During the COVID 19 pandemic, Equal Opportunities for Women and Children in Uganda, received COVID 19 Emergency relief funding from Women First International Fund and was able to give considerable support to 300 of its beneficiaries during the national lock-down.
The support ranged from food supply and protective wear such as face masks, information reach outs of safety precautions and measures to take to prevent the spread of COVID 19 and against Gender Based Violence with emphasis on its dangers to the livelihood of women but also the children and the community at large through sticker distribution to 300 households in local language (Rukiga).
We still prioritized the fact that vulnerable women were facing more of the brunt of COVID 19 Effects. With this funding therefore, we ensured there was continuation of medical, psychosocial and economic support transport to beneficiaries who are pregnant, single mothers or female headed households, HIV positive and those who are living with disability or whose children are living with disability.
Vulnerable beneficiaries categorized as, the pregnant were facilitated with small cash transfers to get access to antenatal care, our beneficiaries living with disabilities or whose children are living with disability were also cushioned with the cash transfers to enable them access their critical basic necessities and the single mothers or female headed households were not left out too.
With this funding, we were able to respond to the high levels of domestic/intimate partner violence through providing alternative accommodation/ secret shelter to avoid confinement of GBV victims with their abusers. We were able to successfully accommodate 10 women safely, for a period of 2 months.
Cerebral Palsy, an underlying brain injury that takes place during early infancy, caused by cerebral malaria is a frequent trend in Uganda.*
With children such as Aine, EOWC is partaking action to assist and garner financial support by showing that children living with such disabilities exist, and that the lack of adequate knowledge about cerebral palsy and how to handle people with the condition has caused untold psychological stress to families with people suffering from it.
Most of the affected people don’t have access to medical care and other social amenities, most drugs are expensive and unavailable at most health units, especially in rural areas which affects their social, psychological and physical well-being. It doesn’t stop at medical care, its also too expensive to feed children with CP as they require a special diet given their compromised immunity.**
As an organization, we are therefore calling on to you on board as a partner, to contribute to the cause of ensuring that children living with cerebral palsy are able to live fulfilled and dignifying lives especially when their special needs such as personalized wheel chairs where needed, specialized medical attention, special diets and emotional and financial support to them and their caretakers are met.
Our vision is to reach out to children not only in South Western Uganda, specifically Kabale and Rukiga but to children elsewhere, since they all deserve fulfilling lives.
With a vision of creating a community where women and children are safe, healthy and empowered, EOWC held mindset transformation sessions to enhance self-awareness, self-esteem and self-confidence of 100 out of school adolescent girls in the age range of 13 to 17 years and educate them about gender equality and IPV prevention.
We held these sessions through Q&As (Questions and Answers) about the various topics, such as; what is self-esteem, how do they express self-esteem, what are the challenges faced that hinder self-esteem, what are the ways in which we can boost our self-esteem, what they would like to become in the future ( sharing about their dreams) as this greatly boosts one’s confidence and gives them a foresight of what they need to get there, especially when their questions are answered, what is intimate partner violence, what are the forms of IPV, that they have experienced?, what do they think are the causes of intimate partner violence, how can intimate partner violence be avoided?, what efforts can they personally make to reduce intimate partner violence.
We also shared about the importance of being focused, about menstruation, its normalcy and how they manage to undergo their periods on a monthly.
In order to Reduce experiences of Intimate Partner Violence in Rukiga and Kabale Districts, EOWC in partnership with Women First International Fund took on the economic empowerment approach of increasing agricultural incomes of women and girls. This was to be achieved through among others; training women and girls in oyster mushroom value chain enhancement skills to compete maximally on the market and increase income right from crop cultivation to quality control until the end of the value chain to the market.
However, with the onset of COVID 19, many of our beneficiaries’ market for oyster mushrooms slowed down and couldn’t sustain their daily livelihood needs. EOWC therefore launched a revolving piggery project among its beneficiaries, to supplement the mushroom businesses of the women.
Our project started with training of at least 8 women in piggery farming, construction of pig stys for them, and when their pigs each give birth, with a minimum of 7 to 8 piglets for each pig, they will each be able to distribute piglets to at least 7 or 8 women in turn and those will be at least 49 women in 6 months. We hope to reach all our project beneficiaries with at least a piglet for each of them, on the journey to their economic empowerment.
Our activity also entailed engagement by the Community Development Officer and the Police, with the women, on issues related to intimate partner violence, referral pathways, its dangers and also about ways men too can be engaged in the fight against intimate partner violence.