Standard Chartered Bank Uganda in partnership with ECOTRUST has hosted 11 schools at Gayaza High School as they contested in the Climate Change Innovation Challenge.
Mengo SS emerged overall winner alongside four other secondary schools which included St. Mary’s Kisubi, St. Kizito Bugolobi, Gayaza High School and Mamtaz SS who each won a prize of $1,000 (Shs 3.7M).
The remaining six Schools which included; Uganda Martyr’s H.S Lubaga, Kololo SS, Ndejje SSS, Bishop Cypriano Kihangire, Nabisunsa Girl’s School and Mbogo College, each received a certificate for their participation and effort alongside Shs 400,000 as seed capital.
The Climate Change Innovation Challenge is one of the Bank’s environmental conservation initiatives. It was unveiled on 21st June 2022 at Old Kampala SS with 30 secondary schools in the Kampala Metropolitan Area.
The participating schools were tasked to use their critical-thinking and research skills to come up with innovative solutions to environmental issues affecting their communities. The shortlisted school teams were then invited to the pitching event and were each given 10 minutes to present their action plans infront of a panel of judges.
The core objective of the Climate Change Innovation Challenge is to further advance the Bank’s bold stand ‘Accelerating Net Zero’ which is its global commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions from its operations by 2025 and from its financing by 2050.
Before conferring the prizes upon the winners, the Chief Judge Prof. Fred Babweteera, the Dean, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences at Makerere University said the selection process for the winners of the 2022 Climate Change Innovation Challenge as follows;
The judges looked out for clarity, implementation framework, scalability of the presented environmental conservation projects, impact of the intervention, budgets, writing quality, presentation skills, originality, teamwork and responses to the judges’ questions.
The judges commended the students who represented the various schools for having displayed excellent understanding of the issues, linkages, collaboration, and inclusivity among other issues.
The Executive Director of ECOTRUST Ms. Pauline Nantongo Kalunda said; “You as students are the future leaders and the ones, we cede over to this one planet we call earth. You must own the responsibility of its conservation for a brighter future as the consequences for not doing so are dire. We should all be wary of the dangers of not exercising the rule of law when it comes to protecting the environment for the benefit of the people. We need to see Government make deliberate efforts towards bringing to book people who degrade the environment. This can be done through creating awareness and have the consequences for breaking the law be visible to the public.”
Mr. Sanjay Rughani, the Standard Chartered Bank Uganda CEO said; “As a responsible corporate citizen, we have long recognised climate change as one of the greatest challenges of our time, given its widespread and proven impact on the physical environment and human health, as well as its potential to hamper economic growth. The complex trade-offs which come with climate actions mean there are no simple answers.”
“ It’s with this intent therefore that we thought it prudent to engage the youth as the future leaders; to ensure they are informed, involved and interested in finding solutions that champion the climate change agenda. From the ideas presented, I am confident that the initial investment of Shs 69 million made in this project will go a long way in tackling some of the environmental issues affecting our communities.” he said.
The Chief Guest the Assistant Commissioner Ministry of Education and Sports Moses Musingo said;“This initiative is very commendable, and I truly appreciate the creative approach taken by the bank and ECOTRUST to engage and involve the youth in solving environmental challenges they face in and around their schools. On behalf of the Government of Uganda, please allow me to extend our most sincere appreciation to you, for your enormous contribution in the efforts to conserve and preserve the environment in partnership with various stakeholders. I wish to call upon more corporate companies and all Ugandans to emulate your example by spearheading initiatives small and big in scale starting by reviewing their operational impact.”