Friday October 20 2017

A 290km walk to save environment

Ayeni (Centre) prepares to plant a tree during

Ayeni (Centre) prepares to plant a tree during the star of the walk in Kapchorwa recently. Photo by EPHRAIM KASOZI 


Geoffrey Ayeni, 42, speaks with a rare verve as he explains his desire to have a contribution in the reversal of the effects of climate change currently affecting much of Uganda.
Ayeni is lanky, quite imposing, well built and gives a impression of a man who is healthy enough to walk some good distance.
Indeed the Luzira-based fine artist, has walked 290 kilometres from Kampala to Kapchorwa in nine days planting more than 4,000 trees in an awareness campaign about the devastating effect of climate change.
“I had planned this journey to last 10 days but I completed it in nine because of the determination I had and the support from different people,” he says.
Every 12 hours, Ayeni says, he together with a friend, Quirino Okello, walked at least 35.5 kilometres before finding a roadside lodge or hotel to refresh for the next day.
Born in Acholi sub region, the father of three believes he can use his talent to communicate and change livelihood.
“I can at least walk. I decided to use my talent to sensitise people on collective responsibility. Apart from walking, I also paint pictures to communicate the adverse effects of climate change,” he says, explaining that talent is a resource that can change human lifestyles.
Ayeni is the founder member of Walkers’ Association of Uganda. He was inspired to join the climate change campaign due to the rising cost of food that has partly affected Uganda’s economic fortunes.
The association, according to Ayeni comprises more than 50 members including professionals.
“First I did an art exhibition of my works in which I appealed to the public to support the campaign to create climate change awareness and to address the challenges and improve economic development,” he says, adding that tree planting is the simplest everyone can do to preserve the environment.
His intervention, he says, was informed by that realisation that everyone needed to be involved in the fight against climate change as well as appealing to relevant authorities to make a contribution.
“I thought I had to use my talent to create awareness and call for other people’s participation,” he says.
Before this Ayeni has participated in other walks particularly to raise awareness about particular subjects.
In 2006, he walked from Entebbe to Kampala to create awareness about the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
In the same year, he walked against child abuse in the aftermath of a horrid attack on Aisha Nabukeera, who to date lives with the scars of an abusive childhood.
Ayeni also expects to participate in another walk from of 500km Kampala to Kabale to sensitise Ugandans on the importance of saving the environment.