Amid the chaos of a world threatened by climate change, one special organization is creating new hope for the next generation. The Network Girl Tech Initiative Uganda is a collective that is entirely women-led and operated. It was originally founded by the Network Company, who wanted to give back to neighboring communities. Through their various outreach projects, they aim to promote young female empowerment throughout Uganda. Their mission, “aims to combat climate change through instilling technological skills in young girls to use them as a tool of climate action and social-economic empowerment.”
The initiative’s current project, Reusable Pads 4 Climate, helps girls gain access to sustainable pad kits as well as vital knowledge about our evolving climate. These alternative pads are environmentally friendly, cheap, and last much longer than their traditional counterparts.
To spread awareness, project leaders travel to schools around the country, and provide valuable education of technological skills as well. In every school – and community – visited, the girls are specifically taught about their menstrual health, the issues of traditional plastic pads, and how they can join the effort to fight against the effects of climate change.
Additionally, with each program trees are planted for the children in the community to grow and tend to. By planting trees, the students are contributing to global reforestation efforts, garnering a deeper sense of appreciation for their natural environment, and assisting in the mitigation of climate effects.
Reusable Pads 4 Climate: Changing Lives & Perceptions
Vivian Nantambi, the Executive Director of the Reusable Pads 4 Climate project, feels a powerful connection to her work.
“I really, really love children. I am so happy whenever I am teaching them. It feels like I have a purpose in life,” she said in a recent interview. “It feels so good that I can actually teach them something they can take home at the end of the day. That this something that I am teaching them is actually sustainable – not only to the community, but to the rest of the world.”
When Nantambi and her team visit schools, they talk to both girls and boys (as well as their teachers) about environmental threats. Besides the issue of climate, they cover the tenets of sanitary health before distributing reusable pads and explaining their significance. Ultimately, the project is about fostering strength through awareness and conversation. The information students take with them ultimately leads to technical application, which they can then use to improve personal health as well as foster a better relationship with the natural world.
As Nantambi explained, “We empower them to speak about climate change, to go out there and go to their parents and tell them, ‘Mom, what you are doing is wrong – you can do this better.’”
At the last school, the team planted four trees; and all of the children who were present were instructed to treat them with respect, and to water and care for them.
Shaping the Future
Though the project is still in its early stages, it’s already making an enormous impact on the children. “The last outreach we did,” Nantambi went on, “I left [the school] and the girls actually wanted to be part of the [Pads 4 Climate] program!”
Each outreach session has a clear agenda – to give young females the courage to take a stand, teach others about climate change, and advocate for their own health.
But there’s also the fact that, when a climate crisis does come about, it’s women that suffer the brunt of disasters – especially in developing nations. For places like Uganda, floods and droughts happen often – and are only increasing in both intensity and frequency. The result almost always prompts some form of gender-based violence for affected women, which is a gap the initiative is working to close.
In both Uganda and beyond, the actions taken by this team are truly changing lives for the better. And for those hesitating to follow a similar path, Nantambi has some advice: “Go for it. Why? Every time a little girl looks at you, she is seeing someone she wants to be. You are not only changing a life, you are giving them confidence, you are changing the climate. Even when just speaking about it.”
To help Nantambi and her team maximize their impact, consider supporting Reusable Pads 4 Climate here, as well as other initiatives the organization is running. Don’t forget your own sustainable choices matter. As quoted by Nantambi, “That single decision you make as a person makes a huge difference.”
Through the environmental education and empowerment of all people, we can accomplish anything. We will finally put an end to the damage our planet is facing – as one united front.
ecomadic is a sustainable tourism brand that empowers travelers to make more conscious decisions. By curating a marketplace to easily find and identify responsible businesses to support, and providing educational publications through our online green travel magazine, ecomadic is committed to helping empower travelers make responsible choices throughout their journeys.
Want to learn more?
Time’s Up! – The Network Girl Tech Initiative Uganda
Climate Change Increases the Risk of Violence Against Women – United Nations Climate Change