Mar 31, 2021

GREENING COMMUNITIES TO FOREST VILLAGES

 

31st March 2021

KIKANDWA ENVIRONMENTAL ASSOCIATIO (KEA)

P.O. Box 27551, 

The role of KIKANDWA ENVIROETAL ASSOCIATION DURING COVID -19 CRISIS

greening community to forest villages 

Covid-19 continues to cost lives of rural poor communities of Kikandwa, and how we are working tirelessly to help tackle the pandemic and support the most vulnerable families. This is to thank you for being a friend of KEA. 2020 /2021, we couldn’t have achieved anything without you as a partner and friend.  We didn’t achieve everything we set out to do but we did succeed a lot- despite the COVID19 pandemic. 2021 looks promising due to exciting new ambitious goals and projects which we will continuously update you.

I have the pleasure to inform you that since 2020, March the country went on total lockdown with burn of travels, a two months internet shout down early this year 2012 , the member persisted to keep living in adoption to SOPS, up to now, we are also happy to inform you that during that period a lot of projects and activities have been implemented within community and beyond with our own resources and less external support.  Members of the community in general have been longing to meet in person to update to share knowledge and  progress of the organization this  has not been possible always.

With meager resources, KEA extends  its sincere appreciation to GlobalGiving, donors, advisors as joined global efforts to raise $1000 and more to coordinate on ground activities ranging from combat the three interconnected environmental crises the world faces today, namely, climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste levels, these crises are manifested in air and water pollution, pestilent and erosive land-use practices, desertification and extreme weather events. According to a recent study. Feed the hungry marginalized families, many could not access nutritious food from market as transport was burned, sensitization of door to door on effects of covid -19, this called for emergency support to families that could not access liquid or bar soap, sanitizer, jerricans, posters hand written and printed out in local language, local radio programs lined with ministry of health with aim of sensitizing community as many could not access newspapers, radio, or television.

Supporting women and young people 

 The flexibility of GlobalGiving and donors allowed us to use existing funding, responding to the pandemic. For example, supporting women, elderly, disability and young people was key priority through, targeting most impacted by the Crisis. The women we work with are now well placed to share accurate and rapid information about Covid-19 throughout their communities. For example, in the managed funding ensured that Covid-19 response activities were able to take place, including soap and mask distribution to communities and the provision of tap buckets and hand washing stations. Remote communities are being reached through existing relationships with local authorities and local women leaders are responsible for

community awareness raising, by sharing key messages via megaphone alongside the utilization of radio broadcast, mobile hotspots and social networks engagement on personal health and hygiene measures through training volunteers and frontline women staff from KEA which also provide psychosocial support and support to pregnant mothers.

The global restoration of ecosystems to their former glory is continuous ongoing key activity  to addressing those crises and to keep check of our consumption and production patterns. Restoration of eco-systems is also our single largest nature-based opportunity for climate change mitigation. The plantation of over 10,000 trees in 15 months coordinately match this year’s World Environment Day which is 5th June every year, The United Nations will formally launch the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Therefore together we would like to join the UN to make a global call for the protection and revival of ecosystems around the world, in recognition of the mutual benefit for nature and people which KEA had started on more than 15 years ago. The greening of more than six villages in Bbambula parish and beyond making it a green belt which has been named a Forest Village.

This has been possible through: Planting fruit and indigenous trees whereby we have planted more than 100,000 trees, Practicing Analog Forestry, Saving and conserving Natural Forest Patches also known as Half+Half 1000 Acre Community Forest, the same initiative also included  Live fencing, Tree garden saving,  Agro forestry Practices, Farm tree managed regeneration and woodlots making it more of the FOREST VILLAGE which is most likely to be the first  Forest Village in Mityana district and in Uganda in general made by the local community at the grass root with minimal  external support. Other activities being implemented by KEA are Bee-Keeping, Community Rain Water Harvesting and Agroecology farming. KEA’s inception attracted the community to minimize charcoal burning, fire wood selling and local brew distillation which was the major economic activity in the area leading to wetland and land degradation and poverty. Uganda and beyond.KEA also want to Plant fruit and indigenous trees covering the entire district; Establish Eco-Agro-tourism Centre and a relaxation community garden which will be contributing to community based tourism attracting tourists hence contributing to the development of Agi-tourism industry in Uganda which is still less developed. Other activities will include soil management and conservation and bio-fertilizer &Natural pesticide production; Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation and & Food processing through Agro-ecological and Regenerative Agricultural Techniques and Nature conservation.

