We had an on-going Menstrual Hygiene Management project funded by Amplify Change. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we requested permission from our donors to change some of the planned activities in light of the fact that the schools were under lockdown. Amplify Change gave us a no-additional-cost extension of 3 months to complete agreed-upon project work, some of which involved new activities to replace others that we were unable to implement during the lockdown. The new activities included research on the impact of COVID-19 on SRHR (Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights) among adolescents and women, Interpersonal Group Therapy to identify and address the needs of depressed women, distributing Maama Kits and Baby Receivers, and supporting expectant mothers with transport money to enable them to go to the hospital to deliver, and providing them with emergency food.
Data on the impact of COVID-19 on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and adolescents was conducted among 141 individuals in the local communities selected to participate in the Menstrual Health and Hygiene project. The participant demographics are shown in the following table
We were able to start data analysis of the audio files obtained during interviews, including translation and transcription of 141 recordings, all of which were coded for further analysis.
Twenty-one women were identified with depression. Of these, 7 were postnatal mothers, 10 were pregnant mothers and 4 were out-of-school adolescents. Five women were experiencing active suicide ideation and we provided suicide prevention counseling to them. Afterward, all of these women were organized in groups and provided with group therapy for depression.
We were able to donate 125 Emergency Kits and Baby Receivers to vulnerable expectant mothers from Mauta, Mutai, Nsozibiri, Namulesa, and Wansimba. Most of the beneficiaries were young mothers (78) and all had issues of their spouses / partners not supporting them. Some of their partners had run away due to Covid-19-related concerns.
CCUg staff gained skills in bar soap making. This skill is to be passed on to other community members that will be identified in subsequent research.
CCUg staff completed training in Interpersonal Group Therapy and gained skills and knowledge in conducting this type of intervention with adolescents, youths and mothers who are suffering with depression and anxiety.
Twenty-three individuals were trained in making reusable pads in the Bugodi community.
We were able to purchase emergency food through money available under the Amplify Change grant. Purchases included maize flour to make posho (250kg), millet flour for making porridge (100kgs) and milk sachets each for 15 grams (1200). This intervention was aimed at addressing food insecurity arising from the effects of COVID-19 among vulnerable groups of women who participated in the survey. These participants come from 20 villages in 11 sub-counties in and around Mayuge and Jinja, including Baitambogwe, Magamaga, Mafubira, Kagoma, Mayuge, Bukatube, Buwenge, Wairasa, Imanyiro, Kakira, and Butagaya.
We also donated emergency food to 50 vulnerable households, particularly those with pregnant and postnatal women and young mothers.
We experienced some difficulty in reaching some women leaders (Nabakyalas) during the delivery of Maama Kits. These women leaders were involved in helping us to identify the vulnerable women in their communities who couldn’t afford to purchase these kits themselves.
The number of pregnant mothers usually exceeded the number the number of Maama Kits and Baby Receivers available for distribution. This made the selection of those to be supported extremely difficult for our staff.
Covid-19 pandemic restrictions led to the closure of our offices, temporarily putting all our activities on hold. One of the projects concerning menstruation was stopped altogether due to the closure of schools.
Some of the women and girls who were trained in pad making had challenges with hand sewing which slowed down the training process.
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