Aug 18, 2021

Flash Floods

River Nyamwamba in Kasese District has yet again burst its banks, this happened on the night of   the night of 13th August 2021.This possess a threat to the families that are in close proximity to the river. On May 2020, The Floods swept away part of Kilembe hospital which would serve more than 20,000 residents.

The displaced persons were relocated on Government land. The affected families were already leaving in abject poverty in temporary houses made of mud making it easy for them to be washed away by the strong rains and winds.

The Flash floods that happened in May 2020, displaced over 100,000 people, At least 1,200 people were left homeless and 18 dead, following this outbreak hundreds of people were displaced and in December 2020, the office of the Prime Minister and Kasese local government temporarily relocated 289 households on Muhokya Government Land.

The displaced persons are living in extremely unpleasant conditions, shortages in food and medical supplies, unsanitary conditions and make -shift house which makes it easier for water to enter whenever it rains.

With Funding from GlobalGiving, on 6th May 2020, Joy for Children-Uganda was able to support vulnerable families currently residing in the camp. We were able to deliver food aid (maize flour, beans, soap, cassava flour and cooking oil.)

In addition to the food aid, we are yet again planning another outreach on the 3rd to 5th to support 50 households in the camp; we plan to give out, beddings, soap, and cash, clothing and medical supplies. We call upon kind hearted people to donate and support the good cause.

Aug 12, 2021

Menstrual Health and Covid-19

The covid-19 pandemic has affected us in ways we could not imagine, but at the same time it has provided timely exposure about the persistent gaps between action and on-ground realities.

 “Periods don’t stop for pandemics”, so they say. When the government of Uganda first registered the first case of corona virus infection in March 2020, Government put prevention measures to curb the spread of the virus among them was the temporary closure of schools. Schools play a central role in providing safe spaces for Girls and passing on knowledge about menstrual hygiene management to young Girls, on and off lockdowns have increased the inaccessibility.

Schools are also information centers where relevant information about puberty, sexual reproductive and health rights is conveyed, temporary closure of schools implies that a large number of students have  missed out on vital information about menstrual Hygiene Management.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund estimates that 53% and almost a quarter of the World’s countries have partially opened Schools,196 million students in 27 countries (13% globally) have schools that were fully closed as of February  02/2021,the latest data regarding closure of Schools.

It is not only adolescent Girls, who have been negatively impacted by the covid-19 pandemic but Women as well, the lack of information about menstrual hygiene management coupled with inadequate funds to purchase sanitary products. During Lockdown with travel restrictions and physical distancing measures in place, our partners and Individuals working on menstrual management had to pause normal operations.  Before the pandemic and issuance of  lockdown restrictions, we were reaching out to Schools training teachers and students on making re-usable sanitary towels, distributing menstrual products and creating awareness about the importance of menstrual hygiene management.

Adolescent Girls from the slum communities have also been challenged by the inaccessibility to clean and safe “areas of convenience” during Menstruation since there is community sharing of facilities. Water is also not readily available and hand washing points are few if not any in some of the communities.

As Joy for Children-Uganda, we have made progress on recognizing the need for Menstrual Hygiene Management challenges. Over the past months we have made recommendations to the Government of Uganda to effectively manage access to menstrual products, increase awareness and skills on the making of re-usable sanitary pads, community outreaches and ensuring Water, Sanitation and Hygiene(WASH) facilities that are clean in isolation centers.

Menstrual Hygiene Management must be pivotal for our recovery plans, having a healthy period is not only a fundamental right but also promotes Gender equality and increases women’s participation in decision making.

Aug 9, 2021

Covid-19 and Children in the slums.

As the second wave of the corona virus infections continue to raise in Uganda with 92,490 and 2,557 Deaths (Ministry of Health), Government  put in place measures to curb the rapid spread of the deadly virus. The measures have had an influence on both the young and the old but Children living in the slums have been affected the most.

In the slums of Kampala, the country’s capital city, Misery and pain are evident. Households are constantly suffering from hunger due to the loss of jobs and immobility. Children have also been obligated to sell merchandise on the streets to support their household incomes and retire home in the evening.

“The days are tough, many of us are not happy because we do not have what to eat. When we get food from well wishers, we eat one meal a day, so that food can take us for many days”, said a 16 year old Girl in Bwaise, Kampala.

The above narration tells a story of how the hunger situation is dreadful; it not only shows how these Children lack access to food but also intimates their susceptibility to diseases and malnutrition.

Growing up in the slums is already an unfortunate experience, but greater despair comes with the hardships caused the covid-19 pandemic. The communities are characterized by filthy structures, typically lack safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and there is usually shortage of space inside the houses where the Children live. On a normal day, some of the Children in the slums are involved in several activities to supplement on their household incomes for insistence finding metal scraps on the streets to sell to auto mechanics. Unfortunately for these Children, their daily activities have been halted by the Lockdown restrictions.

The pandemic has intensified the vulnerability of the Children in the communities, some of them lack face masks yet they interact with other Children who are as vulnerable as they are. Others share masks or pick used masks on the road. This threatens their health and the people they live with.

Temporary school closures have also exposed young Girls to Child marriage; 17,000 teenage pregnancies have been registered in Northern Uganda (NTV-Uganda) during lockdown. There is a strong connection between Girls being out of school and them being forced into marriage. School is not only a place for learning but also provides a safe space from violence .As Children in urban schools resorted to e-learning; it was not a feasible option for most Children in the slums. A recent report by NBS, a local television station in Uganda revealed that Parents in Amudat district are selling off their daughters as young as 10 years into marriage to cope with the economic situation created by Lockdown.

Teenage Girls are also in need of sanitary towels as most of the households no longer afford to provide them for their Children.

Joy for Children-Uganda works with Women in the four slum of Kampala –Makerere Kivulu, Bwaise, Bukoto and Mulago. We reached out to some Households within the communities with relief items such as Maize flour, Beans, soap, sugar and cooking oil. This so little compared to the need that is evident in the communities. We are also working with parliamentarians to urge the Government develop policies and strategies to protect Girls from the escalating cases of Teenage Pregnancy and Child marriage during and after the Covid -19 pandemic. Community dialogues with religious and local government structures to enforce the already existing laws to protect Children from abuse.

The plights of the Children and women calls for a prompt response to provide relief and welfare items to them and if possible conduct covid-19 testing in the communities

 
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