This week we get to meet Sarah and Fortunate, two climate activists dedicated to
make this planet a better place to live for all of us. Matched based on their common
passion for the protection of our environment, they instantly connected over this
important topic and are now facing an ambitious project together. Let’s get to know them
On the one side there is Sarah, a student of Geo-ecology in Tübingen/Germany. She first heard about Global Match in the context of a student’s association she is volunteering for and was intrigued when they invited some of our members to hold a workshop with them. Tired of an ongoing “white savior complex” as she said, she appreciated the idea of really listening to people from the other side of the globe, hearing about issues from their perspective and just trying to understand. She was equally excited to simply meet someone from another continent since she had never taken a plane for environmental reasons. - One of her biggest personal concerns is and has been the climate challenge. What strikes her most about it is that whereas humanity should be working together on such an urgent crisis, problems like racism and continuing power imbalances keep overshadowing and even reinforcing the real issue.
On the other side there is Fortunate, a graduate in microfinance and accounting from Fortportal and Jinja in Uganda who after working with pharmaceutical industries in Kampala got involved in a forestry organization in the western part of the country for he, too, has a passion for the environment. Out of a guilty feeling towards our following generations, he is
convinced that climate actions cannot wait and need to be taken now - by everyone. After hesitating over almost a year since hearing about Global Match, he finally wanted to become part of it, for the opportunities he expected the platform to offer for his vision – a vision being to bridge the gap between the Global South and North, all the while making his voice be heard and creating an impact that benefits the globe as a whole, not only individuals.
Although immediately clicking on the ground of their shared passion for climate justice,
Sarah and Fortunate initially had to adapt their approaches for this journey, due to their
different schedules and time availability. After a short break in summer spent with research
and some offline time, they openly discussed their motivation and commitment and by
showing understanding for each other’s current situations, they decided to continue the
journey. Sticking to it allowed them then to make great discoveries and develop
both on a personal and professional level: they learned about post-colonialism and its
associated structures, about partnership and communication and how things become
easier when you start working as a team instead of by yourself, about patience, about
self-esteem, the list goes on!
Concerning the project work, through their problem analysis they identified the following
roots of climate change: the behavior and lifestyle of an over-consuming, self-centered
and competitive society in the Global North on the one side, and a society in the Global
South that is too much on the receiving end, low in self-esteem and waiting for help they
could offer themselves, on the other side. Whereas the impacts of climate change are first felt in the most vulnerable regions, the truth is nobody can avoid its effects in the long term – as global warming does not discriminate.
The project Sarah and Fortunate are developing to tackle named issues, focuses on
partnerships between Ugandan and German school children. In so-called “green clubs”
they could learn about climate change, how different lifestyles affect it and how to adapt a
positive mindset towards the environment. Learning should happen without pressure in a
fun and interactive way, for example by outdoor activities such as planting trees
in a gardening project or going on plogging* excursions. An intercultural exchange
would be realized through correspondences between the children. By this, they could
learn together at eye-level and share their experiences and progress – very
much in the spirit of Global Match!
For our tandem, school children are the easiest target group to shape in a sustainable
and eco-friendly way, as they are just building their mindset, whereas older generations
would basically need an overall re-education. Children in contrast could grow up with new ideas and spread them among their peers. Currently, Sarah and Fortunate are starting to get in touch with schools in their countries. Thanks to their journey, the world has become a
much smaller place for them and they are both equally hopeful for the future, believing
that upcoming generations will be mature enough and act responsibly towards the environment.
We as the Global Match team join them in their hopeful vision and wish them a
successful continuation in battling injustice and climate change! Also, we are looking
forward to seeing Sarah and Fortunate pitch their beautiful project at our Final Event on
November 23rd, in Stuttgart/Germany and Kampala/Uganda respectively!
*plogging describes a new fitness trend, focusing both on physical and environmental health through jogging while picking up trash from the ground.