The Impact of Climate Change on Girls Around the World
To commemorate Earth Day on April 22nd, the following are accounts from two club members from Uganda on the impact of climate change on girls in their community.
Protecting Girls & Our Planet
My name is Sharon, and I am a 14-year-old Girl Advocacy Representative at Global G.L.O.W. from Art of a Child in Kampala, Uganda.
I grew up in a small slum area in Tibaleka alone with my mother. Tebaleka is swampy and when it rains, it affects girls around my community. When it’s too sunny, it affects them even more.
In the period when most parents practice agriculture while there is climate change, girls are often the first to drop out of school to help their families make money, do housework, or look after their siblings. This impacts the girls in my community because they don’t get to learn about climate change and how to solve the issues that come along with it.
During climate change, especially when it rains too much, girls are at a high risk of violence and exploitation. Most girls are sexually and physically abused and abducted. These risks mostly happen when girls are sent to collect firewood, fetch water, and when staying in temporary shelters.
In cases of famine or drought, families may take their young girls into marriage so that they can earn money from the bride price and gifts from the in-laws. Child marriage can be seen as a way to reduce the financial burden to take care of girls. Thus, there is an increase in girl child marriages due to climate change.
Climate changes have exposed girls to certain diseases due to shortage of water during menstruation and also due to poor feeding, unlike boys. Also, if girls and women are suffering from malnutrition or lack of water especially when they are pregnant, young mothers can easily become sick.
Let’s work together as girls in the whole world to end climate change by planting trees and educating the communities where we come from about the impacts of climate change.
Protect Nature, and Nature Will Protect You
My name is Awor, and I am a 15-year-old G.L.O.W participant from Kasanga, Kampala, Uganda. This is my perspective on the impact of climate change on girls around the world. Climate change refers to the changes or shifts in climate and weather patterns. It refers to the change in average conditions such as temperature, rainfall, and sunshine.
Climate change has changed our lives negatively. Many women sustaining their families through agriculture are suffering today because of too much sunshine, which leads to crops drying up due to inadequate water or low water levels. Because of this, food is spoilt and animals suffer due to pasture loss, and women and girls find it difficult to look for food for their households.
Climate change has also affected women and girls when the drought hits my area and the sources of water, including wells and taps, have less water for everyone. This, in the long run, results in poor hygiene, especially during girls’ menstrual periods. This could lead to girls and women catching infections.
There are usually heavy rains during the rainy season and the vegetation, including the swamps and trees, has been destroyed. This causes flooding, and especially in my community, it destroys property. With the heavy rains, going to school becomes difficult for school-going children and this brings a setback in girls’ education.
I speak on behalf of my fellow girls and women to come together as a community so as to create a safe environment for us to live in as we protect and conserve nature. “Protect nature and nature will protect you.”