Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of the Acholi Community in the diaspora have kicked off a drive to support families that were hit by restrictions imposed to contain coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Northern Uganda.
The drive which was flagged off on Saturday targets the districts of Gulu, Kitgum, Lamwo and Amuru. Each district will receive 250 kilograms of beans and 500 kilograms of maize flour for distribution to 50 most vulnerable persons identified during the first phase of food distribution. Priority will be given to child-headed families, people living with HIV/AIDS, vulnerable elderly and persons with disabilities.
Lucy Akello, the chairperson of Diaspora, Acholi in Uganda under the Acholi Leaders and Diaspora Development Initiative (ALDDI) says that the drive seeks to assist the extremely vulnerable families who are enduring the negative impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown measures.
Akello added that the COVID-19 context has increased risk factors that drive the regularity, intensity and frequency of violence against children and women while the quarantine and restriction measures are isolating women and children and increasing the risk of emotional, physical, mental and sexual violence in homes.
A survey undertaken by Patira Data Science operating in Acholi indicates that the deepening poverty caused by the loss of livelihood has compounded the situation further with increased deaths. The same report added that economic hardship is putting millions of children at risk of being pushed into child labour.
Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the Gulu district chairperson said that the assistance has come at the right time when the district is overwhelmed with demand for support. Similarly, Jane Naku, the Deputy Speaker of Amuru district welcomed the initiative but asked for more support.
John Bosco Okello Olum, the Amuru district Community Development Officer noted that the livelihoods of people have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also urged members of the community to constantly adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines.
Omony Lakwonyero, the Principal Secretary for Kitgum who received the donation also appealed for more support to the vulnerable people and need for transparency in its processes.
The drive by the diaspora team focuses on three flagship initiatives which include expanding emergency food support to the most vulnerable persons, expanding logistical and health support to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, Elegu and other health centres in the Acholi sub-region and expanding data collections to support the design of programs, research, policy and advocacy.