COVID-19 in Uganda
On March 22nd, Uganda's health officials confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Uganda. COVID-19 presents a unique set of challenges for already impoverished and vulnerable communities we serve in Uganda - loss of family income, poor health and sanitation in cramped homes, and rising food prices. For already at-risk girls living in urban slum areas, COVID-19 presents an increased risk for violence, abuse, and neglect.
On March 31st, the Ugandan government announced a nationwide lockdown and curfew. For people living in urban slum areas in Kampala, this presents an extremely difficult reality, as many live day to day and in cramped homes without regular access to basic amenities. Whilst the government has provided food and supplies to some families, many have missed out. The families that GUIU works with often struggle to get essential supplies in normal times, thus, the extra financial and social impact of COVID-19 is placing many of these families in an impossible situation.
"Menstruation doesn’t stop with COVID-19. What happens when a family has to prioritize food?"
Monica Nyiraguhabwa, Executive Director
Our Quick & Nimble Response
Girl Up Initiative Uganda is committed to serving our communities in this critical time.
We are using our existing relationships with local authorities, teachers, and parents together with our strategic location within an urban slum community to set up our quick and nimble response with a gender-responsive approach.
Family Relief Packages
GUIU launched the COVID-19 Survive & Thrive Fund to support families in our communities with basic necessities. Our team has purchased supplies and put together family relief packages. These packages consist of: posho (ground corn) and beans, soap, salt, and sanitary pads. Together with local authorities, our team is safely distributing these packages to parents of the girls in our Adolescent Girls Program.
Supporting Police to Respond to Cases of Violence
The lockdown has created rising tensions in the home, putting women and children at increased risk of violence and abuse. We are working together with our partners in the Uganda Police Force to respond and support women and girls during this challenging time.
Youth-friendly Information Dissemination
GUIU is using its online platforms to reach Ugandan youth with accurate information and to promote good health and well-being during the COVID-19 lockdown. Our young and passionate team is coming together to produce podcasts, go Live on Instagram, host Tweet Chats, share infographics, and more.
We are also sharing information on the Ni-Yetu Toll-free Number that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Mobile Phone Outreach
In a time when our team can’t meet with the girls, young women, and youth in our programs, we are turning to mobile phone outreach to connect with each and every participant to share knowledge, resources, and the encouragement necessary to stay resilient and well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are tirelessly reaching out to parents in all ways we can. As coaches, we are mentoring them and spreading hope and optimism."
Clare Tusingwire, Program Director
Taking Care of the Dream Team
The safety, well-being, and financial security of our 20 full-time staff members in Uganda is our highest priority. Therefore, on March 24th we closed our offices and all staff are working remotely. We are grateful to be in a position to keep all staff onboard, provide all staff with laptops and Internet to work remotely, and for the good health and morale of the whole team. We continue to operate with hope and optimism in this time.