How we’re adapting our work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lockdown has disrupted schooling, caused emotional distress and increased poverty. We came up with strategies to address the effects of the lockdown by COVID-19 and for the post-COVID-19 era.
CRANE has also developed a coordinated response to provide support for girls whose learning is impacted by school closures. Connection with parents, head teachers, District education leaders, and the Ministry of Education has helped to jointly respond to this crisis to keep children learning and maximize the likelihood that they will return once schools reopen. Schools have been closed since March 18th. This has impacted 15 million school children, 1/3rd of Uganda’s population.
We made some adjustments in plans and the budget to adapt to the COVID-19 situation while implementing some activities. These include:
Rescue of 198 children from the street
We worked with the government through the Kampala City Council Authority and other organisations that are a part of the network. The children underwent rehabilitation at an isolation centre provided by KCCA for close to 3 months. They were taken on for rehabilitation by different Child Care Institutions before resettlement while older children were taken on for vocational skills training by KCCA.
Access to learning through social media
CRANE tasked its teaching team to be creative in reaching families that only have phones, using mixed media learning to provide remote support. We have also provided hard copy learning resources and self-study packs, made learning calls, podcasts, and WhatsApp and SMS messages that require less data usage. Messaging included sharing key health and safeguarding messages, and counselling. New tools have been generated to inform the delivery of remote education. This will be our core operating model during the crisis. CRANE has produced high-quality child-centered literacy and numeracy messages that were broadcast on community radios. This is a very powerful tool in rural communities.
CRANE mentors made thousands of contacts through phone calls, SMS, and visits to relieve psychosocial stress.
Support for Children with Disabilities
In spite of the COVID-19 transport restrictions, the project was able to obtain a sticker from the Ministry of Health. 32 girls with disabilities were able to access health centres for medication and therapy. The project also supported 125 beneficiary girls with disabilities to access learning during the lockdown. From the new KCCA Special Needs Assessment Centre, of the 125 GEC T-girls supported, 32 were also supported to access medical aid. 75 girls and 51 boys with disabilities from the communities were also supported to access medical aid during lockdown. 1,270 families with children with disabilities in the supported communities were supported with food relief during lockdown.
Community radios are media platforms that enable isolated communities of ordinary people across Uganda to voice issues that are important to them. On average, one community radio can reach out to five villages. To increase community awareness, the project used 19 community radios to reach out to 106 villages. They were used to increase awareness of COVID-19, child protection, gender-based violence, child friendly justice, and Positive Parenting. The messages were interpreted in the local languages.
Tracking the use of the I Can Journals
I Can Journals were given to beneficiaries during lockdown and girls are reporting using them in the following ways:
- Guidelines on how to run daily activities
- Scheduling daily work and learning from home. After a long day, they relax their mind by completing some tasks from the I can Journal including the fun games.
- Helping learners to set their targets and track their progress
Collaboration with National Curriculum Development Centre
The project developed video resources for Children in collaboration with the National Curriculum Development Centre. Project teachers supported NCDC specialists to produce lessons for both TV and radio. The project also provided human resources and equipment to record TV and Radio lessons. These were uploaded on YouTube and shared on the NCDC website. CRANE provided Uganda sign language interpreters to ensure that the lessons are delivered with Uganda sign language interpretations.
Virtual Teacher Training
50 Female, 21 Male learning support teachers were trained in developing Individualised Education Plans
Follow up on child protection cases
Many emergency situations of girls were handled as soon as we were informed.
Provision of food rations to marginalised families
Almost 1,000 families identified to be at risk received food relief during the lockdown.
Through collaboration with other partners, CRANE also provided food to 1,270 other families with children with disabilities in the communities.
Mentoring of families
CRANE Mentors made 3,408 contacts to 2,746 stakeholders; girl beneficiaries and their families, government staff, and local school administrators during lockdown. 2,421 were contacts with girls who are direct beneficiaries.
Day of the African child
This was commemorated on 16th June under the theme “Child-Friendly Justice” through a virtual meeting with children. The meeting engaged 46 children and 26 adults, who mainly listened to the children since it was a children’s show. 1507 people followed on Facebook.
Vocational Support for marginalised girls to enable them transition to work in the field of agriculture is among the skilling programs implemented by CRANE under the Girls’ Education Challenge Transition Project(GEC-T).
On the background that Uganda thrives on an agro-based economy, the program aimed at equipping 10 girls with agri-business skills and knowledge to tap into this opportunity for self-reliance.