Uganda covid emergency relief

The aim of Itambira Island Seeds of Hope is to transform the lives of people in areas around Lake Bunyonyi, Kabale, SW Uganda – physically, mentally and spiritually.

As is the case for everyone, COVID-19 has meant that we have to reconsider our normal activities.

As a charity, our Itambira Island Seeds of Hope is focused on 2 key areas:

  1. Delivery of training programmes to empower the local community and improve their quality of life (registered Community Based Organisation)
  2. Tourist facilities to raise funds to offset the training costs and enable the project to become self-sustaining in the long term.

Naris Tibenderana, Director of Itambira Island Seeds of Hope, gives us an encouraging update as to how activities have adapted to enable us to continue to serve the local community:

The number of COVID-19 cases in Uganda keeps increasing (although still low compared to other countries). As of Saturday, 15th August 2020, the number of cases is 1,300 and 12 deaths. Movements, transport and gatherings are still restricted, and the curfew is still on from 9.00 pm to 5.30 am. Schools and places of worship are still closed. Everybody is expected to wear a mask, but most people are not wearing them, waiting for government to provide the masks. This is a big and expensive exercise to undertake which I think will take quite some time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone across the globe though in varying degrees. It has affected productivity across sectors, employment, earnings and quality of life.

In Uganda:

  1. Socially: closure of schools and institutions imply the children stay at home. It has proved very difficult for families to cope with looking after the children. Homeschooling is not easy for most parents because they are illiterate. Governments have tried to send reading materials across the country, but it is difficult to reach every home. Children and students cannot access internet facilities either there is no electricity up country, or they don’t have computers or smart phones. Children out of school has also increased the workload for women at home.
    Unfortunately, a number of teenagers have become pregnant due to too much leisure time and redundancy; others have taken to drinking alcohol and drug abuse. Closure of worship places have made the situation worse.
  2. Economic: disruption of economic activities has led to reduction of income and food insecurity. Restrictions of movements, transport, market operations have negatively impacted the agricultural households that rely on market sales. Many community economic activities depend on the makeshift markets. Such markets are not allowed to operate. Those employed in tourism like working as tour guides lost jobs. The people who make a living from selling vegetables, fruits and handcrafts to tourist sites lost income too.

In short, the pandemic has increased poverty and inequalities in communities.

At Itambira Island…

COVID-19 is having a big effect on the project.

Tourism has virtually ceased since the onset of COVID although we are OPEN and welcomed a few guests in July (from Kampala) the first since lockdown.

We have kept all staff on, unlike most resorts. Workloads have been revised during this time with all staff prepared to do any jobs – maintaining the property, tending the vegetable gardens,The staff work well as a team.

However, we don’t expect tourism to get back to ‘normal’ for many months, affecting our income – which goes towards the community programme.

We are using this quiet time to do renovation work to prepare for the next season and offer some local employment at this crucial time. Work includes: improving some of the paths, replacing the papyrus roofs on some of the accommodation, wood on the docks and restoring the mushroom growing hut.

We are also trying to continue the project work albeit with some adjustments to suit the new environment, including following up the outreach work in the community.

We’ll update on our projects separately.

Emergency Fund

In response to the need at this time we have set up an emergency fund after hearing reports that people were going hungry with no trade and no tourism…

There is much malnutrition. It has always been our policy not to give people money but to support in other ways.

Aid Distribution

Through generosity of some donors we have been able to give families on the island and in the communities where we work 5kg of maize (posho), 1kg beans, and a bar of soap. This has been very gratefully received.

COVID aid uganda
Emergency aid bunyonyi uganda
Food distribution bunyonyi

The situation is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. There is now a request that we provide families with beans and maize for planting in September… This will help ensure future harvests to support the community during this difficult time.

If you wish to help, we welcome contributions by cheque or bank transfer. Please contact us on email for details. Cheques should be made payable to Itambira Island Trust. THANK YOU!

[separate report to follow on our local projects]

Charity and Community

Itambira Island Seeds of Hope is a not for profit Community based Organisation in SW Uganda partnering with Itambira Island Trust a UK registered charity.

We work with communities surrounding Lake Bunyonyi through a variety of projects designed to improve their livelihood, including training courses, water tanks, and other initiatives.

All profit from tourism goes to support our local community projects.

Itambira Island

Itambira Island offers a unique opportunity to stay on Lake Bunyonyi. Day visitors are welcome and overnight guests can choose to stay in colourful en-suite treehouses or roundhouses with a lake view. We also offer budget accommodation and a cottage which is ideal for families or groups.

Our restaurant overlooking Lake Bunyonyi serves local and international food. We also offer wood-fired pizza and run regular barbecues. Sit by the firepit and watch the sun go down!

Conferences and events are our speciality.

Registered Charity

Itambira Island is also home to the Seeds of Hope project and all profit supports our local community training courses and other initiatives.

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