An Interview With Ugandan Activist Evelyn Acham

An Interview With Ugandan Activist Evelyn Acham

By Emily Rose Duffy, Caitlin Scollin and Suzanne Neilan

On the 3rd of November, we spoke to Evelyn Acham about climate issues affecting her community in Uganda, and the impact of certain perspectives (different views) being left out of discussions about climate change. 

Evelyn Acham talks about how she got into climate change activism, mentioning her friend, Vanessa Nakate. Vanessa Nakate is a Ugandan climate justice activist (someone who fights against climate change). In 2020, Vanessa Nakate attended a press conference in Davos with other climate activists, including Greta Thunberg. However she was cropped out of the photo they took together. This caused Vanessa Nakate to question why this happened.

“It was like I wasn’t even there.”  


This same incident occurred again during COP26 when Nakate attended a meeting with Greta Thunberg and Nicola Sturgeon and she was cut out of the photo once again. This time Thunberg spoke up about it, saying: 
“The media needs to stop erasing the voices of activists, especially the most affected people from the most affected areas”. 

We decided to ask Evelyn Acham, a good friend of Vanessa Nakate and fellow climate change activist, how she felt about this.

 “I feel so bad because honestly speaking we feel left out as African voices. We always feel left out.” 

“They continue inviting us to conferences, they continue inviting us to speak, we continue getting opportunities from the media to do interviews and they don’t represent us publicly. They just want to get us to raise and cut them out.”

 “Or maybe show the public as a form of inclusion.”  This is important because the media likes to show people that everyone is included but they are just pretending, they aren’t really listening. 

Evelyn also spoke about the damage done to the climate which can already be witnessed in her own community, saying it was “one of the biggest challenges and problems that our country, Uganda, is experiencing. We are experiencing floods that are destroying people’s homes. They are destroying schools and children are dropping out of school”.

For some countries, the effects of climate change are not yet visible, but this shows how many people around the world are already impacted by the effects of the changing environment. 

We asked about climate education, particularly in Uganda, and the need for young people to know more about the problem. She responded, “If I was told about climate change I would have done this earlier. I maybe would have more voices fighting for climate justice or climate action but so many people don’t know about it up to now. So I believe teaching the younger generation is very important because the future belongs to the young people and they have the power to speak up”.

Evelyn also pointed out how it makes you begin to lose hope when Vanessa Nakate is being cut out as it is difficult to understand why they are being left out if they have been invited. As it is very hurtful. “You lose hope whether or not you’re going to achieve justice because you cannot achieve justice without achieving racial justice, without achieving environmental justice so we have to work together as one”.

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