Update on Uganda
Dear Supporters and Friends of REACH,
We wanted to provide another update on the situation in Uganda and how the REACH for Uganda is meeting the challenge of Covid19.
Uganda: With the onset of the pandemic, the Ugandan government declared a nationwide shelter in place, which banned all travel, meetings of more than 5 people, and closing of non-essential businesses. On May 18, the President of Uganda announced some restrictions would begin to lift. The 95 districts not connected to an international border were permitted to use private vehicles starting May 26. On June 4, public transportation will resume in these districts, and businesses (shops, hotels, and others) where social distancing can be practiced will open. Some schools will also open on June 4 with restrictions as identified later below. For the 40 districts with any kind of international border (including Bududa and Namisindwa), the restrictions remain until further notice. The total number of known virus cases in Uganda is 248, and almost all cases (except 9) were found in travelers returning by air or truck drivers coming into the country. The total population in Uganda is 42.72 million, so clearly Uganda’s immediate action has helped keep the total number of cases down.
REACH staff have independently started radio shows, which is accessed by the community. The President’s district representative was invited to speak about ways to stay safe, and he also spoke about the importance of safety for women and girls. The radio show has also addressed gender-based violence, and poverty. Community members have expressed their appreciation for the radio show.
Schools: REACH Uganda has taken a strong lead in ensuring students are still able to learn and have access to their teachers and mentors.
- Secondary school students were provided with a month’s worth of school work. With the lockdown extended, many schools are sending additional work to their students through their parents’ phones, and confirming receipt. If there is an issue with receiving the work, the schools are working to get the material to the students.
- REACH has made copies of the lessons provided by the government and delivered them either to student homes, or to the nearest pickup point.
- AJS provides class work and tests to upper primary students. Every two days, the students complete their work and it is picked up, then replaced with additional work.
- The University Coordinator has created a WhatsApp group for older students, so they can communicate with each other. Work is also shared in the app.
- The Coordinators for University, Girls’ Programming, and Secondary School Coordinator have made calls to parents to touch base with students and ensure they are safe. Calls increased since the shutdown has been extended.
Clinics: Our two clinics remain open. Health facilities and the entire country have been focused on curative rather than preventive measures, but is now prioritizing preventive measures by educating about hand washing and other practices to ensure safety.
Staff: REACH staff are still working and coordinating with students. Because student tuition is paid by parents via wire transfers, this ensures a steady flow of cash, which allows for almost all staff salaries to be made via wire transfers, so staff can be paid quickly and efficiently.
Letters: Letters for your students are due by May 31.
REACH Uganda has learned some valuable lessons during this time, and have seen this as an opportunity for the organization to strengthen policies and safeguard programs. In the coming weeks, we will be sharing REACH plans for when schools do reopen.
If you have any questions about your student, please call the office (703) 879-6034 and talk with Myriam or Courtney.
Thank you again for your continued concern and support and please stay safe,
President, Board of Directors