covid update:

We have just received the following update from UWCM:

On Friday 18th June President Museveni revised and updated all the directives he issued on 6th June 2021. This followed the bigger numbers of people dying and more COVID-19 cases registered.

1. All cross-boundary and inter-district movement suspended for 42 days. NO movement of public transport or even private vehicles across districts. Boda Bodas are not allowed to carry passengers but only cargo.

2. Curfew time in the next 42 days will be observed between 7.00 pm to 5.00 am.

He promised that the government will continue to explore all ways of fast tracking the acquisition of enough vaccines to vaccinate a critical mass of our population to ensure the country returns to normal operations.

On 17th June, Uganda received 175,200 doses of AstraZeneca and more were being expected. The President directed that these doses be prioritized to give a second dose to those who already have their first dose.

UGanda in 2nd lockdown: update from UWCM

On 7th June 2021, President Museveni of Uganda announced that the country was to undergo a second, 42-day lockdown.  We would like to share this update, received on 17th June, from Lornah Wamono on behalf of UWCM:

I wish to thank you for the concern, your prayers and encouragement as we face and go through the second wave of COVID-19 in Uganda.  Some staff members have not been well in the past two weeks due to cough and flu, which are some of the symptoms of coronavirus, but it is well and by God’s grace we are all safe and healing steadily.

The second wave has become so infectious and left people in a state of panic. Many are sick and dying in big numbers and it is sad to note.  In these past months, Uganda has lost a number of government officials and church leaders, our relatives, immediate family members and friends who have succumbed to COVID-19! The number of new cases is increasing daily and the Intensive Care Units (ICU) in hospitals are full to capacity. By yesterday, Uganda registered 64,521 new confirmed cases; deaths – 459; yet, some in the communities go unreported and many die in homes! Those vaccinated are about 777,805 (health workers, older persons, soldiers, teachers etc.). This is a small percentage, moreover, not even half way of the population! The demand for oxygen goes up. According to reports, one COVID-19 patient in ICU can consume 20-30 liters of oxygen per minute and this is a challenge. Most hospitals have run out of COVID-19 vaccines, however, the government is making efforts to secure additional doses (vaccines) to cover the targeted groups to have the 2nd dose, and then other groups will follow. However, there are conspiracy theories that the vaccine is toxic and is intended to kill Africans. God forbid.

People are discouraged from moving into and out of Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono (Greater Kampala) because this is where most of the cases are concentrated. Other places include districts in Northern Uganda and Eastern region, Mbale and Tororo inclusive. It is the reason the President banned cross-district travels.

UWCM‘s activities during this lockdown period will be carried out only in the district of Mbale until the President lifts the ban to work in all districts. There is generally inadequate or no food in homes because the first harvest has not yielded much food because of unpredictable weather.  Staff will provide families with psychosocial support eg food, medical and basic household items.  They will conduct home visits to check on the progress of children and families with health issues and will deliver sewing machines and tools to groups in that area.  They are also planning to deliver materials for shelter construction in 2 communities and to monitor the progress of these shelters.

Prayer points:

* Healing and deliverance from pain for sick people in our families and communities. All staff have one or more people that are sick in their homes and it impacts on service delivery

* Nations of the world to be delivered from COVID-19.

* Bereaved families because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Staff safety and wisdom to handle things.

We continue to thank you for every help given and God bless.

Lornah

HOME MONITORING VISITS

UWCM regularly visit homes of the most vulnerable and needy within their communities and this has been especially important during the Covid restrictions as many families have been struggling to find enough food and/or pay for medical fees. During these visits they are able to counsel and encourage the families and offer advice and guidance as well as pray with them, and give items such as nutritious porridge flour (instead of the cheaper porridge flour many families use which fills you up but lacks nutrition); sugar and soap. They also monitor progress of those for whom they paid medical fees eg a young girl called Christine who had a bad skin complaint which resulted in her not wanting to go outside of her house, was prescribed cream and was also given food to supplement her diet and UWCM were very pleased to see that this small intervention is already proving a success.

UWCM visited Sylvia, a lady who we met in January 2020, and who sadly had been very poorly with stomach upsets and pain but had not been able to afford to go to the doctors for any medication. UWCM gave her rice, sugar, silver fish, ground nut paste, salt, cooking oil and washing soap plus 5,000 Ugandan shillings (just over £1) and encouraged her to go for a medical check up and treatment. They have since re-visited Sylvia and her health has improved and she is grateful for our support which she said is a blessing to her.

news from LWANGOLI p&p

UWCM staff held a one-day meeting with the Centre Guides and church leaders from Lwangoli to remind them of their roles and responsibilities to the children who attend the Prayer & Porridge Club namely: to love and mentor the children; to get to know their parents/guardians in their homes; to help the children understand why good relationships are very important for them to grow in order to become good stewards of God’s love no matter what their denominations; to check and make sure the children receive their porridge and to remind the children and parents to contribute towards items, eg firewood. Our funding also allowed UWCM to pay school fees and distribute scholastic materials eg books, pens, pencils, rulers, rubbers, sharpeners, sets to a small number of Primary 7 candidates for which they and their parents were so grateful and gave thanks to God.

Microfinance training is CHANGING LIVES!

