Michael Wanjuzi Makongo | Protecting the environment through Laudato si’ teachings

By Michael Wanjuzi Makongo

Greetings from Manafwa District in Eastern Uganda.

My name is Michael Wanjuzi Makongo. I am a farmer and climate change activist who is deeply passionate about the environment. I am also a Laudato si’ Animator in Uganda. Laudato si’ Animators are part of a global movement dedicated to caring for God’s creation by following the Encyclical teachings of the Pope and LSA chaplet. Based on prayer and advocacy, Animators lead their global communities to sustainable action.

In the area where I am from, which is on the slopes of Mount Elgon, the community is prone to natural disasters and landslides caused by human impact. The cutting down of trees and distortion of the landscape makes them prone to landslides and rivers breaking their banks. This in turn leads to unnecessary loss of lives, environmental degradation, and damage or loss of property.

This compelled me to enroll in “Laudato si’: On Care for Our Common Home” so that I can have the skills to engage the community by creating a space where we can exchange ideas and create awareness to have a big impact.

In my position, I go to churches and encourage Christians to be environmental stewards through practice and dialogue. Nangalwe Catholic Church in the Manafwa district of Uganda’s Eastern Region is very active in restoration and tree planting in the community. By planting these trees, we hope to restore balance to the ecological imbalances brought about by climate change.

I also make sure schools and other community members are not left behind. For Sikusi Primary School, we made a community nursery bed where all members can participate in environmental protection and also recite the Encyclical teachings of Pope Francis. The community bed specialized in Hass Avocado trees with a variety of other species. We have some challenges as we go through our daily activities, like pests and diseases and climate change, but we keep moving forward with the job at hand. It is a learning process for the children in schools, church members, and the locals who visit the nursery bed from time to time. 

In 2020, Manafwa District and I registered our tree planting goals on the UN Partnership Platform. This is a global registry of multi-stakeholder partnerships committed to promoting the SDGs in their communities. The goals we set on the platform focused on environment restoration by growing trees to help with climate change mitigation and community improvements. We accomplished a lot and also planted trees whose fruit will be sold to improve household income.

Laudato si’ is a moral charter for sustainable development. It is a mindset change towards the Environment on which we can take collective action that will bring foundational change to society and the entire Environment. Thanks to the message and resources I received in the course, I am equipped to speak up when things are not going well and take action. I can mobilize the community to protect Mother Nature in accordance with the Laudato si’ Movement. To learn more about Manafwa District’s goals, check out our partnership platform.

Thank you.  

Michael Wanjuzi Makongo

Michael Wanjuzi Makongo is a Laudato si’ Animator in Uganda. He is working on a tree-planting project using the Encyclical teaching and resources directed by Pope Francis. He uses his environmental knowledge to teach churches and schools in his community about caring for the planet.