The Challenges and Learnings from COVID-19 in Uganda

October 6, 2020
Uganda, like any other country, has been impacted and affected by COVID-19. So has International Needs Uganda (INUG). Due to the pandemic, there was a nationwide total lockdown, (from 18
March) which meant that schools, churches, businesses, transport and other aspects of social routine life were closed down.

The teachers can’t go to school because the students are not in classes. Since there is no teaching, there would be no promotional exams especially for the Year 12 classes. This is a great disappointment to the students. Because the students are at home, there is a risk of crime rates and household violence. Since businesses are closed, parents are at home and consequently have no income for families and then no supplies for essential commodities, especially food supplies for the families.

 

All our planned activities could not be implemented, thus stalled progress and reports. At INUG it was only the medical staff that remained 100% operational and I commend the staff for the sacrifice.

Another big impact was failure to get in touch with our supporters with accurate information on the status of the beneficiaries and project, simply because we couldn’t reach the communities due to fear of infection and transport facilities being banned from operating. All the work was done from home, on laptops and the use of phone calls if there was need. Thank God for the modern technology that enabled us to do this.

Justus is the Director of INUG, our in-country partner in Uganda
However, in May, some restrictions were lifted so there was some mobility, then INUG partially opened office twice a week for some work and operations. This enabled us to reorganise the office and start planning. We tried as much as possible to get in touch with our communities and stakeholders so that we could report to our supporters. This came with some limitations because Buikwe, the district in which INUG operates, is one of those marked as risky because of its proximity to the border.

In this period, we managed to secure additional funds from our supporters to buy food stuffs for our staff and some highly vulnerable households, and managed to distribute learning materials to 95% of our students to keep them busy. We have also secured funds from IN support offices to respond to community issues like food supply, boosting income generation and help for the medical centre in addressing the pandemic in our catchment area.

We have witnessed God’s hand in this as He has provided, protected and taught us this far. We are learning that we need to be careful as we handle resources at our disposal, especially during such crisis. We also learn to plan ahead, like having reserves that could be used in case of calamities like this.

We also are learning the importance of partnerships. These are the ones that have supported us through this time. So I appreciate all our partners that have stood with us morally and materially.
Lastly, I think there is that standing anxiety on how to manage and live with COVID-19. Looking at the impact it has come with or leaving us with, I am optimistic that we will manage using the staff, partners and the systems developed.

Thanks,
Justus Miwanda
Executive Director, INUG

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