 

 “We’re also committed to continuing our fight against environmental degradation leading to  hunger, so we're keeping our programmes running through this new crisis. Even with travel restrictions and lockdowns, we’re in some of the hardest to reach places ensuring children and their families receive the vital care they need. 

“According to the United Nations, the number of people globally suffering from acute food shortages could nearly double in the next year due to Covid-19 and its economic impact. In Uganda , food insecurity could double in just the next three months.”

Getting money to families for basic necessities

We are receiving very desperate calls from the women artisans from marginalised communities in rural areas. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic they have been hard hit economically - many of them being the sole bread earners for their families as the most vulnerable women reside in hilly stone land scape , farming and  sending food to them, especially in wake of the coronavirus pandemic, is a huge challenge in itself it is our top priority to keep a flow of money to them so that they can buy basic commodities for themselves  as no family should be left behind. We aim to sustainably send more support till life gets normal for everyone , Motivation’s teams Since then we’ve focused on virtual outreach, completely adapting the way we work with disabled people. We’re reducing their sense of isolation and sharing disability-specific guidance on Covid-19, including how to maintain hygiene. We are connecting with partners to provide health supplies, like continence pads. We’re also advising others on how to ensure their humanitarian responses are inclusive for disabled people and their families."

Violence  and  Abuse among children

Since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in March of 2020. The virus has had both short-term and far-reaching implications for our families, friends and colleagues. It also has an impact on our work, and has continued affect the achievement of our shared vision of a world without violence against children. As the virus continues to spread across the world, we are all facing multiple new stresses, including physical and psychological health risks, school and business closures, family confinement, isolation and economic  vulnerability, school dropout, early child pregnancy at year 12, child labor in stone quarrel, markets , Through all of that, children are particularly vulnerable. As we continue to navigate this rapidly evolving situation, it is essential to stay informed on the latest news, updates and resources about the virus and its effect on children. As a global partnership, we need to share the latest evidence, data and information to protect children from COVID-19 and the related risk of violence.

 

 

There is need to build consensus and advocacy capacity on solutions to environmental challenges, violence based actions, hunger, school drop, sharing methodology  and strengthening alliances with women, women groups and policy makers and  briefly to share Kikandwa Local Government plan in the Gender sector specifically on women and women groups with KEA so that together we can forge a way forward how KEA can work together with GlobalGiving and its donors thanks to our partners.

 

Yours in solidality

C0-Founder and Director


Attachments:
Dec 21, 2020

Making sure rural communities won't be left behind

Making sure rural communities won't be left behind in the response to COVID-19-16th December 2020

Whenever crisis strikes, it is invariably the poor and the vulnerable who suffer most. In many cases, they are affected directly by crisis; in other cases, their lives are made harder by the economic consequences. Often it is both. We have seen this time and time again. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, we are obviously concerned about the impacts on the poor rural people we serve. It is not yet clear to what extent COVID-19 will spread to the rural communities and its effect, where more than three quarters of the poorest people live in rural areas, slums– but we already know that rural livelihoods are being deeply affected.

KEA has been on frontline to deeply taking steps so that rural women and men can continue to grow food and not fall into deeper poverty during this challenging time. And we call on our partners – especially governments, multilateral agencies, international financial institutions, the private sector, and civil society groups – to work with us for a coordinated global response. The effects that COVID-19 has on people fall into three general categories: economic effects, social effects, and the direct impact of the virus itself. The way these effects are translating into rural contexts needs particular consideration.

In rural communities, access to safe, clean water was often lacking. Rural people, like all people, need to be able to wash their hands to protect themselves from the virus. But without clean water, many could not afford-needed walk 3-5km. And small-scale farmers need to work according to the climate – they can’t or continue afford to stay inside. Nor can they afford to stop producing food – the food they grow is needed more than ever.

As another alarming effect, medicine and health care are less likely to be accessible to rural people who catch the virus. But with COVID-19, anyone who develops serious illness needs treatment within hours.

Restrictions on trade and movement are already making it difficult for small-scale farmers to access markets, both to obtain essential inputs such as seeds and to sell final products. In some places, the lack of availability of seasonal labour  lees- production, especially for labour-intensive foods such as fruits and vegetables. In addition, the availability of non-farm work that many rural households rely on to diversify their incomes  shrinked, as are incomes from remittances.

The most marginal and poor groups suffered the most – among them, rural women and young people. School closures and the need to care for sick family members will increased the workloads of many women. Many women continued suffer unemployment rises, as their current work was more likely to be under informal and precarious working conditions. Similarly, young people, who have greater difficulty than older adults in finding decent jobs, are even more likely to become excluded and disenfranchised.

Protecting and enabling the most vulnerable in a time of crisis

Through GlobalGiving response fund we respond to the crisis, we were driven by the principles ensuring that  support is feasible, flexible and does no harm.  We are reached out to our communities members to ensure coordinated actions to protect the lives and livelihoods of rural people. We provided immediate needs such as foods, soap, seeds and seedlings and linking farmers to buyers at a time when movement restrictions were closed down to some local markets.

 

We cannot allow the COVID-19 crisis to undo years of good work in reducing rural poverty. At this challenging time, we are reminded of the importance of international cooperation and of the need for a strong global multilateral system – one that responds to the immediate impacts of the crisis while also protecting the needs of the most vulnerable groups. In our collective global COVID-19 response, we need to make sure no one – and no community – is left behind

 –Director KEA

 

COMMUNITY MEMBERS ATTENDING FARMER TRAINING DURING COVID 19 ON POST HARVERSTIN

 Impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on rural communities of Kikandwa- Uganda

The COVID-19 crisis affected mostly women and Children. When measures to prevent the spread of the disease, restricting the movement of  road and freight , farmers where no longer be able to buy and sell products at the market. The crisis increased illegal extraction of natural resources, for example charcoal burning takes advantage of reduced monitoring and law enforcement. Many had less alternative show that, in times of crisis, many people can’t survive-tend to rely on the environment themselves. The pandemic possessed  a threat to food security for those who are specialized in non-food commodity production, as alternative to  timber extraction   “Until we could mobilise  support end harvesting of timber limited cut down of trees”.

Markets, schools, bars, and churches as were closed, social gatherings are discouraged or prohibited, and the transportation of goods and people  restricted. As yet, little is known about how these measures play out in remote rural locations, and how poor people are coping. As the organization, we therefore decided hold meetings, home visits ask members about the impacts of the measures on incomes, food security, and the way the lands and forests as being used.

Income earning opportunities

Clearly all members agreed, the pandemic taking a big toll on family incomes access to market was very difficult, and people were afraid to go out in public. As a consequence, farmers could no longer sell their produce or find themselves selling for very low prices. Moreover, bigger farms could  no longer hire labourers, because working in large groups was  prohibited. With the closing of businesses, offices, and schools, other income opportunities  decreased too.

“Our products, like coffe, beans, banana, and vegetables, are rotting due to a lack of customers. Life is getting more and more difficult”

“Market women from cities and towns do no longer come regularly to buy harvested produce. This has led to the perishing of some of our crops”

“I used to supplement my farm income by sewing school uniforms, but currently there are no customers, as the schools have been closed”

“The offtake of my products has been reduced, since buyers are scared of possible infection. Demand for the honey I produce has decreased”

Costs of transportation and household needs

Many  stressed that the crisis has caused transportation costs to rise. Very few people had  their own means of transport, so they depend on public transportation. Due to the pandemic, buses and motorcycle taxis were not fully operating, or take fewer passengers and charge higher prices. This affects people in numerous ways making lesser  profit.

“Food prices raised since the, because of the increase in transportation fares. Some foodstuffs become scarce because farmers are not able to go to markets .

Food availability

Overall, the availability of food has been affected, mostly because food products in stores have become more expensive while incomes have decreased, Also, some farmers are less willing to sell their foodstuffs, keeping it for their own consumption. It is getting increasingly difficult for villagers to sustain their households, as illustrated by the quotes below.

“We don't eat what we want, but what we find. There is no diversity of food”

“Food prices are high. People just buy the little food they can afford”

“The prices of food are rising every day, we are in trouble to feed ourselves and our families”

Agricultural production

We continued to encourage farmers prioritize agricultural production , because fewer people could go now working due to lockdown. Since many lived in rural areas families stayed together work in their  fields due to social distancing regulations and fear of contracting the disease. As a result, farmers many families worked open upland, which is expected food  future harvests. Further, COVID-19 has increased the frequency of farm visits by extension officers who provide technical support to farmers.

Pressure on the environment

The COVID-19 pandemic does not only have social and economic consequences in remote rural villages, but it may also take a toll on the ecosystems on which these communities depend. mention that the crisis forces community members to rely on extractive activities, like the production of charcoal, because there as viable alternatives to make a living. “There massive environmental degradation including clearance of trees for charcoal burning, reduced.”

“Due to the lack of income, my families focused on food growth and tree planting. We trained them on sustainable tree management practices polading and coppicing  cut available trees branches, so that we can earn a little money, and continue affording the basic necessities”

The importance of local food production

The COVID-19 pandemic shows the importance of local food production to cover community basic needs in times of crisis. Most of the community members we spoke to indicated that, with the increasing prices of food in stores and their decreasing incomes, local food production was their safety net. Although the interviews made clear that the effects of the crisis are widespread, now appreciate agriculture more,” he said. “And I believe my children now also have a better understanding of the importance of food cultivation.

MAIZE FIELD READY TO HARVERST DURING COVID 19. AND SWEETPOTATOES

 

As a consequence, the people in these communities have come to rely on their own food production. Many have turned their attention to backyard gardening to maintain food supplies for their families. But there are also farmers who do not grow their own food. For them, switching to the cultivation of food crops takes time, resulting in immediate food insecurity.  farmers set up programmes through which they can exchange their non-food products for basic food items, such as rice.

Supporting backyard food production and collection of forest foods. Was seen it as a new goal for sustainable living—not only during, but also after the pandemic. The current crisis has increased  awareness of the importance of diverse livelihood portfolios and local food production, to increase people’s resilience, i.e., their ability to deal with shocks and stresses. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance and urgency of building resilience more than ever. 

Hygiene

The projects include the distribution of food and hygiene kits and personal protective equipment (masks etc.), as well as awareness-raising programmes on hygiene and the prevention of COVID-19 infection. The programmes also include the distribution of clothes so that they can cope with the cold temperatures

 

Education

 KEA also ensured that children in rural communities can continue their studies through distance learning programmes. Eighty -five percent of children never had access to the Internet. “We wanted to give the most vulnerable children a continuous learning to ensure that their to education rights are respected: the right to be protected, the right to have access to food and water, the right to shelter.

The COVID-19 pandemic showed us how interconnected and fragile we are. The fight against the spread of this virus was our collective responsibility this demonstrated our unconditional universal love, meet the needs of the most vulnerable and bring consolation which can break desolation and create hope when everything is dark.

 

 Food

We ensured people did not go hungry by providing food so they stay strong enough fight the virus.  82% of venerable families eating a meal at the charity makes them feel part of the community, Fare Share food has improved the diet.

Awareness

We empowered people with information to protect themselves. We did this by visiting areas where families had no access to correct information to protect them.

With your help, we can feed families through GlobalGiving this Christmas. Withyour help we can put a meal on the table of thousands of families. Because no one should go hungry this Christmas. Please donate now. Thank you.https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/community-innovation-resource-centre/?


Attachments:
Aug 4, 2020

KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE IN UGANDA COVID-19 RESPONSE

KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE IN UGANDA’S COVID-19 RESPONSE

Background

Kikandwa Enviromental Association (KEA)-Uganda is community based grass root organization ensuring rights of children are at frontline. We are very grateful to all the sponsors and donors who play such a vital role in our work of reaching out to vulnerable children and communities. We are local non–profit organization which is playing a role alongside the Government and other development agencies in addressing issues related to girl child, poverty, primarily through supporting and connecting children to local and international foster families in promoting access to education. KEA offices are found in  Kikandwa trading center , Mityana district, and works in Mityana, Mubende and Kampala districts, and partners with local based advocacy organizations to mentor their community members.

