August 18th, 2023

Raising Climate Change Awareness in the EAC through Cycling (GIZ)

On 15 August, the EAC-GIZ Support to East African Integration Programme (SEAMPEC II) supported the Great African Cyclists Safari (GACs) in their endeavour to develop and implement regional agreements and measures that facilitate adaptation and mitigation of Climate Change.

This year, the cyclists, riding under the theme of ‘Food Security and Sustainable Development in East Africa’ with the aim of engaging EAC citizens on the state of climate change and food security in the region, held a ‘Food Security and Climate Change Dialogue’ which took place at the Arusha Technical College, Tanzania. They started with a tree-planting activity involving staff and students in the awareness raising campaign. 100 fruit trees donated by EAC-GIZ were planted at the college.

In his opening remarks at the dialogue, the Director of Productive Sectors at the EAC Secretariat, Mr Jean Baptiste Havugimana, congratulated the cyclists for ambitiously conquering the terrains across the region to promote the EAC integration among citizens. He noted that the EAC region faces impacts of climate change like altered rainfall patterns, droughts, floods and others that threaten the region’s sustainable development. To curb the region’s susceptibility to food insecurity, the EAC Secretariat has instituted policy measures such as the EAC Seed Potato Strategy and Action Plan and the EAC Post-Harvest Loss Management Strategy and Action Plan that ensure the safety and quality standards of agricultural produce are met within the region. Furthermore, the EAC is working with Partner States to protect water catchment areas and set up terraces to control soil erosion, restore biodiversity and promote afforestation through planting of fruit trees that safeguard the nutrition and economic empowerment of local communities. He assured the cyclists of the support of the EAC Secretariat and encouraged the youth across the EAC to continue using their ingenuity in pushing for a stronger and more integrated Jumuiya.

Mr Max Middeke, SEAMPEC II Deputy Programme Manager, commended the cyclists for taking up the sport and raising awareness of climate change and food security in the affected communities. He noted that EAC-GIZ also supports the EAC through the EAC/LVBC IWRM (Integrated Water Resources Management) project, which aims to strengthen the EAC and LVBC (Lake Victoria Basin Commission) in IWRM, including climate change initiatives and capacity building. Additionally, EAC-GIZ continues to support other non-state actors in contributing to policy advocacy and campaigns that promote environmental sustainability and improve climate change adaptation in areas such as pharmaceutical waste management, tannery waste management, hortifresh value addition, safe uptake of fruits and vegetables and smart agriculture.

Mr John Bosco Balongo, founder of GACs, thanked EAC-GIZ for its support in realising the dream of the EAC founding fathers, where EAC citizens could unite to address common issues. He encouraged more EAC citizens to adopt cycling as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, keeping physically fit and promoting oneness through the two wheels that transport people and goods within the communities. He called for more collaboration with the EAC Secretariat in dissemination of information on the progress and benefits of the EAC integration to the communities.

Recommendations made to the EAC Partner States included:

  • Train communities on good agricultural practices, such as proper use of inputs like fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Establish nurseries and vegetable gardens in each school using species suited to the area.
  • Adopt water harvesting methodologies such as roof top/ tanks and water pits.
  • Educate on food safety and nutrition.
  • Promote climate-smart agriculture and zero waste on farms (promote recycling).
  • Establish clubs such as the 4 k – “Kuungana, Kufanya, Kusaidia Kenya” in schools and institutions to take care of nurseries, trees and gardens.

EAC-GIZ Advisors, Ms Jennifer Gache, Mr Omari Myanza and Ms Joyce Kimaro, engaged the students on the importance of adopting smart agriculture, using water responsibly and supporting the vulnerable groups affected by climate change such as the elderly, women and children.

Nelvin Malisa, David Casmil and Elizabeth Joel, representatives from Arusha Technical College, pledged their role in promoting a sustainable region and world. An Environment and Climate Change Club was also established as a benchmark for further engagement between the EAC Secretariat and students on climate change issues across the region.

Additionally, at the flagging-off ceremony on 17 August, the EAC Secretary General, Hon. Dr Peter Mathuki, applauded the cyclists for being the epitome of the EAC on the ground. He assured them of the full support of the Secretariat and urged them to take up the remaining part of the journey courageously and with a commitment to engaging the respective Ministries of EAC in this cause. He noted that the cyclists were frontline heroes depicting the active role of youth and women that should continue being taken up in the decision-making and policy-formulation processes within the EAC. He wished the cyclists well and urged them to pass the message of a united, strengthened and integrated Jumuiya to all they met on the way.



Since 2016, the Great African Cyclists Safari (GACs), formerly known as Guild Campfire Logs, with their expedition dubbed Tour d’EAC, have cycled 6,000 kilometres around the EAC. Their aim is to promote people-centred integration through awareness creation among the communities along the way on various aspects, such as Climate Change. Their journey starts in Kampala, leading them all the way through Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and back to Kampala for a Grand Finale.

Find more information on the SEAMPEC II here.