First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon Janet.  K. Museveni, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Kyambogo University Prof. Fabian Nabugoomu at the Opening ceremony of the 6th National Inter-University Poetry and Debate Championship has cautioned University students on Climate change. She commended them for always having optimistic mindsets in the face of adversity, seeking opportunities for personal development and drawing futuristic lessons in every situation.

Hon Janet.  K. Museveni went further to note that, Uganda is experiencing significant impacts of climate change, which include changing weather patterns, drop in water levels, and increased frequency of extreme weather events like floods, as well as drought, whose social economic impacts make communities very vulnerable. She said that this year’s expo which was organized under the theme: “Climate Change and the Environment: Youth Voices and Actions on Achieving Net-Zero Emissions by 2050.” resonates well with several government programmes as well as the SDGs to propel Ugandans forward.

The 6th National Inter-University Championship is a tournament conceived by the Uganda Dialogue Arena (UDA) to promote debate, public speaking, career guidance and skills development among Ugandan university students and the youths in general. This tournament was also inspired by the successes of the past tournaments that Uganda Dialogue Arena had organized nationwide both at tertiary and secondary school levels since its inception in 2011.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, the Chief Executive of Uganda Dialogue Arena (UDA), Mr. Fredrick T. Musiimenta expressed gratitude to all who made the event successful especially the students that travelled from as far as Arua Kabale, Soroti, Lira among other places. He was thankful that his efforts in empowering and mentoring young people have not been in vain.

The Executive Director of Uganda Biodiversity Fund (UBF) Mr. Ivan Amanigaruhanga thanked the organizers and credited them for engaging in such an important and sensitive topic of climate change. He said that Uganda has a deficit of $8.4 million dollars (close to UGX 30 billion shillings) for biodiversity conservation of Uganda’s forests. He further reminded the attendees that only 20% of rainforests were left and that there is an urgent need to empower the youth the largest group among the population to put an end to this.

The Solidaridad Project Manager Mr. Joshua Rukundo who was speaking on behalf of the Country Manager called upon the students to advocate on what is being debated and walk the talk to organize similar climate-based dialogues in different parts of the country.

The KCCA Climate change focal person Mr. Deo reiterated their commitment to assist young people in spreading the gospel of combatting climate change and the greenhouse effects. As KCCA, they pledged zero tolerance to those encroaching on wetlands and littering the city among other ordinances aimed at environmental conservation.

Okwir Stephen Ongia a student from Kyambogo University emerged as the overall winner of Poetry while Arinaitwe Daphine and Wanjiru Melvin Steve students from Makerere University Business School (MUBS) emerged as the winners of the 6th National Inter-University Poetry and Debate Championship. Meanwhile, Mugoya Ashraf Harid from Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) emerged as the Best Male Speaker while Ayebare Denis from Makerere University emerged as the Overall Best Speaker s well as the best female speaker.

More than 30 universities participated in this championship that was hosted by Kyambogo University from 5th to 7th October 2022, organized by Uganda Dialogue Arena (UDA) and with support from Uganda Bio-Diversity Fund, SOLIDARIDAD Network, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC).