Eulogy for Mr Patrick Luganda, President of EBAFOSA Uganda and Africa
“If you are a good person, even after death your grave is loved”. This African proverb is what comes to mind as I think of the saddest news of the year, that I received just a few hours ago.
I received with shock and much sorrow, the news of the sadden passing of a friend, compatriot, and one of the doyens of the Ecosystems Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA), Mr. Patrick Luganda. What he did in both planting and watering the EBAFOSA seeds from the beginning is indelible. Until his untimely passing, he was the pioneering president of EBAFOSA Uganda and Africa, and on the cutting edge of the unfolding logic of EBAFOSA Innovative Volunteerism.
I met Mr. Luganda over 10 years ago, when the theme of climate change adaptation was gaining rapid traction across the continent. This was a time of momentum building towards the 17th climate change conference in Durban, that was a major precursor to the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement.
On that day in 2009, a veteran of climate change communication training that Mr Luganda was, connected with me. But what really bonded us, was a common view, that an area so crucial to Africa’s development as climate change, had to be made relatable to the majority. In our view, it had to be transitioned from the board rooms, conference halls, policy & expert discussions, and breaking news headlines only, and into the lives and livelihoods of majority of our people on the ground. In our view, these informal actors, earning a living through some of the most vulnerable yet important sectors of the continents economies, formed the bulwarks, the core fighting force, of Africa’s gallant response against climate change.
Over the years, I saw as he evolved from a communications trainer in climate change and adaptation, to a practitioner of relatable climate actions, that address the core of Africa’s vulnerability – which as we all know, is socioeconomic. His focus narrowed down to influencing through both communication and practical actions, the adoption across diverse groups, of Ecosystems Based Adaptation techniques, that have been proven to build both biophysical and socioeconomic resilience. His focus narrowed down, to climate proofing and maximising the most important & inclusive socioeconomic sector on the continent, what we call the engine of development sector, which is the agriculture sector. It is out of this focus, that we collaborated with Mr. Luganda and many others across the continent, in the landmark 1st Ecosystems Based Adaption for Food Security Conference in 2013. At this conference, the role of productive ecosystems in climate proofing and maximising productivity of Africa’s food systems was extensively deliberated and endorsed by eminent scientific and policy experts as an area worth of investment, to safeguard the continents food & livelihood security for many generations.
Armed with these high-level endorsements, we again worked with him in the 2nd Ecosystems Based Adaption for Food Security Conference in 2015. Where the Ecosystems Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly, was adopted by state and non-state actors, as the continental convening platform, for bridging policy and operational investment gaps, towards upscaling EBA as the core of climate proofed and competitive food systems. These being necessary to enhance economic productivity and climate resilience for the entire continent.
From there, Mr Luganda became not only a leader, but a champion of the policy and operational enablers for bridging the gaps towards positioning EBA & productive food systems at the pinnacle of climate resilient and inclusive economic growth across Africa.
Through working with the eminent Buganda Kingdom, he championed the amalgamation of clean energy to power value addition in the most affordable and accessible way. And by this, unlock a multiplicity of income opportunities towards addressing the core of Africa’s vulnerability, which is socioeconomic.
Through his EBAFOSA Uganda branch, he demonstrated the application of simple, yet effective technology to this end – the mechanical solar dryer.
He worked with critical institutions like the Uganda National Bureau of Standards, to champion the leveraging of national standards, as tools for driving marketability of sustainable agro-products. And by this, inject competitiveness in the application of climate solutions of both EBA & clean energy to maximise earnings potential of Africa’s food systems.
He championed, the use of local, low risk, accessible financing structures, to drive investment and establishment of enterprise dimensions to take up these climate action solutions.
He led in training many youths in the above approach, to empower them to be productive Innovative Volunteerism actors, and work with communities in delivering these climate action solutions.
We were working with him, to enhance a more seamless feedback mechanism of operational level successes to inform policy prioritisation for more targeted investments for scaling of this climate action solutions.
Today, I celebrate a friend and compatriot, a big brother and father and ask that we learn from his indomitable attitude.
Let us celebrate him and take over from where he left with more vigour than never before. Let us take his legacy forward.
We owe it to him, Africa, and the creator.
And as they say, the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, and may His name be praised.
With heavy hearts, we accept this bitter pill.
Fare thee well comrade.
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