 

Introduction

Around 90% of the world’s schoolchildren were confined to their homes from march 18th 2020, and if history is any indication, many girls and boys won’t return to school once lockdowns are lifted.As a result, the corona virus pandemic could threaten decades of progress for gender equality and girls' education, Director -experts say.They point to past experiences, such as school closures during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, which led to girls and boys remaining out of school in Uganda, Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.Likewise, it can be a “real struggle” to reenroll children in school after schools reopen.

 

Alongside over half the world’s population, Uganda is currently in a lockdown due to the Covid–19 pandemic. In Uganda, this has meant a closure of schools and non–essential businesses (including churches) for 6 months, a sealing of all the borders, a complete ban of private cars and a night–time curfew for 6 months, and a ban of meetings of more than 5 people. The first of these measures were introduced on 20th March, before there was even a registered case in Uganda. As of 6th April, there were 52 registered cases currently 1137 cases 5 deaths and 982 recoveries, all in quarantine situations related to a total ban of all travel and a related screening of all in–coming passengers. This has meant that all children are currently in their homes in their communities, with the hope that efforts at social distancing and increased hygiene such as hand–washing which are being promoted will curb the spread of the disease. The Ugandan health system in Uganda lacks a lot of resources and there is great fear that any kind of serious outbreak of critical cases will be devastating.

 

 The economic situation is very challenging right now, as with so many people in informal employment or running their own business, many people are unable to earn income during the present lockdown, and so there are Government efforts to provide food relief, though fears are that this will be insufficient to meet the demands of an already very poor population, especially in urban centers.

 

Thankfully many of the support supported poorest venerable children in rural communities. We are thankful to God for His protection and provision so far, and pray that He would look after all those connected to KEA during this challenging time

What’s driving this (KEA-patron speaks)Following a crisis, girls’ education is one of the first areas to suffer, in large part because of the rise in poverty, explained , Patron of KEA , an organization focused on educating and empowering women in Uganda. For many households, lockdowns have seen incomes and savings disappear, meaning they will simply not be able to food and pay school fees — and where they can, boys may be prioritized.

Early marriages have increased among vulnerable families because of the “bride price” the receive could help support the rest of the household, she added. In most cases, that means taking girls out of the education system permanently.

Since the beginning of the lockdown, there have been an “alarming number of stories” of boys to work on stone quarrel  and  girls being sent early to their marital homes and “straight into domestic servitude and sexual abuse as well as early pregnancy, which is already one of the top causes for girls dropping out of school in Uganda. That’s because in recent months, “the health sector has naturally prioritized the COVID-19 response, cutting all but little access to sexual and reproductive health services aimed at young people. Gender-based violence can also affect a girl's access to education in the immediate and long-term.  information collected by staff  indicates “there has been an increase of 20% of sexual violence against girls and women” in comparison to the same period last year, and their national reports also point to an increase of at least 25% in teen pregnancies in Uganda. Across all regions, gender norms mean that girls have also been burdened with additional care giving and domestic duties. In times of economic hardship, it can be especially difficult to  reverse this.

The time to act is now  ACADEMIC FACILITATOR “Parents  are working hard to raise awareness about the importance of girls returning to school, but restrictions on movement and limited access to technology are just two of the challenges they face” “By trying to mitigate the risk of families falling into extreme poverty ... we hope to help mitigate the risk of those families keeping their children, especially their girls, out of school once they reopen.”

The breakup of corona virus disease which is a global pandemic in 2019 from Wuhan in china eventually led to the lockdown of the world. Uganda closed schools on 18th/march/2020 and finally the country was taken into the lockdown. Since then education has been not resumed.

This led to the government devise means on how pupils and student would continue with school like long distance learning through use of media and direct provision of scholastic materials which has helped pupils and students to a little extent access continued knowledge.

Twenty nine (29) families from the vulnerable homes living in the same vicinity have been involved in the program considering the guidelines from the health sector. This was supplemented by the on line teaching by government and provision of packages for the pupils though at a cost.

