wild voices blog

Unlocking the Power of Capacity-building in Uganda

By Cidee Despi

Uganda is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, ranking in the top 10 globally, and this natural richness has inspired many conservationists to take action to protect the country’s natural heritage. One such conservationist is Aiita Joshua Apamaku, a biologist from Uganda who is passionate about biodiversity and the climate crisis.

Growing up in Uganda, Aiita fell in love with nature, but as he traveled to different places, he became curious about why biodiversity was different in different regions. His interest in wildlife and biodiversity led him to pursue a career in biology and to focus on the interconnectedness of the environment and the climate crisis. He is now working to minimize impacts and lessen losses in the environment through research, community conversation, and capacity-building programs.

His project focuses on awareness and cross-knowledge sharing, capacity-building, and strengthening for young Africans engaged in conservation. He aims to showcase what young Africans are doing and engaging in and to raise unpopular African narratives within the nature realm. Through podcasts and other initiatives, he is trying to understand how climate change can be mitigated through nature-based approaches.

Aiita is committed to finding the link between his passion for the environment and his studies. He wants to continue playing his part and contributing to lessening the loss. At a young age, he is certain he wants to develop a career in the environment, understanding that the world is deeply interconnected with it.

Aiita applied to the EXCELerator program to gain more practical knowledge of how to pursue his project. The program provided him with the opportunity to think through his ideas, learn how to pitch his project, and find partners and funding. He also engaged with mentors who provided valuable insights into his project and ideas.

Capacity-building programs are essential for young people who have passions and interests but lack the courage to get started. The EXCELerator program helped Aiita identify the core issues he wanted to solve, the scope of his project, and why it mattered to him. Working with a team, peers, and mentors helped him grow professionally and personally.

Aiita achieved several milestones through the EXCELerator program, including engaging with colleagues, sharing his ideas and concepts, and receiving feedback. He learned the importance of consumer experience and learning from others. His project is aimed at protecting and conserving nature, and he hopes to see a future where people feel the change, and business models are developed that support conservation.

Aiita’s journey in conservation and his project demonstrate the importance of capacity-building programs for young people passionate about conservation. The EXCELerator program provided him with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to pursue his project and make a meaningful impact in African conservation.


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Cidee Despi

Cidee Despi

CoalitionWILD Communications and Marketing Officer

Cidee Despi hopes to embody compassion that inspires action. As a development sector professional, she is committed to making social impact where she can, especially when it comes to her areas of interest: the youth, gender and development, and social justice to name a few. She has occupied various roles, from communications and partnerships to project and program management, all in support of impact-driven organizations. On the side, she writes about culture and politics. Currently, she is pursuing her law degree at the University of the Philippines.

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