Food for Ugandan families during the Coronavirus Lockdown
Lockdown in Uganda:
The whole of Uganda came to a shuddering halt. In just a 24 hour period, 20 million people (mostly children from schools) returned to their houses. The fight against Coronavirus had begun. Right now there has been a lockdown for 35 days in Uganda. No schools or workplaces are open, no public transport, and everyone is to stay at home. Yesterday evening it was announced that the lockdown is extended for a further 14 days and it could go a lot further as well. But it’s much harder in Uganda than in the UK. In England, social distancing is impractical, but in many Ugandan cities, it is impossible. Being stuck in close conditions with a family is hard. The Ugandan 2016/2017 National Housing Survey showed that 71% of households in Kampala have only one room to sleep in. Similarly, basic hygiene precautions are limited. Alcohol gel is scarce and the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey of 2016 states that only 44% of households had soap and water for hand-washing.
A recent assessment by Makerere University suggests the country has only 55 Intensive Care beds, so further spread of the virus would be likely to cause catastrophic loss of life. Faced with so few options it is not surprising that the government mandated a strict lockdown to try to stop the virus spreading.
This is also causing significant challenges for rural communities. With a sudden return of household members, and no concurrent increase in food supplies, many households do not have enough to eat. With crops not yet ready to harvest, and a recent lockdown extension there is a significant possibility of starvation.
What is Afrinspire doing?
Our partners in different places are informing us of the needs around them.
Here is a boda-boda man loading up a food delivery to a family. Ten families have been helped in and near Mbale through the initiative of one of our partners, Mariam. The families helped had no food and no money to buy food.
Mariam writes: 'There are still more people in the villages who have no food nor soap at their homes. The government is only able to consider people from urban areas and those who live in slum areas and this is around Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono and Luwero district.If there is more help you can send, then please, we are so grateful to receive.'
We are finding those most in need during the lockdown in Uganda.
Rose Ekitwi's words on Sunday were:'Now, there are more people who are in need. Now people are totally suffering'. Rose is in contact with a wide network where we have supported 105 FAL groups to start in the past 15 years in communities in many regions of Uganda.
We are raising general funds to help people we know. Typically donations of £30 to £60 are the most useful for supporting a family of 6 or 8 for 3 to 4 weeks with some basic subsistence. But any amount is useful and you can donate through Paypal Giving. We have distributed £1,300 in the past 3 weeks to help more than 200 people. Typically £14 per person is needed.
Many Ugandans have their own links to people in the UK and they have been explaining their situation of life under lockdown. So far we have moved special donations of £10,000 from donors in the UK to their beneficiaries in Uganda. This has been through the Afrinspire Ufund system which we have operating for restricted donations. Normally we transfer money once per month but we have been actioning many 'specials', one-off transfers so as to help those in need. You can also find out more about Ufund by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.