By Emmanuel A. Okello, Communications Officer, Uganda
“When one of the first cases of COVID-19 was identified, it created a lot of anxiety, fear and worries within the Community,” says Charles Kabogozza, the World Vision Uganda Area Programme Nanager for Kyabigambire in Hoima district in western Uganda.
Charles was resting in his room in the evening after work, when he received a call from one of the members of the community. The community isolated themselves from the families of the contact. This contact had recently returned from Afghanistan.
“Since the contact had been in the community for some time, he had interacted with a number of people according to witnesses, so over 90 contacts had to be reached and tested,” says Charles.
With the community now in fear, this called for going into the community to conduct sensitisation awareness. Charles started to work with the district’s Local Government in Hoima where he was appointed as a member of the covid-19 district taskforce, specifically the psycho-social committee and risk communication committee. The committees were tasked to develop messages and create awareness in the communities about the Coronavirus – to help them understand the situation and how to guard themselves against the virus.
“I used my knowledge to develop messages and also started community counselling so the people could accept the current situation, calm down and follow the instructions of the medical teams and the presidential directive,” says Charles.
The President declared a lockdown, with a restriction on movement in the country, including a curfew of 7:00pm to 6:30am.
World Vision, working with the Covid-19 District Taskforce used radio as a quick medium of communication to reach people with messages of prevention and to calm their fears.
With people becoming more aware of what is at stake, Charles and the team went from house to house making sure that even those who did not have radio and may not have received any information heard the message.
“The community is calm and people are staying indoors as they wait for the end of the lockdown,” says Charles.
For Charles, working with communities during this COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to remind ourselves of ‘Our Promise’ to reach the most vulnerable people.
“As a staff of World Vision, it is our commitment to respond to calamities and as a core value, we are responsive…we value people, during both good times and challenging moments,” he adds.
World Vision Uganda designated US$1,000,000 (about UGX 3 billion) from its different programmes in Health, Education, Water & Sanitation, Livelihood and Refugee Response for the COVID-19 Emergency Response programme. The programme seeks to promote preventative measures to slow the spread of the virus, support health systems and workers, and provide children and their families’ multi-sector support during the crisis.
“As World Vision, we needed to be there with the communities during this challenging moment and ensure that the community and the children are safe,” says Charles.
Learn more about and/or support World Vision’s global work to limit the spread of COVID-19 and support the children impacted by it on our COVID-19 Emergency Response Page.