In Uganda, your support has allowed us to work with our local partner AWYAD (African Women and Youth Action for Development) to support refugees in the Palabek and Kyaka II refugee settlements. The country hosts more refugees than any other country in Africa, and the restrictions put in place to curb the spread of Coronavirus made it even harder for them to provide for themselves. Strict lockdown measures were enforced by the police and army, while face masks have now become compulsory for all those going out in public.
These measures initially restricted the ability of AWYAD to reach the vulnerable people they support, and staff had to take extra precautions to keep themselves and the children and women they work with safe. Our COVID-19 Support Fund provided PPE for their staff on the ground, and funded delivering training and resources to those who need it most.
Providing emergency relief in refugee settlements
Lockdowns in refugee settlements made it harder for vulnerable people to access food, water and health supplies. At the beginning of the lockdown, ensuring continued access to essential supplies was our priority. AWYAD was able to distribute soap, hand sanitiser and handwashing facilities – reaching over 1,000 refugees, children and community members.
Combined with distributing masks and spreading information on how to keep safe, such as the importance of distancing and handwashing, together we helped to reduce the exposure of the virus.
In Uganda, a population of over 40 million are served by only 55 functional intensive care beds across the country.
AWYAD has been supplying the materials needed and training women’s refugee groups to make reusable face masks.
As face masks were made compulsory in public, many refugees weren’t able to access them. In the markets they were expensive and poor quality and were only one size meaning children (who have to wear them over the age of six) had nothing to use. This meant that women weren’t able to go out and get the essentials they needed to support themselves and their children.
Teaching these women how to make reusable masks mean they can go out in public again. As well as this, they’ve also learned new skills and will be able to sell the masks they make to bring in an income. The training also brought women together and they were able to discuss the challenges they have been facing, which have been escalated by the lockdown.
While your support is helping to reach those who need it most in Uganda, the economic fallout of Coronavirus is starting to hit hard. Almost half of families have seen a significant loss in income already, we’re hearing frequent reports of a rise in teenage pregnancies and AWYAD have told us that their biggest fear is more child marriages and child trafficking. COVID-19 is still posing very serious risks to vulnerable children in Uganda. To respond, we’re running an urgent crowdfunder for our Survivors Support Fund in September to help survivors of abuse through this difficult time