Uganda's climate is naturally variable and susceptible to flood and drought events which have had negative socio-economic impacts on people especially households in vulnerable settings like ghetto communities like Kirombe. Communities such as this are likely to face severity of extreme climate events, such as heat waves, droughts, floods and storms. Just like other slum communities in Uganda, Kirombe ghetto community is highly vulnerable to climate change effects and variability -  the wellbeing of its people are tightly bound to climate. This particularly means climate change is likely to mean increased heat waves, food insecurity and flood damage to infrastructure and settlements and shifts in the productivity of agricultural resources to the households residing in such communities.  This has therefore worsened poverty among community members as well as heightened competition over strategic water resources and hence worsening food insecurity.

It is against this background that Footmarks initiative Uganda with support from Network for Active Citizens and Climate Smart Youth Action Network (NAC and CSYAN), organised a 10 days training on climate resilient farming methods for the youth in Kirombe ghetto community. The training was geared towards fostering climate adaptation among community members through climate resilient farming hence building their climate resilience always improve food security in the different households. For young people in Kirombe, Climate smart agriculture training is  a strategy that was embraced as one that can bring multiple benefits and help to build climate resilience  through curbing food insecurity and ensuring a greener environment.

 The training of young people in resilient farming methods was an empowerment initiative that was geared towards empowering young people in Kirombe with climate resilient agricultural practices that are resilient towards flooding and heat. This training took place from 11th/03/2024 to 22nd /03/2024 at the Kirombe youth green space. This initiative empowered more than  175 youths including young people with disabilities,with knowledge and skills in different climate resilient farming practices which range from proper nursery bed establishment, soil preparation, pest management, organic fertilizer making to sustainable farming practices like local irrigation . The trainees are currently using the acquired knowledge and skills to establish youth-led initiatives that address challenges at community level related to flooding and heat in Kirombe as well as engage in urban farming that are resilient to climate hazards.

During the training, youths were taught how to utilize small space for farming as an investment for both domestic consumption and income generation. The topics covered included; nursery bed establishment, soil preparation, pest management, making of organic fertilizers, irrigation, transplanting among others. The facilitator, Ms Joan Najjuko, emphasized that with the little land available for farming ing ghetto communities, people should invest in horticulture through the application of vertical gaderning technics. She further added that urban farming can be done using green houses, veranda boxes, soil sacks, hanging planters among any other forms. This clearly indicated that an individual can start with the already available resources in the community like used plastics.

    The trainees were urged to adequately utilize the knowledge they had acquired because providing training and skill development opportunities to young people across the agricultural value chain yields numerous advantages, such as creating employment opportunities and generating income. By equipping them with the essential skills and knowledge, they are empowered to actively engage in different climate smart agricultural endeavours. The facilitator emphasized that these individuals can choose to become farmers who utilize advanced techniques, agribusiness entrepreneurs involved in value addition processes, or marketers who promote agricultural products. This comprehensive approach not only enhances their own prospects but also contributes to improving food security and fostering sustainable agricultural practices. “This training has been a great learning experience for me. I have acquired knowledge on climate adaptation that I had no idea about before and also skills in urban farming that I have used to start up my own urban vertical garden at my home,” says Katumba Umaru, one of the bootcamp trainees. He further said that the garden will help him supplement his family’s meals and also bring some extra income in his household as a result of selling the vegetables.

In a bid to have holistic empowerment, the training also focused on developing soft skills among the young people  such as problem-solving, critical analysis, social skills, self-regulation, and self-confidence. Additionally, the youths received training in business skills, including entrepreneurship, managerial skills, and financial literacy that will be very beneficial in their commercial urban farming venture. Therefore empowering youths through climate smart agricultural training offers a practical solution to address youth unemployment and foster economic growth in communities such as those like Kirombe ghetto community. By equipping them with the necessary skills, knowledge, and support, they can actively contribute to the agricultural sector, tackle challenges, improve food security, and promote sustainability.