Green Ghettos: A beacon of hope in COVID-19 lockdown

Story by Lakuch David, Community Journalist with Network for Active Citizens

Ghetto Go Green is a climate change campaign that promotes youth led urban adaptation mechanisms in the ghetto communities of Kampala, Uganda. The campaign aims to attract, strengthen and sustain youth involvement in developing local solutions to climate change. The focus is to enhance capacity of young people in slums to take action towards making their local communities more resilient towards the effects of climate change. With the current situation of the country lockdown due to the corona crisis, the green spaces and urban gardens that have been developed as part of the project in the beginning of 2020 are a beacon of hope to vulnerable communities in the ghetto.

“Vegetables and food are now the hard to access, yet it’s highly recommended to have high value nutrients. Especially for the families living in the ghetto communities in such a pandemic crisis”.

- Gerry Ofoyrwoth, NAC Project Officer, Ghetto Go Green

Together with Dreamtown, the Kampala based organisation Network for Active Citizens (NAC) is in the process of supporting 30 young people from the ghetto to establish their own individual urban gardens, as well as three green public spaces in the communities of Katwe, Kyebando, and Kinawataka. NAC offers the youth agricultural input and technical support in partnership with the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network.  

“In such a crisis, we are supporting young people in slums to take action towards making their local communities more resilient towards the effects of poor nutrition and sanitation, since drainage system, access to health facility, and access to health and affordable food is a bigger challenge in the ghetto communities than it is in other well planned communities. This can even be worse with climate change”.

- Nakasuja Hellen, Project Assistant, Ghetto Go Green

Nampala Rehema, a mother of three and a resident of Kisaasi, where NAC’s own Climate Resource Centre is located, is one of the households benefiting from NAC’s rooftop garden. Here, NAC recently harvested vegetables like spinach and “dodo” to provide food to the neighboring communities. When asked about the benefits of the garden, Rehema said:

“I didn’t think we could get to this extent as a country whereby we cannot access the market place because there are no transportation means. And besides, even if that was possible, there is no money. I was running a small shop, but now it’s been closed down, I cannot sell anything anymore. Therefore, I thank Network for Active Citizens for giving us a garden nearby where we can get food. This food can feed me and my household for almost a week”.