When we can't avoid meeting in person: masks on!
As we were preparing this update to you and we peeped at our previous one in March, once again we realized how much has changed since then. From no cases of Covid-19 in Uganda, schools being open, and washing hands just to be sure, to hundreds of cases (but fortunately, no deaths so far), schools being closed for the past 3.5 months, and wearing masks full time outside our homes. Although the lockdown in Uganda is being lifted step by step, we are not out of the woods just yet.
We spent almost 2 months working from our homes, missing our new office space at The Innovation Village. Fortunately, regulations were put in place and the building opened up again, so our work days no longer include power cuts, internet data limits and chicken sounds in the background - although the occasional ripe mango dropping on the office roof keeps us on our toes. Our team is well, we are careful & at a distance from each other, but we are glad to be in the same space again.
However, our work days are quite different from what we are used to. With schools still closed and children (and parents) slowly getting used to learning at home, we have made extra efforts to think of ways we can adjust to this situation as well. No matter where children learn, their learning needs will move with them, so we gladly offer our guidance where we can.
What that looks like on a daily basis? It includes staying in touch with our partner schools, institutions and organizations, holding radio talk shows on learning difficulties (with 7000+ listeners in Northern Uganda - find the recordings here: http://www.backupuganda.org/learning/), working together with other education partners in Gulu and at national level to strengthen each other’s emergency efforts, and designing new, innovative ways to connect with teachers and parents. Within the coming weeks, we will be launching something exciting that will even be helpful across borders, so keep a close eye on our social media pages.
So, are we bored yet? Quite the opposite! In fact, as of mid-June, our team has grown to 5 people, when Frostig trainees Joan and Gertrude finally managed to make their way to Gulu as soon as transport between districts was allowed again. While they are getting familiar with ‘everything Backup’, they are working hard to add their input to all the new steps we are taking.
With nearly every organization facing challenges in doing their ‘usual’ work and raising funds under these unpredictable circumstances, we are grateful that we have been able to maintain our busy team up to now. Partners like Frostig, private donors like you, and even the very platform you donate to us through have been making this possible. Last week, we were informed that we have been selected to receive a hardship grant from GlobalGiving that will help us continue paying our staff. With more people losing employment and income every day, we couldn’t be happier that we will not need to add to that anytime soon. A heartfelt thank you doesn’t begin to cover it!
If there is one lesson we are learning in the midst of all of this, it is that being flexible is our biggest strength. We hope you can continue to find the flexibility in yourself to handle whatever may be coming at you. None of us know what might happen next. That’s scary, uncomfortable, but also: full of opportunities.
Much love from Gulu,
The Backup Uganda Team
Welcome Joan & Gertrude!
Backup Uganda on air