Background

Many families are likely to become sick and incapacitated, leaving children to leave for themselves. It is now harder than ever for children to report and get a response to violence, abuse and other protection issues. Children are afraid and have few places to turn. Restrictions on public gatherings and movement mean that normal community reporting, NGO activities and referral pathways are limited. Police have been redeployed to enforce the curfew and Covid-19 prevention measures. In many areas, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the Family and Children’s Court have not been functioning, delaying access to justice and arraignment of suspects in court. For example, increased number of defiling children is reportedly and men are released on bail back into the community after 48 hours. Restrictions on movement mean that some vulnerable children are unable to access critical services. Under current rules, boda-boda (motorcycles) where not allowed to carry passengers and private vehicles

While such restrictions are necessary to contain the virus, there have been reports of cases where children have died as they were unable to reach medical treatment. In Mityana district 2 children died in one night from malaria as they could not reach health clinics. Similar child deaths have been reported in other districts, while several pregnant women have died when they were unable to get transport approval permit from Residential District Commissioners. The Government has taken steps to ease these restrictions for pregnant women, but this is not always followed. On 8th May, a pregnant woman being taken to hospital by motorcycle was shot dead by a Local Defence Unit member. There continue to be challenges getting treatment for sick children, especially in rural areas.

  2. POVERTY AND HUNGER

 Many households are being pushed into extreme poverty and hunger. Parents who have lost income are increasingly unable to feed their families. Assessments by partner show that many children are now surviving on just one meal a day. Many children are engaged in small-scale trades such as food vendors, after schools were closed. At the same time the price of basic food has risen from $1-$3. These economic impacts will continue to be felt for a long time even after prevention measures are eased. “This Covid-19 period has made us handicapped. Families can longer able to provide even basic needs like food. This has sparked big misunderstandings and domestic violence.”

As a result, children are increasingly forced into hazardous and exploitative work to support their families. An increase in sexual violence against children since the lockdown started, girls drawn into commercial sexual exploitation, trading sex for money, food and even materials such as sanitary towels. Other young children have been observed selling alcohol, firewood and other items, 9 hour digging and planting for rich to try and make ends meet.

Child marriage is also an increasing concern as a way of coping with financial hardship. Adolescent girls are being married in exchange for dowry or bride price – especially in the rural areas where rates of child marriage are already extremely high. 2,300 school girls conceive , 128 married off during lock down.(monitor Monday July 27 2020 page 11 www.monitor.co.ug))

 At the same time, adolescents are struggling to access sexual and reproductive health information, which they would normally get at school. Restrictions on movement also affect access to services such as family planning, especially in rural areas. This is likely to lead to an increase in the birth of unwanted children and consequently abandonment, unsafe abortions, street children and violence against children. “the nearest health centre are 3- 15kms away and the only way to get there is by motorcycle which are  not allowed. The only solution praying to God I not get pregnant.” (Revelation 22:8-9, Acts 10:25-26 )

 Through GlobalGiving project we have raised funds to support families with  food due to lack of income, many venerable- poorest families were left  them at risk of malnutrition.  Banks are taking on chance to increasingly turning exploit families borrowing money to try and meet children’s needs. However, to do so families are as guarantee their land, house property to the bank  lenders. “Adolescent boys have resorted to breaking into houses to steal food for survival, and girls are at risk of being defiled.”

 

3. AN INCREASE IN VIOLENCE AND ABUSE

The uncertainty and prolonged periods confined to small homes is leading to an increasingly stressful environment. This is exposing children, especially girls, to increased risk of domestic abuse. One assessment during lockdown estimates that 80% of parents have used violence to restrain children from straying too far from the home, including spanking and slapping.  Children are also witnessing more arguments and fighting amongst parents, which can have enormous psychological impacts on the children. The Uganda Police Force have reportedly registered more than 20,000 cases of domestic violence in the early weeks of the lockdown. There has been an increase in sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), increase in acts of sexual violence against children by peers, caregivers and community members The situation is also having negative impacts on children’s mental health and wellbeing. According to 27 children have run away from homes of caregivers, a 13 year old girl rope hanging her self, a 9 year boy held a knife stumbled his fellow brother to death.   22%  children have becoming depressed during the Covid19 outbreakx .

