Uganda, Kampala: Linda Nambuusi, 27, social worker

Shall we be able to recover after the crisis? Or shall we be able to survive?
Uganda is one of the East African countries that have been affected by COVID-19, a disease that is caused by corona virus, socially and economically in a positive and negative way (this sounds crazy but yes positively).
As I sit down to write and share with you, we are standing at 55 positive cases and 20 patients were discharged.

The Government of Uganda has come up with measures to prevent and contain the identified cases since as a low-income country we may fail to handle the situation in case it worsens. We have seen and heard the breakdown of ’superpower-countries‘ struggling with this man-killer disease. His Excellence Yoweri Kaguta Museven, the President of Uganda, and his health technical team have done all that they think is righteous to protect the lives of Ugandan’s.

As a 27-year-old, I have lived to enjoy my country but I had not experienced a lockdown in my entire life, no work, no visiting friends nor family, no parties, no church, no school and sometimes I ask myself: Is it a movie broadcast?

We are living a life where you do not even trust your health condition, every time you cough, sneeze, get a headache or fever, you ask your inner person: Corona, is that YOU?

In Uganda, the steps taken are no different from those taken around the world – including quarantine of people who have a travel history to the category one countries and those, that they have come into contact with on returning to the country, (lockdown of schools, banning of public transport, curfew. closure of nonfood-items-stores (and this is where most youths survive with).

Uganda has a majority and rising youth population in an emerging economy with 77% of its population under 25 years. 64 % of the young persons aged 15-29 years in Uganda are in some form of employment, that are using the different skills acquired through Government and its partner programs of skilling. A percentage of the youths are engaged in the informal sector which is more affected by the crisis. With all measures put up by the GoU, many youths are finding it hard to adapt to the new changes. This pandemic has severe effects on youth’s employment opportunities, health, social wellbeing, as well as on crime cohesion more broadly.

The current effects of the pandemic to youths may not be easily identified because of the lockdown and a lack of attention. This will greatly unfold over a period of time – basically after the crisis. Many changes will influence the choice made by youths, opportunities and their wellbeing. Failing to protect the youth’s employment, health, education opportunities can disrupt their transition.

Youths are more vulnerable to this pandemic situation because it’s the population that is more likely to be poor. Many youths are working in sectors, that are particularly vulnerable to the global downturn. Their political influence is limited alongside most of the working youths support themselves, their younger siblings and older family members.

We have seen a rise in domestic violence, We expect numbers of crime rates to increase if we are to continue like this and of course hunger – as a result of the closure of all nonfood stores and business since most of the people were surviving on their small businesses.
A case study of youths supported by Somero Uganda (German info-page here), 2 young people (friends) had a fight in the slums of Bwaise over food and one lost her ear.

Covid-19 is one of the formulate experience for most young people as its economic impact is increasingly hitting both low- and middle-income youths.

For years Somero Uganda has trained over 10000 children and youths living in and around the slums of Bwaise, Mutungo and Busia with livelihood skills (hairdressing, tailoring, computer skills and soft skills including liquid soap making, books …). But as a result of this pandemic situation, regardless of their hands-on skills, they have nothing to do to support their families since a number of them had set up small scale business from which they were earning decently and supporting their families.

The economic status of the young people has been worrying but it is becoming worse due to COVID-19. In any crisis, young people are the first to lose their jobs, especially those in the informal sector where the majority of young people live in slums.

A young person who has been working to support him/herself or family is now home feasting on all the little capital, that’s if they get what to feast on, meeting essential needs on a daily basis. ‚Sexual reproductive health needs‘ is another big issue so the question remains.

The current condition for young people now is very hard. My worry is looking beyond the crisis …What will happen to the youth after the Pandemic situation? Shall we be able to recover and survive?

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