COVID-19 pandemic is currently ravaging the world with most countries on lockdown. In Uganda, the lockdown has led to school closures and disrupted school calendars, led to business closures and massive disruption of programs by non-governmental organisations and other private entities.
The lockdown has been a welcome move that has led to the lowering of COVID-19 spread in Uganda compared to its neighbouring countries. However, it has led to some consequences that ought to be noted with concern. It has led to the loss of jobs for many as companies and organisations try to manage financial deficits to stay in business or in operation – though there are no statistics to indicate a number of jobs lost since February 2020 to-date due to COVID-19 occurrence. Livelihoods have been distorted and reversed with most of the active population lying idle as they stay home. Single mothers and the Poor have completely used up all their money and are resorting to cooking stones so that the kids can think something is being cooked and sleep. This has sent shock waves across the 42 million Ugandans – most of whom previously dwelt below the poverty line or fence-sitting and now have slipped below it due to the huge challenge of sustaining families with no food in the houses.
On 31 March 2020, the Government of Uganda instituted severe restrictions to avoid the spread of the deadly and highly contagious COVID 19. The official lock down directives closed all markets in the nation to those who do not sell food items; and suspended all forms of private and public transportation including bodabodas, Tuck-Tuck, and taxis. These measures have had an immediate and severe impact on low-wage earners, hawkers, roadside vendors, and struggling urban refugees as all manners of self-employment jobs were eliminated. The markets, the demands, and the ability to transport goods all disappeared. Among those affected are urban refugees who live hand to mouth. Without their daily market activity, they cannot provide food for their families. This project is an emergency appeal to provide food items and sanitizing materials to 120 vulnerable people in Kampala. Many of these individuals are already food insecure and risk inadequate nourishment, even to the point of starvation, during regular economic times. The urban refugees do not receive any support from UNHCR because they are out of the refugee settlements. As a consortium of refugee-led organizations, we will purchase and deliver supplies to our vulnerable community members by foot and by bicycle. Where it is not possible to deliver in person, we will send mobile money in the equivalent of purchased goods to families so they can purchase what the family needs. These efforts will therefore protect them from the risk of getting arrested and be the agent circulator of Covid-19.
Kampala is a congested, sprawling city with nearly 1.8 million people, 20% of whom are single mothers or refugees. Urban refugees & Single mothers are hit with a double whammy by the COVID-19 crisis:
- For many of Uganda’s urban poor, single mothers including refugees, the lack of access to markets to continue economic activities, coupled with the lack of official support, essentially condemns too many to languish in home. In “normal” times, urban refugees have the option to return to settlements for limited food or assistance, but this is not possible now due to the shutdown of all personal and public transportation. The economic impact of the lock-down has also put them in a state of limbo and hence threatens them with starvation. Most refugees’ hawkers, low-wage workers and roadside vendors no longer have an income and therefore they are unable to provide food for their families and protect themselves from the contagion Covid-19. Many refugees will necessarily continue their businesses and hawking in order to survive. For those who defy the market closures, they will face arrest, and heightened risk of disease infection, including to spread the disease to their vulnerable family members at home and to other vulnerable people in their communities. Our intervention to provide immediate supplies allows people to stay at home, stay safe, and continue to eat and care for their families during this crisis.
We seek to raise 19,990 Pounds to provide emergency food relief & sanitizers to a minimum of 2000 Single Mothers, 2000 Urban poor families at risk of imminent hunger and avoid the spread of Covid-19. For known vulnerable individuals and families who live in inaccessible areas, we will send mobile money to the family such that they can purchase these supplies from small sellers near to them. It only takes 200 well wishers to donate 100 Pounds each to reach this goal. However, any donation helps us to make a difference! We budget that it costs approximately 10 Pounds (49,000 UGX) to buy sanitizer and supply per relief package. Please support Diana Natasha to keep Single Mothers and the Urban poor safe at home, and out of harm's way from continuing business that subjects them to arrest and disease.