Since the first positive case of COVID-19 was reported in Uganda (currently 1,500+ positive cases) the situation has been evolving at a rapid pace. On 30th March 2020, the President of Uganda declared a national lockdown to curb the further spread of the COVID-19.
With more cases being reported in neighbouring countries; Yumbe, Adjumani and Kotido are all at the borders with (South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo). This increased the workload for the COVID-19 response taskforce in the districts and burden on Women Peace Mediators operating in the district as they register more conflicts and face new challenges in seeking their resolution.
Women’s International Peace Centre also recognises that women and girls who are community volunteers, home-based caregivers and peacebuilders are making critical contributions to address the outbreak and in need of personal protection. Following the outbreak of COVID 19, The Peace Centre developed and implemented its contingency plan in response to COVID-19 in the three districts in the following ways;
1. The Peace Centre set up an initiative to support the COVID-19 response taskforce of Yumbe to effectively coordinate its activities aimed at prevention and management of COVID 19, The Peace Centre extended support to District taskforce of Yumbe, Adjumani and Kotido. This initiative contributed to cost of fuel for the Taskforce to support their ability to respond to COVID 19.
2. As part of an initiative planned to promote hygiene practices among the Women Peace Mediators in the host and refugee communities of Yumbe, The Peace Centre extended support to 160 Women Peace Mediators, including two women who were battered in Yumbe by the police. A total of 560 bars of white star washing soap, 448 packets of always sanitary pads, 202 pieces of masks were given to the women. This enabled the Women Peace Mediators to put into practice the recommended hand wash with water and soap as they continue to raise awareness on COVID 19 and document conflict incidences in their communities. One of the beneficiaries shared her delight in receiving the items.
“I am very happy for receiving these pads, I have daughters that need to use pads, I will sacrifice for them, these pads will help my daughters so much that they will not look out for men to provide for them since I have failed. From the beginning of the lockdown, partners have not provided school-going girls with pads which is now a challenge to us parents as we cannot afford to buy it.” Joyce Kiden from Zone 2
3. To track and assess conflict incidences and impact of conflict early warning, the women were supported with stationery for documenting and reporting on conflict situations in the community the women are working in.
During the distribution, The Peace Centre also shared information on COVID 19 to the women peace mediators. .The Peace Mediators and women leaders in the settlements are aware about coronavirus spread and its prevention measures and are sensitizing their communities on how to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 by setting up hand washing. The peace mediators both in the host and refugee communities were very happy and excited about the essential items they received from the peace centre as way to combat COVID-19 in their communities.