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May 2020 19

GRG’s COVID-19 Adaptive Response

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While most of Uganda has been on government-ordered lockdown due to COVID-19, GRG has continued to work remotely to help support the former child soldiers, refugees, and communities that we work with.

Our team has worked to remotely support our beneficiaries with valuable information on COVID-19, as well as the recommended precautionary measures by the Ugandan Government and the World Health Organization (WHO), through the groups’ leadership structures.

The chairperson of one of our groups, Te Pwoyo, in Madi Opei, commented that ‘many of the group members miss out on information as they spend most of their time farming. The information GRG has given us, summarising the government directives, and encouraging group members on how best to adapt to these measures, has been invaluable.’ In particular, GRG’s advice on how to embrace household dialogue, as well as effective planting measures, to avoid domestic conflict and food insecurity after the lockdown period, has been ‘very helpful for group members.’

Although our beneficiaries are adjusting to the new work modalities, GRG anticipates overwhelming need for its psychosocial programmes once the lockdown is lifted. These programmes will need to tackle stigma and the mental health effects that will follow the likely loss of family members, food insecurity, and domestic violence that is currently on the rise, particularly in the Palabek refugee settlement.

So far, the lockdown measures have had a positive effect on COVID-19, with Uganda recording only 105 active cases by early May, and no deaths to date.

In the post-COVID-19 period, GRG hopes to support its beneficiaries to recover from the complex aftermath of the global pandemic, mainly through Psychosocial programmes. These will consist of trauma recovery, coping-mechanism, anti-stigmatisation workshops, as well as family and group counselling. Our hope is to accompany these programmes with Livelihoods initiatives.

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