An Increase in poverty as the economy slows down

Socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Uganda

The Ugandan economy was projected to have slowed down by nearly 50% for the financial year 2019-2020. For financial year 2020/21 and with further uncertainties since the emergence of Covid-19, it is predicted that the economy will continue to slow down.

Covid-19 has majorly indented the economy by the increase in businesses closing and unemployment. As a result, people’s education, opportunities and livelihoods have been fragmented with reduced flow of remittance, loss of market and demand for domestic products. That has developed an increase of poverty across the country and thus un-doing much great work that has been implemented from various charitable establishments over the last 10 years. 

Targeting of Covid-19 response measures.

Over 8 million Ugandans (19.7%) live below the national poverty line, however, the government’s Covid-19 relief programmes like food and other relief aid were primarily directed to the 1.5 million people living in the urban area in Kampala and Wakiso District (the capital). Unfortunately, the government’s response measure directed its focus on the formal sector only. As a result, the poorest and most vulnerable citizens surrounding the city in small towns and rural village areas were disregarded and these people work in informal sectors with less access to governmental tax benefits.

Youth Link Network’s Covid-19 Aid Response Project – 2020

A Pre-survey was conducted, and it was found out that most households within Nambale Subcounty were only having one meal per day and a few spent a full day without having single meal. This alarmed the YLN team to intervene and support.

After successfully raising £5,000 worth of funding through a Go Fund Me campaign and receiving a grant of £750 from Kwanda Funders in the summer of 2020. The Youth Link Networks team embarked on a project to support as many of the disregarded families that the government failed to attend to during the heights of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Youth Link Networks devised the project into 4 different sections.

  1. Immediate food response
  2. Sanitation
  3. Nutrition and Health &
  4. Monitoring and Evaluation

Through this successful project and with a dedicated team of 11 team members on the ground, YLN’s was able to support 51 Households in Nambale Sub County with a total number of 340 beneficiaries. Each of household was provided with the following:

  1. 20kg of maize flour
  2. 10kg of beans
  3. 1 batch of green vegetables
  4. Batch of vegetable seeds to farm
  5. 1-month supply of soap
  6. 2 packs of salt
  7. 1-year reusable sanitary kit.
  8. Social worker allocation per family

Key areas of support:

Economic development

YLN’s provided agricultural support through the Farm & Crunch Project, beneficiaries were provided with starter seed packs containing: Maize, Beans, Green peppers, Egg plants (Auberges), Sukuma and more.

This part of the project was mainly intended to educate and provide live demonstrations on farming practices and how this could be translated into sustainable income. Although Covid-19 has caused down-fall in income to a large population of Ugandans, this activity was also focusing on combating constraints that were being faced by different communities to access essential needs like soap and sanitary products for girls, thus, addressing inadequate food supply, limited agriculture inputs and agriculture knowledge and access to essential needs.

Social Support

The YLN’s team played a key role in connecting the families to Social Workers that would conduct assessments on members within the household and offer psychological support in the form of counseling as a direct response to individuals whose mental health showed signs of debilitating. Many families had lost hope given that some of the income generation activities were shut down as a result of Covid-19 and accepting help from YLN, particularly from male breadwinners was still hard as they also felt stripped of their masculine responsibilities to their families but with guidance, support and an understanding team YLN and the beneficiaries were able to work through this with the families.  

The YLN’s team, with a high level of observing the Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), made home visits with the support of qualified Social Workers and the following services were rendered to the beneficiaries;

  1. Counselling Restoring hope with 1-1 sessions to dig deeper into personal issues and offer solutions.
  2. Anti-retroviral Therapy- Due to complete lockdown on transportation services across the country it was hard for some patients to access Health Centers. Therefore YLN’s arranged for community structures (Qualified Professionals) to carry out welfare checks and medication delivery to patients that was unable to access this service and frequently missed out on taking their meds as a result.   

Missing out on drug refill appointments is a common factor for people in the rural areas, even on normal days outside of Covid-19 factors. YLN’s are therefore on a mission to strategically plan with the local government to see how this could be addressed among people living with HIV in particular.   

Post Covid-19-Outcomes

The outcome of the Covid-19 project has been nothing short of AMAZING! YLN has bared witness to fruitful and plentiful gardens of the beneficiaries (Refer to photos below). However, there is still plenty work to be done to support new families within the community and provide more guided support (which will require more time invested from the team) on translating harvest into income so that families can be totally alleviated from the constant every day struggles. 

This is where you as our supporters play a key role. Your INTEREST Matters! Your SUPPORT Matters! Your COLLABORATION Matters! Your REPOSTS Matters! Your DONATION Matters!

We CANNOT operate as a charity without your continued support. We are a grass roots charity that is doing LIFE CHANGING work in communities that are marginalized and we seek your support to have input and help rebuild structures and systems so that the people living in these communities can live sustainably.

A hand of support is still needed both at individual and organizational level. Your support will be recognized and appreciated. Together we can make the entire world a better place to live in. Youth Link Networks will always live by its slogan “changing lives”.

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