Interview with Nyombi Morris, Climate Activist from Uganda

Interview with Nyombi Morris

Following my non-formal education about human rights, education and climate changes in Africa, I decided to interview one young and brave climate activist from Uganda. Nyombi Morris is a 23-year-old Ugandan climate activist and social media manager for a climate justice nonprofit organization called Rise Up Movement. Find out more about Nyombi and his work by reading this interview and following him on his social media.

Ante: First of all, can you introduce yourself? Tell us a bit about who you are, what are your interests and hobbies.

My name is Nyombi Morris and I am a climate justice activist. My interest lies in nature and humanity. I am an educator and a forest defender.

Ante: What inspired you to become a Climate Activist?

Since childhood, I have been a victim of climate change. At the age of 12, Our farm was washed away. This allowed my family to move from their home in the eastern part of Uganda to come to the Ugandan capital Kampala. My family struggled to make a living during this time and my dad left us. We were left with a single mother of three children. It was difficult to study so I am now supposed to be at school. But you can see that I am not. I met Vanessa Nakate in Kampala during my 2019 time there. She was pushing for climate justice and I was shocked to learn that I was one of the victims. In August 2019, I decided to engage in activism on both social media as well as on the ground.

Ante: Tell us more about your participation in Fridays for Future?

Every Friday, I join the rest of the world in striking out to demand accountability and push for change. I am rarely given the microphone so I use social media to highlight the problems my country is facing.

Ante: What are the main issues Uganda is struggling with?

Uganda is currently experiencing a long drought. Since November, Uganda has not received much rain. Everything is drying out, even wells. People are walking barefoot in the northern part of Uganda Karamoja. This is due to the high temperatures and sunshine that are being generated by the mining industry. Water is a problem for many.

The East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline EACOP is also located in the western part of Uganda. It is funded entirely by total energies. This project has forced hundreds of people to migrate not peacefully but forcefully. Natural resources and animals are also under threat. We expect the number of displacement to reach 100,000 by the end of this project, which is financing human suffering.

Ante: Ugandan and UK researchers, shows the massive social and economic pressure climate change is putting on Ugandans, with the young particularly impacted. What is, in your view, the solution for this problem?

The countries responsible for climate change disasters in my country deserve prison sentences. They have not done enough to compensate, apart from pledging to pay the damage and loss funds. In my country, if there is a disaster, such as floods, you can't find work because of your education. If that happens, for young people, it means they are done with their careers. We don't have schools that offer free education to those most affected by climate change. We need to support our economy in strengthening resilience and helping those who are most vulnerable to recover from the loss and rebuild. Many people are jobless, not only youth. It's time we end the pledge and just approve the support to the least developed countries.

Ante: In my previous blog, I was writing about clean water and how it can change the communities in Africa. For my example, I took Uganda. Can you tell us if the Ugandan government works to solve that problem?

My government is trying but it has not done enough. We activists currently are on the frontline of helping those communities struggling with water to build boreholes through the fundraising we do on social media. 

Ante: Do you have any role models or people from whom you draw inspiration?

If there is anyone I can say, Greta Thunberg. She's very supportive to all African activists. I take her as my role model.

Nyombi and Vanessa
Vanessa Nakate and Nyombi Morris

Ante: What do you view as your greatest accomplishment?

Being recognised by international media like DOHA DEBATES and CNN. I have never won an award.

Ante: What keeps you motivated?

I find it very motivating to speak with youth and school children about climate action and I get positive feedback.

Ante: What would be your advice to people who inspire to be like you, but are too afraid to chase their dreams?

I have one thing for them: You'll be met with a lot of critics. People will try to downplay and overshadow you. But never lose heart. Let the world know who you are and what you have done.

Follow Nyombi Morris on his Twitter and Instagram. Thank you for reading this interview. Follow me for more: Ante Petrovic