By Patrick Opio
Senior Communications Officer
A former student of Lira University, Kwerit Sarah Chebijira, the Founder and CEO of Eco-Sense Cities Uganda, a pioneering waste management company aimed at revolutionizing waste practices in Uganda, scooped awards in the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2023 in Baku, Azerbaijan, event that took place between 2nd -6th October 2023.
As a United Nations Youth Fellow, Kwerit actively contributes to youth-focused initiatives and advocates for sustainable development. She is also actively involved in the Youth Climate Voices Project, where she is building capacity in understanding solar radiation modification as well as catalyzing discussions on the need for governance in this area.
As a result, Kwerit has developed a deep curiosity in understanding the inter-linkages between space and climate change, with a particular focus in understanding how space can contribute to adaptation and mitigation efforts.
The IAC 2023 was held under the theme Global Challenges and Opportunities: Give Space a Chance in Azerbaijan’s capital extended unequalled prospects for establishing strong collaborations, and served as a perfect occasion to reach a diverse international audience through one-of-a-kind exposure both within the region and internationally.
Delving into the most recent developments in the sphere of space at the Congress, the guests and participants had a chance to experience the authentic culture and hospitality of Azerbaijan.
There is a rich history behind hosting IAC in Azerbaijan. In 2023, the IAC is back to Baku exactly half a century after the capital of Azerbaijan hosted it for the first time in 1973, becoming the first and the only city in the region to do so. The 74th edition of IAC is coupled with unique exposure to an emerging market, first-hand experience of the unmatched Azerbaijani hospitality, genuine cultural immersion, and the diverse charms of this beautiful country.
The IAC through the work of the Honours and Awards (HAC) Committee confers a number of awards every year to individuals and groups who have distinguished themselves in space cooperation and space activities at global level and who are engaged with or participate actively in the activities of the Federation
The IAC is the one place and time of the year where all global space actors come together. The event attracts more than 6,000 participants each year. Covering all space sectors and topics, it offers everyone the latest space information and developments in academia and industry, networking opportunities, contacts and potential partnerships.
Each year, the IAC changes country, theme and local organizer, enabling all to learn more about, and be a part of the world space scene.
The IAC is not only a Congress, but a gathering of the international space community that actively contributes to shaping a different and exciting programme every year. The panel discussions covered policy discussions on emerging space affairs issues and continued engaging with stakeholders to support and promote dialogue among governments, industry and the private sector, academia and society to effectively tackle challenges and address changes in the space ecosystem.
In 2022, Kwerit also led a team comprising of students from Lira University that participated in the “Clean Lira City” drive and the launch of the garbage collection app they had developed and physical collection of garbage in the town. The University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Assoc. Prof. Okaka Opio Dokotum also participated in the rubbish collection event.