My passion for our natural environment brought me to the SCIF
1. Briefly describe your career and professional background
I hold a Bsc Forestry, a PGD in Project Planning and Management and an Msc Natural Resources Management and am currently pursuing a Doctorate in Agricultural and Applied Biosciences.
I have been a natural resource/environment management specialist for the last 20 years with considerable experience in environment, occupational health and safety management, stakeholder engagement, biodiversity conservation, project planning and management, agriculture and social development work, including; social research, facilitating undergraduate and postgraduate Natural Resources students. I have served in various capacities as research associate, rangelands, water and environment expert in agricultural projects, environmental manager in the mining, oil and gas, construction, transport and hydropower sectors. I have been involved in environmental and social impact assessments, baseline surveys, environmental and social audits, developing environmental and social management frameworks and management systems and World Bank’s social and environmental safeguards policies.
2. What are the key skills and knowledge that you bring to the SCIF?
I bring to SCIF 20 years’ experience and technical skills in natural resources and environmental management, project planning and management, gender analysis, research and development skills, stakeholder engagement (communities and contractors), community mobilisation, participatory monitoring and evaluation methodologies. I have good knowledge of local agricultural, water and environmental development policies and planning. I also possess good knowledge of sustainable climate change mitigation and adaptation methodologies and renewable energy technologies as well as related local regulations.
I am both an environmentalist and an agriculturalist. Having grown up on tea estates in Uganda where my father worked and which offered the best scenery, clean air and the quietest environment, I always enjoyed being outdoors. We grew most of the food we ate on the available land within the tea estates and I liked working in the gardens. It definitely played a part in my choice of career.
I pursued courses (natural resources management and agriculture) that would propel me to that direction. I also directly decided to practically practice agriculture which we now do on family land. This mostly includes crop (organic bananas, forest coffee, tea, fruits), fish ponds, commercial tree growing and livestock farming (dairy cattle, local goats, pigs, chicken, ducks, turkeys, rabbits).
Although farming has changed in Uganda and there is a lot of environmental degradation as a result, it is time to redefine what it means to be a farmer in this century. We have to be mindful of the impact of food systems on the environment. I always advocate for fellow farmers to adopt more sustainable farming practices that not only protect but also restore natural resources.
3. What made you want to be part of the SCIF?
I saw the role of SCIF Project Coordinator as a way of developing my career in a forward-thinking and well-established organisation as the SCIF (and the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM), with a carbon reduction strategy and thought I would succeed in the role because my dream has always been to work in a climate change related position. I have the experience and skills required for this job. The SCIF project objectives are well aligned with my career dreams and I thought it would be an interesting journey to take on.
What are you most excited about?
I am most excited about meeting the big SCIF goals of helping counteract the effect of greenhouse gas emissions, reducing environmental degradation whilst simultaneously improving the livelihood of people in Uganda. I personally like to have ideally big ambitious goals and leave some mark on this planet. By supporting SCIF to achieve its objectives, I can have the opportunity to reach my goals.
I am also excited about learning about carbon markets and approaches to greenhouse reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation in other parts of the world. Creating synergies and networking with government agencies and organisations with similar goals.
Read the second part of the Q&A with Juliet soon.