I think that will make more climate awareness, if they try to [arrest me]” she says. “If that happens, the media will have to come.” Leah teamed up with Nirere, Hilda Flavia Nakabuye, and Bob Motavu, to form Fridays For Future Uganda, and they began to plan larger protests on top of the weekly walkouts. They are not demanding additional laws. They are simply protesting for existing legislations to be enforced.
As a member of Youth4Nature, Leah is advocating for the protection and restoration of healthy natural ecosystems to respond to climate change. For her 15th birthday, she organised a tree planting campaign, planting 200 trees in her neighbourhood.
Story by Cécile Girardin