UWCM have been training and encouraging Womens’ Groups to set up microfinance schemes for many years and one of their newly formed groups called ‘Tunyi Glory’ have been so successful that the local district Chairman reported that there has been a reduction in Gender Based Violence in homes and in the community as a whole. Tunyi Glory has 38 members, most of whom are young mothers who are very hard working and developmental, and on a recent monitoring visit the staff of UWCM were very encouraged to see how successful they have been. Many husbands testified that life is now good because they no longer carry the responsibility of taking care of the family needs alone since their wives now make a contribution. The women are able to plan and save for their children’s school fees plus buy food and essential items without continually having to ask their husbands for money. The group are very grateful to UWCM for their training and support and have asked for further training on how to make bio gas, record management, parenting skills and marriage issues.

RAINWATER HARVESTING TANKS

Another 15 x 1,000L water tanks were purchased and delivered to different families in the Bulambuli district towards the end of 2020.  This brings the total number of tanks purchased since the beginning of this project to 66 and, as you can see from the comment below, each tank has been a real blessing and encouragement to members:

This is what Sam said when he received his tank: “Because of this sickness, sometimes the body is very weak to go for water from the stream and it becomes hard to keep disturbing neighbours who are a bit far and especially when it has rained heavily, and sometimes we end up sleeping without food.  But now that we have got this tank  we do not need to ask for help from neighbours but instead, we will be of help to them because they will also be getting water from us. The attitude the community people had towards us has changed and even the stigma is going to reduce. They now look at us as very important people in this community Thank you UWCM and thank you donors”.

As from January 2021, our funding will now go towards a ‘revolving fund’ which will allow group members to borrow money to buy a tank which they then have to repay and that money would then be available to lend to another family.  Although families will have to wait longer to receive a tank it means that this project is sustainable and more people, eventually, will own one of their own.  UWCM have chosen to work with a cluster of groups who already have a good record of running savings schemes and will continue to monitor progress.

ACTIVITIES ARE RESUMING AT LWANGOLI prayer & porridge!

Much to the delight of the children, parents and guardians, government restrictions have begun to ease slightly allowing the very popular Saturday club days to resume albeit with greatly reduced numbers.  20 children per week are now able to meet together to play, receive teaching/counselling and, of course, enjoy porridge, fruit & an egg.   Some school years are also starting back and we have been able to pay the school fees and registration fees for 8 x Primary 7 candidates all of whom come from extremely vulnerable families and the parents were ‘overwhelmed with joy when they were told that the fees and registration costs were covered’. 

UWCM also continue to visit and monitor individual families helping with medical fees, offering advice and encouragement, providing support with food supplies etc.  The vast majority of these families are living in extreme poverty and without the support of UWCM would not have the resources to resolve their situations.  We had met one such young man, Ben (see photo), during our visit in January 2020 when he was very depressed as he was suffering from a huge infection on his face plus osteomyelitis in his leg and his future looked grim.  UWCM staff took him for treatment and after a long course of antibiotics plus an operation and physiotherapy, Ben is recovering well and his life has been transformed.  He became a Christian in November 2020 in the church where his mother attends and his health has greatly improved.  He has been busy taking care of his goat and pig and also supporting his mother with home chores. This is just one example of how our support has been able to transform someone’s life.

Mini children’s community conferences were held in December 2020

As it was clear that the annual residential Children’s Conference would not be able to go ahead in January 2021 due to Covid restrictions, staff at UWCM decided that they would run 4 x smaller, 2 day conferences for 25 x teenagers from 4 different communities between 13th and 30th December 2020.  Each of these was followed by a 1 day training for 30 parents/guardians from each of the communities so that they could share skills of how to handle teenagers both at home, in church and in society. 

Over the 2 days they covered topics such as: children’s rights and responsibilities; life skills and decision making criteria; self esteem; abstinence for teenagers plus daily Bible study, worship and prayer.  On the last day, each young person received a gift of 2Kg sugar, 1 kg bar of soap and a packet of salt to take home as a Christmas gift for their families.  They were very excited as they received the packing saying, “I was not expecting this.  God is good.  Our parents will be very  happy upon receiving these items.”

As you can see from the comments below, the conferences were a huge success and UWCM would like to hold more over the coming year.

  • One of the young people (Benard), during his vote of thanks appreciated the whole program and topics taught which gave him confidence to face the future while trusting God. He thanked all the facilitators for their time and skilful training to the children. Benard expressed himself in English and this made his grandfather very happy, because he was also in attendance at the closing ceremony! He said, “Now I know I have not wasted my school fees on Benard!
  • The young people were happy for the teachings and freely expressed their concerns which they asked us to share with their parents for understanding during the parenting sessions.  Such concerns were:
    • My mother is so harsh and cannot wait to listen to me talk. She addresses us at home by difficult and abusive language and names that sometimes make me feel like running away from home!
    • Our parents never provide basic needs for us and this troubles us so much!
  • One of the local leaders said, “Much as I am a leader representing my people, I had no knowledge about the rights of children so I am very grateful for the teaching on children rights and responsibilities. I request UWCM to extend this service of imparting knowledge to all leaders in my area”, she asked.
  • One parent who is a church leader asked UWCM to consider giving more sessions to the youth in his church if possible. He was grateful to be a host for the children and parents’ conference.
  • “This is my first time to attend a conference. I did not know that even at my age I could attend any training!”  (A female participant).