13/05/2021

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16-year old climate activist on mission to replant trees in Uganda

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Bare patches of land are a common sight in the forests of Uganda. Forest cover here has depleted from 24 percent to just 8 percent since the 1990s. It’s a problem all over the world, according to Global Forest Watch, which claims more than 12 million hectares of tree cover in the tropics was lost in 2020 alone

And so one young activist is fighting back. Leah Namugerwa,16, is on a mission to replant the forests of her country.

“I celebrated my birthday in 2019 by planting 200 trees. That is when I was turning 15-years-old and I did again last year when I was turning 16-years-old, I planted 500 trees”, Namugerwa said.

Leah’s mission is inspiring her peers. Today, she’s joined by Leticia Namulwana.

The young women set about planting more trees in the forest in Entebbe.

She takes a quick photo op captures the moment for posterity.

“I was inspired by Leah because I met her on social media, then we talked, then she directed me on ways of getting to her and we plant trees”, Namulwana said.

The young activist’s initiative is proving an inspiration beyond Uganda.

Leah uses her social media power to encourage other youngsters to regularly plant trees as they celebrate their birthdays.

“People are really taking on this green idea from all over the world, from the United States of America, Europe, Africa, Asia. I am getting requests from different people to take on this green idea. I have planted trees for ambassadors”, the 16-year climate activist added.

Her target of one million trees is still a long way off. But with every new planting session, more and more people are joining in her footsteps.

“Every time we carry out an activity we teach people; we sensitize people of the dangers. For example, when we are cleaning up, lake shore clean ups, you find that people keep on joining you and they stop polluting the lakes. Every time I am planting trees I get more and more people helping me to plant trees which shows that my activism is impacting the nation and all over the world”, the project participant said.

Leah is getting her environmental message out with a regular initiative called Fridays for Future. It involves lake shore clean ups, planting trees together, spreading awareness in schools and climate strikes.