This impact will potentially last long after the lockdown ends. An increase in substance abuse among adolescents turning to alcohol and drugs to try and cope in this stressful time. There is expected to be a rise in teenage pregnancy. A UN study of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone found that teenage pregnancy increased by 65% due to the socio-economic conditions,  a trend that seems likely be replicated during Covid-19. 40% of caregivers said they expect an increase in teenage pregnancy during lockdown

 Ensuring Safety During Lock down

During times of crisis, marginalized families, including women, girls and boys tend to miss out on accurate information, so addressing this is key. Regular communication with families  helped identify those who might be struggling with food or school supplies, which could deter them from sending their girls back to school due to COVID-19 pandemic that pushed a growing number of girls to marriage.  KEA developed new strategies to reach the 10 out-of-school students who rely on the agency's daily lunches. We also been working to ensure that vulnerable families' basic nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation needs are met, and is calling on the government to expand meal schemes to accommodate children who have moved to villages with their families since the lockdown. 

Families receiving relief food during country lock down

 

 By trying to mitigate the risk of families falling into extreme poverty, we mitigated the risk of those families keeping their children, especially the girls, out of school once they reopen, with the funding we worked to provide girls with the resources they need for their studies during school closures. In some cases, this means delivering materials to households like news papers which can’t access educational programming delivered online or by television or radio.New methods of distance education require access to and knowledge of digital media, which is not always equal between boys and girls. And while there is no Wi-Fi-data available yet, reports indicate that girls are experiencing increased online violence through these very tools, which can further alienate them from education.

Skill development

Not only basic education, they were also being taught drawing and other life skills. The idea was to make them learn some skills such as painting, bracket making,  so that they could make their own living in the future, he said. School closures and free school meals School closures mean that children can no longer receive Free School Meals, which are worth around $400 per year per child. Although the Government’s proposed roll-out of relief food scheme for those who rely on free school meals is welcome, it will be crucial for Government in the coming days to clarify the mechanism through which this will be implemented. The Government should ensure Free School Meal are easily attainable, without a significant time lag, and valid for exchange in a range of accessible shops or food outlets. These should be available to all school children, regardless of their family’s immigration status. Families with children not receiving Free School Meals are also likely to struggle with the cost of food, especially given predicted losses of income during the COVID-19 outbreak and overall increase in cost of living as children are at home. However, supermarket shortages and panic buying during the COVID-19 outbreak have put additional pressures on food banks. Precautions around social distancing will also mean reduced staffing and access to food banks. As such, many families will desperately need alternative means to make ends meet. A temporary uplift in Child Benefit Payments for all parents of $10 per child per week would help these families during this period of financial uncertainty.

4. A LACK OF INFORMATION FOR CHILDREN

 Classes

“Initially, we focused on providing food and nutrition to gain their confidence and improve their health condition. After a few days, we motivated them to join coaching classes, which are being held following the social distancing norms and other COVID protocols. Some children joined them have any form of education, not all they were in a position to read and write a bit.

 

Children are scared and struggling to access the information they need. There is a lot of information being sent to the public, through radios, Television, News papers, Social media yet is published in English, but most of it is not age appropriate and understandable, especially for younger children; and children do not have many opportunities to ask questions and receive assurance. Children with special needs and disabilities are often left out. Many of the most vulnerable children cannot access much of the information that is out there. For example, just 2.6% of rural households have internet access and even radio is limited in some rural areas and. The prevalence of online information exposes children to other new risks. For those children who can access the internet, many are spending more time than ever before at home on parents laptops and phones full of phonographic. This has led to increased risk of online child sexual exploitation – something that most Ugandan children are ill-informed about. Around the world, there are reports of online tutorials being hacked, children being unknowingly recorded online and heightened risk of grooming during the outbreak.

 

Results of the program.

The aid you provided enabled us to run the program though much help is welcomed as a facilitation to buy packages, subscribe to online teaching and facilitate their teacher  to fully accomplish the duty.

Pupils have been kept awake and improved on their academic knowledge which has enabled them to keep ready for the finals for the candidates and continuing pupils.

