Vanessa Nakate is a climate activist from Uganda, and a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund. She spoke with TFK Kid Reporter Celsey O’Hare.
1. What does it mean to be a UNICEF goodwill ambassador?
I get to meet people on the front lines of the climate crisis. It’s my role to amplifying their voices. I want to shine a light on the issue of climate change and how it’s affecting people, especially children.
2. You’ve given speeches about the impact of climate change. Which has been your most powerful?
I spoke at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Glasgow, Scotland. I got to ask government leaders, and also business leaders, to do the right thing to ensure that our planet is protected.
3. What’s the hardest part of being an activist?
One of the hardest things is seeing the consequences of climate change. For example, the drought in the Horn of Africa, the flooding in Pakistan, or the recent hurricanes in the United States.
4. What keeps you motivated to fight climate change?
I’m motivated by young people like you. You’re interviewing me, and I think that’s so inspiring. It gives me the energy for what I’ll do tomorrow.
5. What’s the most recent climate-related project you’ve worked on?
I have a project that I started in 2019. We give solar panels to schools in Uganda. And clean cooking stoves [which are better for the environment].
6. What’s next for you?
I hope to get more solar panels and stoves for schools. And I hope to continue speaking up for people’s right to food, clean water, and shelter.
7. UNICEF recently had its 75th anniversary. How would you like to carry its mission forward?
I plan to use my platform to talk about the need for protecting children. Especially children who are suffering because of extreme weather events caused by climate change.
8. Climate change can feel overwhelming and scary for some kids. What advice do you have for them?
Just find one thing you can do. No person is too small to make a difference. No action is too small to transform the world.