The COVID-19 pandemic has persisted for almost a year and half and it’s negative impact has continued to affect vulnerable communities alike. As urban slum communities struggle with a shredded economy, loss of jobs and domestic violence among other challenges, lack of food remains one of the aggressive issues faced by underprivileged households in Kampala slums. Urban slums are squalid and overcrowded communities that inhabit poor people who suffer lack of access to clean water and sanitation facilities, inadequate living spaces with poor structural quality of housing. The cheap state of slum communities attract people of low earning or no employment since housing and other conditions are affordable. With the COVID19 negative impacts on the economy and stringent measures in place by the government to curb the spread of the virus, many slum dwellers have lost their jobs or their sources of income are no longer productive.
As the government and other development stakeholders continue to strategize on how they can support vulnerable communities, continuous food supply and sanitary aid is required. The Ugandan government and other stakeholders such as civil society organizations, private sector and religious institutions have provided relief packages for vulnerable communities. However, these endeavors especially from the government have received a lot of criticism from the beneficiaries who indicate that low quality food is supplied and other intended beneficiaries miss out on the relief aid. Even considering recent cash transfers from the government, only about 10% of the intended beneficiaries received leaving many people in despair. Supporting vulnerable communities therefore requires consolidated efforts from all key stakeholders who are capacitated to give, no matter how small; it can make a remarkable difference in someone’s life.
JFCU is committed to continuously ensure that children's rights and welfare are preserved. This is why we have stayed in touch with our community beneficiaries through our programs even in these tough times of the Covid19 pandemic. Some of our beneficiaries are in hard to reach places but our teams in different communities across the country are working tirelessly to ensure children receive the support the JFCU can offer.
On 13th August 2021, the heavy downpour did not stop us! We visited and supported 20 families in Mulago Katale and Mulimira zones slum communities in Kampala district. This was spear headed by our tireless staff, Charlotte Kusemererwa and Sandra Karungi.
Joy for Children Uganda appreciates the financial support from GlobalGiving to support the children affected the COVID19 pandemic and the current lockdown. The homes of families were identified by group leaders in the communities. Most of the households are headed by single mothers, elderly widows and the sickly. The package given to each family of consisted of 10 kilo grams of maize flour,3 kilo grams of sugar,1 bar of soap,1 liter of cooking oil,5kilo grams of beans and a packet of salt.
Families consume one meal a day that is taken between 4pm to 6pm. This is done to allow the meal to take them throughout the night and day until the next meal. The most consumed food is maize flour commonly termed as posho, which is served with beans. This meal is mostly preferred because it provides high amounts of carbohydrates that give them a good amount of energy. This type of meal does not contain enough protein, vitamins and fat for the proper development of the children hence increasing the risks of malnutrition in the near future. However, the food products are available in their immediate communities and are a bit affordable hence most preferred. In severe cases, some families mentioned that they do not afford the beans for days and hence eat the posho with tomatoes.
Moreover this meal of posho and bean soup (1kg of maize flour (@2,500shs); ¼ kg of beans (@1,000shs) and charcoal to cook is (@1,000shs) 4,500sh about 1.1 dollars but is still hard for the families to afford. This is an indication that if the dietary quality is not improved in these communities, children may suffer health complications as a result if malnutrition.
While we are working together with communities in order to keep a healthy population we have in our strategic plans to provide communities with skilling and financial aid to facilitate production and business transitions in their immediate communities. With economic activities revamped, families will have a source of income to sustain them. And for this to be implemented effectively, urgent issues such as access to medical care services, food and sanitary products should be availed concurrently to those already affected.
Joy for Children Uganda on behalf of the communities sincerely appreciates donations from kind hearted individuals and organizations for their generosity, kindness and support rendered to the people in Uganda. May the God Lord richly bless you.