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A Kiss from a Giraffe

Growing
up, I was privileged to live in a couple of National Parks in Uganda. This was
so, because my dad was a Sr. member of staff at Uganda Wildlife Authority
(UWA). This meant that for every work transfer, we moved along with him as a
family.  We lived in some of the best
National parks in Uganda like the Murchsion falls, Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori
National Park among others. We often went for game drives, Safaris and camping
and learnt a lot about flora and fauna with training to preserve and conserve nature
from a very young age.
I
remember my dad telling my siblings and I endless stories about the park and
how animals are beautiful ‘people’ and that if we didn’t interfere with the
ecosystem, we could live in peace and harmony with all creatures.  We were never allowed to tamper with any
creature by destroying its habitat or killing it for no reason. Over the years,
I have learnt to respect other creatures and appreciate their role and value in
the ecosystem. For me, nature has always been part of my life.
During  a recent  Thomson Reuters  media training on “Sustainable development in a
changing environment” which took place in Nairobi,While discussing the
Sustainable development Goals that are to replace the MDGS, I learnt that for
anything to be sustainable, it ought to meet the needs of the present
generation without compromising those of 
the future generation to meet their own needs. I am afraid that in the
wake of a changing Climate, characterized by deforestation, destruction of
wetlands, human settlement in national parks and poaching, a lot of the future
needs have been compromised.  And
something has to be done.
As I
plan to embark on an afforestation project in Uganda, I have decided to travel
around Kenya visiting parks and reserves to appreciate the fauna. My first
trips were to the David Shedirck Wildlife trust found within the Nairobi
National Park, dedicated to saving baby elephants and taking them back to the
wild once mature and the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi dedicated to Giraffes. In the video below, I was feeding a Giraffe as
I learnt more about its life and value within the ecosystem. What you observe is the famous “Giraffe Kiss” received by lucky and courageous visitors to the
centre.

I
also did visit the Orphaned Elephants and learnt about their sad stories and
how they ended up at the centre. It is mainly as a result of Ivory Poaching. A
human activity endangering African elephants for their tusks.  Read more here 

A baby Elephant being fed at the David Shedrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya.

How
can we move from being addicted to “breaking news” and focus more on
sustainable development issues in a changing climate?  Maybe we could start by being kissed by a giraffe
so that we can appreciate the value of our flora and fauna. Human beings need
to stop being greedy. Just because animals cannot speak they get hurt and when they do, humanity is endangered. This piece was not about being kissed by a Giraffe but rather about the dangers of compromising the needs of the future generations through our selfish acts of destroying flora and fauna. You can do something to change this. What are you going to do today to stop further destruction of our environment? Plant a tree? Report deforestation to save birds? stop reclamation of land for wrong reasons? save those flowers to bring the bees back? what action will you take today? The ball is in your court!

“CLIMATE SMART” AGRICULTURE INITIATIVES WILL SAVE AFRICA

Is
Africa not fulfilling her Agricultural Potential? Will Africa ever be food
secure? What role can the youth play in the agricultural value chain? And what’s
this CLIMATE CHANGE ALL ABOUT? 

The questions are endless yet there seem to be
no answers to them.
When the CLIMATE changes, does
that mean anything to you? Does it affect food production, security and yields?
I think it’s high time AFICAN adapted to Climate change.

At the recent Food Agriculture and
Natural resources policy analysis Network (FARNPAN) annual conference that I
attended in Swaziland , Dr Sepo Hachigonta the FANRPAN climate Change
Coordinator said that, Climate change possess a real risk to the future of
farming and food security in Africa, thus all stakeholders including policy
makers, researchers, scientists and farmers should engage to find solutions.
Climate change impacts are much
localised and hence some areas are more vulnerable than others. Therefore
African Governments need to spearhead initiatives of climate proofing
Agriculture with all partners involved in climate change adaptation strategies.
The capacity of policy analysts, scientists and Journalists must be enhanced in
the fields of Agriculture, Climate and socio-economics to collectively build a
strong base of evidence on cropping systems to inform adaptation policies and
investment decisions. It’s also important to build the capacity of young
researchers on climate issues and on how the environment interacts with social,
human and economic sectors.
“A
key strategy of managing risk and vulnerability associated with Climate change
is developing and implementing evidence based policies and programs that
respond to local realities and priorities”
For a country like Uganda who’s
economy is dominated by the agricultural sector, which accounts for 41.6% of
the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 85% of the export earnings and 80% of
employment opportunities with the youngest population yet highest youth
unemployment in the world,  (World Bank
report on Africa Development Indicators (ADI) 2008/2009. Fifty six (56%).This is an indicator that in order to achieve
meaningful development programms and projects, there is need to involve the
youth and have the programs youth oriented. Is there any role that the youth in
Uganda are playing to achieve climate smart agriculture and initiatives that
will assist farmers to climate proof agriculture? 
This is what bloggers and Journos ought to understand about
reporting on climate change.