With the air flaring with the scent of warm salty popcorn and the soft drinks freshly chilled, the Makerere University School of Public Health ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (EA RILab) opened its doors to the community on December 9th, 2016 for yet another Movie Night and discussion. Movie Nights have continued to be learning gatherings for multidisciplinary teams convened by the RAN team. Premiering this time was the riveting documentary, “Before the Flood” from Academy Award-winning Filmmaker Fisher Stevens and Academy Award-winning actor andU.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio.

The session begun with a welcome address from RAN’s Engagement Officer, Natasha Kassami who greeted the multidisciplinary group of 40, shared briefly about RAN and gave the participants a brief summary of what to expect from the evening. “This documentary follows actor Leonard DiCaprio as he travels the globe to gain a deeper understanding of climate change,” she shared before clicking the button to start the film. With the popcorn in their hands to enhance concentration and eyes glued to the screen, the participants who comprised of legal experts, farmers, economists, students, faculty and the general community among others then followed Leonardo’s excursions on land, air and sea, as he travelled to places like the Baffin Island of the Canadian Arctic, Greenland and China among others that have been gravely affected by climate change. In the documentary, Leonardo also engaged experts, scientists and heads of states including U.S. President Barak Obama, Former President of Kirabati, Anote Tong and Current President of Palau- Tommy Remengesau on the topic, discussing the numerous challenges that have arisen from climate change in their various regions. This Movie Night was organized in partnership with Open Sustainability Institute http://www.opensustainability.org .

With the evidence at hand, the viewers joined together in a discussion led by Brian Atuhaire, the Founder of “Partner Initiative”- a local non-profit organization with interventions in health, energy and environment on what they had learnt and how it could be applied in our day-to-day lives.

  • Participants noted that the small things that we do as individuals matter even for Climate Change
  • Clean and safe water harvesting is vital in all communities in order to address some of the challenges that occur as a result of climate change
  • One other key message was the need to preserve the environment through deeds like making use of more energy efficient cook stoves.
  • Participants also highlighted that human beings are the custodians of the earth and that it is a moral requirement for us to protect the earth so that ourselves and the generation after us have a better life and earth.
  • That we should all endure some discomfort now in order to save the environment for the future generation.
  • It is important for all persons to carry out Needfinding in all aspects of life (even personal) in order to appreciate the other context and efficiently design solutions to address specific community challenges.

Prior to the open networking session that allowed for further sharing about the movie, the RAN Communications Manager, Harriet Adong thanked all participants for continuously identifying with RAN. She closed the session by sharing more in-depth about RAN and making note of the big pool of innovations (currently over 120) under incubation at RAN. She also recognized some of the RAN Innovators who were in attendance and clearly shared about the different innovations they were currently working on including the Fruiti-Cycle, Arvana Innovation and Eco-cold Room.  This event was also a rich opportunity for the RAN team to share about the open Calls for Application in particular the Youth Innovation Grants-Social Innovation Chapter (YSiG-S) http://grants.ranlab.org/?r=site/ran&p=ysigs. In conclusion, Harriet also shared that RAN is open to partnerships, saying that “together each achieves more in the strive to identify, nature and scale innovations as solutions to communities’ most pressing challenges”. She also called upon all participants to carry on as RAN ambassadors wherever they go to further spread the gospel of Innovation and Resilience.

Details about the Innovations are shared on http://www.ranlab.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/EA-RILab-Innovation-Portfolio-1.pdf.

For further details and to apply for the Grants at RAN, please visit www.ranlab.org or www.grants.ranlab.org.