These have also been taught descent social ways of living in the community.

Individual capacities have been improved upon these pupils as individual attention is given to each.

Talents have been identified at individual level like leadership and others among these little ones which require more attention and facilitation to build them for the good of the community.

Challenges encountered.

Shortage of financial muscle has limited us from accessing better facilities for the best of the pupils.

My daily traveling from the area of residence is a challenge as after easing of the lockdown, the transport prices were more than doubled as few passengers are allowed in a taxi.

Due to the shortage of money of parents to provide basic needs, some pupils have been affected which make them unable to attend classes in time.

Future Plan.

Due to the continuation of the lock down, I fully look forward to continuing with provision of the academic knowledge to my pupils until they normally resume their studies.

RECOMMENDATIONS

“After such an emergency, governments and NGOs should be working closely together to ensure that all children get back into school, are fed, safe and happy,” she said.

  • The impact of Covid-19 on children’s lives will be felt for a long time to come, even if the virus is able to be contained. It is therefore essential that investment in child education is an integral part of Covid-19 prevention and response – both immediately and long-term – and is mainstreamed into other sector plans.
  • Ensure Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials on Covid-19 are accessible to all children and youth. These should be translated into local languages, gender-sensitive and suitable for children with disabilities such as sight or hearing challenges. Messages should also be targeted and contextualized for adolescents, including on the risk of early marriage and information on family planning.
  • Learning from previous epidemics highlights that it is vital to consult and engage with children to understand how their lives have been affected and how risk mitigation can be most effective. The Government and community based organization  should consider holding a press conference or radio talk shows specifically for children,
  • community sensitization must be carried out before these schools reopen, to avoid any stigma that may delay return to school. In recognition of the likely rise in adolescent pregnancies, the Government should formally circulate a Re-Entry policy to guarantee that child mothers and pregnant girls are allowed into class.
  • Ensure strong coordination of sectors. For example, education and child protection systems need to work hand in hand so that children identified by teachers for being potentially at risk during school closure are referred to the child protection system.

Recommendations to international donors: 

  • Ensure adequate funding – which is flexible and adaptable to changes in context  for child protection activities and staff such as case workers, para-social workers, community protection officers and These essential workers can carry out case management and monitoring of vulnerable households, as well as play a role in disseminating IEC materials.
  • They are also critical for ensuring reporting and accountability to affected communities.
  • Funding should urgently be provided for additional increase campaigns, accurate and age-appropriate information is key to prevention.
  • Campaigns should include child-friendly inclusive messaging distributed through creative ways such as music, drama and illustrations, as well as child-focused local radio and TV productions.
  • Provide funding to the grassroot organization and its partners, so that food can be given to poorest families in this critical time.
  • Disseminate child-friendly information. The media is playing a key role in disseminating public health information. We urge newspapers, radio, TV and online outlets to also ensure space for information targeting children – including ways to keep learning and active at home, ways to manage stress, and how to stay safe and report abuse. 
  • Ensure that children’s voices and opinions are represented in the news. Despite the current challenges, it is important that children have platforms to raise their voices, questions and opinions on the current situation. News shows and discussions should feature children and youth voices as well as adults.
  • Recommendations to communities, parents and caregivers:  Ensure that all cases of violence, abuse or exploitation of children are reported, either through traditional community structures or local law enforcement, to systems such as Child Protection Committees, or to the National Child Helpline. 
  • Promote and support non-violent positive parenting methods. Children are going through an extremely stressful time, and need love, support and guidance.
  • Parents should sit children down, talk with them and explain the situation, rather than resort to violence.
  • In Uganda, loudspeaker announcements are being used in some communities to spread the message, but it doesn’t allow for a two-way discussion so it’s problematic. Community meetings would normally involve everyone who plays a part in a girls’ education, from local and religious leaders to parents and guardians, she explained.

Conclusion.

The continuous effort of sharpening the pupils is the beginning of a positive changing society for a great community development. This is achieved by combining efforts to lay strategies on how to implement for the betterment. Therefore more effort is needed to support the program and where need be to even reach other vulnerable pupils in vulnerable communities.

 

FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY


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