OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE
OUR RESPONSE TO THE PENDEMIC'S IMPACT IN UGANDA
In this time of uncertainty and isolation, global solidarity is more important than ever. As COVID-19 dominated the headlines and our lives, it is helpful to remember we are all in this together, reaching out across all boundaries that often separate us. This pandemic, more than any other event, shows us that we are all connected!
To respond to the spread of COVID-19, we are focused on vulnerable communities, villages across northern Uganda.
We revised its standard operating procedures and working with the Ugandan government to ensure we are a part of the solution.
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, from 18th March 2020, we focused our urgent response activities to support women, children, District Task Forces (DTFs), and communities. At the grassroots level, we work hard to curb misinformation and create awareness to help communities to understand the reality of the situation. We provided sanitizers, food relief to over 872 vulnerable families in different districts and supported District Task Forces (DTFs) of Omoro, Gulu Nwoya, and Amuru Districts. We have deepened our networking efforts and work with several clusters especially those that work for gender justice.
While these restrictions may be partially eased as early as the last week of June 2020, the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus makes it difficult to know when life will begin returning to normal. Through it all, though, we remain active and committed to helping ensure better, more fulfilling lives for Uganda’s families.
RELIEF SUPPORT TO COMMUNITIES WITH FOOD RELIEF
The effect of COVID-19 is threatening the stability of food security for many communities. Women globally comprise 43% of the agricultural workforce. We are recognizing the importance of women in this critical area and we are committed to supporting them with microloans to enable them to open land and seeds is not only a quick solution but a sustainable one. #microloans #womenempowerment #womeninbusiness #foodsecurity #solidarity #Uganda
Join us with a one-time donation that will help women in Uganda stand again and sustain their families it’s simple at www.vacnetwork.org
SUPPORTING SMALLHOLDER FARMERS TO GUARANTEE FOOD SECURITY
In Uganda, the COVID-19 countrywide lockdown measures to prevent the rapid spread of the virus have disrupted food supply chains and impacted income-earning opportunities nationwide, with the urban poor worst affected due to significantly reduced access to income and dependence on market purchases. In Northern Uganda, most households have access to own-produced food, though access to income from agricultural labor opportunities has also been affected. It is expected that, even as COVID-19 prevention measures are eased, the restoration of economic activity is likely to be slow.
Our smallholder farmers in Northern Uganda are disproportionately at risk of food insecurity themselves, with low incomes and restricted movements a major reason for that. The COVID-19 Crisis has greatly affected their ability to produce food at a time when food supply should remain adequate for everyone in the region.
Hunger and malnutrition continue to be the greater enemy, which the pandemic threatens to capitalize on as the fuel for further devastation. Therefore, we have realigned our priorities to give the right to food its due prominence which is the best hope against a COVID-19 pandemic for which there exists no known antidote to date.
Our supports 102 smallholder farmers thru financing their agro projects and making seeds available to enable them to plant and mitigate the rooming food insecurity in the region
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FOOD RELIEF DISTRIBUTION
As we begin to rebuild villages and support women’s resilience to restore their businesses in Uganda. Here still comes an obstacle to the special needs families mainly the elderly and disabled women and their families, the majority are facing food insecurity due to the effects of COVID-19.
VAC-NET with support to our partner TGC Launched the COVID-19 the Relief support project to 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, and hand warship facilities. Together with local authorities and the District Taskforce, our team of committed staff safely distributed relief packages for families in need in our programs, child-headed families, Peer Counsellors our- community structures, and other community members at-risk of hunger.
An anonymous donor has supported us to make a timely food relief distribution.
#foodrelief #womensupportingwomen #rightstofood #self-reliance #covid19 #solidarity #microloan #elderlylove #weloveuganda #uganda
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PROVIDING HAND SANITIZER AND INFORMATION
By taking what we have learned about COVID-19, we are using a homemade recipe for hand sanitizer and a framework for production, distribution, and use in all programs, training, offices, and staff. We are able to source the ingredients regionally and produce the Lucky Hand Sanitizer locally at our Gulu Resource Centre.
The hand sanitizer project has become the essential resource in the community; the task force in Gulu District includes medical and social/psychological staff, yet they have no PPE or hand sanitizer. We are being inundated with requests to supply other programs and first responders. We cannot do this without the support of our community. We have one chance to get ahead of this in northern Uganda, a region still recovering from a long conflict, and our hope is to build capacity and produce Lucky Hand Sanitzer for vulnerable populations.
ADDRESSING THE INCREASING GBV
As cases of COVID-19 cases increase in Uganda, the emotional, physical, and mental toll is also growing. Uganda introduced mandatory lockdowns and restrictions on movements to curb the spread of COVID-19, but survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) many found themselves trapped in their homes with their abusers. Forcing them to face more extreme forms of violence.
Because many GBV service providers are currently not physically reachable because of restrictions caused by Covid-19, this crisis provides an opportunity for us to deploy our peer counselors who use our Toll-free line to conduct tele counseling services and referrals with the District Taskforce.
With the spread of Covid-19, survivors are finding it hard to seek help, and are left isolated from the people and the resources that could help them. Health systems are becoming overloaded, making it more difficult for survivors to access medical, psychological, and mental health care in physical spaces.
“Every day, I receive more than 30 cases that need counseling and other services many have been stigmatized because they are suspected to be in contacts with some of the unfortunate individuals confirmed and battling COVID-19” – says Prisca
Through our toll-free line hosted at Gulu Women’s Resource Center, survivors are virtually linked to service providers for support including psychosocial, legal, and medical services. Service providers include FIDA, Action Aid, as well as the Uganda Police Child and Family Protection Unit.
Learn more and donate at www.vacnetwork.org
TRAINED PEER COUNSELORS AND PROVIDED THEM WITH PPEs
It’s true there is a surge of infection in the country (Ugandan) with 8,491 cases reported in a day the biggest number since the outbreak in Amuru one of our operation areas reported 154 new infections of COVID-19 in a day.
We cautiously prepared our team and peer counselor providing information and PPEs we have to confront the fears with readiness and must all keep safe and healthy
Thank you for Supporting our Efforts in Uganda. Our efforts in Uganda are more important than ever before, we remain dedicated to providing uninterrupted assistance to disadvantaged women and families, and your gifts help us continue fulfilling our mission. To assist us in this time of crisis, please visit our https://www.vacnetwork.org/donate
Be safe and stay well
SUPPORTING TEENAGE GIRLS WITH SANITARY PADS DURING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN
Most girls in Northern Uganda rely on free sanitary pads distributed at their school but with the schools shut and community lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, many have no access to sanitary pads.
The measures imposed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda have resulted in economic stress in families that are putting girls and women at a disadvantage. Many have been cut off from essential sexual and reproductive health services, economic activities, and social networks.
"When the government announced lockdowns my family used their savings to stock on food and supplies, but sanitary pads were not considered. Those are normally considered a luxury. I am always glad to go to school as we can get the lucky girl pads from school,” Milam explains.
To respond to girls in this crisis, we are working with the District Task Force formed by the Ugandan government to distribute 3015 sanitary towels to adolescent girls in Northern Uganda.
"There are millions of girls affected by the COVID-19 pandemic having been used to accessing sanitary towels in schools," Monica says.
Moving forward, we need your help to prevent and support adolescent girls to continue with their education. please consider your gift to our efforts, ensuring the fights for equality, dignity, and justice continues. You can help us to multiply this impact with your generous donation.
Learn more and support at https://www.vacnetwork.org/donate