May 10, 2020 • Stories from Uganda
Recently, we read two articles detailing how COVID-19 is straining Africa’s food distribution. “The race to feed Africa during a pandemic,” published in The Economist on April 25th, 2020, details the struggles that the people within African countries face as COVID-19 takes hold.
COVID-19 is hitting people’s pockets. In African cities, the average household allocates half its’ expenditure to food. That budget has shrunk as economies nosedive, and lockdowns close the informal businesses where most workers hustle. The International Food Policy Research Institute, a Washington DC think tank, estimates that 80 million more Africans, mostly in cities, could see their incomes drop below the equivalent of $1.90 a day.
Africans with land to grow their crops do a bit better than those that dwell in the cities. However, even those who can grow food still buy nearly half of the food they need. As The Economist’s article points out, many are only part-time farmers, topping their earnings with transport, trade, or wage labor.
Second, “‘Instead of Coronavirus, the Hunger Will Kill Us.’ A Global Food Crisis Looms,” published in the New York Times on April 22, 2020, underscores the hunger many people will face due to the coronavirus. The article, written by Abdi Latif Dahir, highlights how COVID-19 has brought hunger to millions of people around the world. National lockdowns and social distancing measures are drying up work and incomes, likely to disrupt agricultural production and supply routes. This leaves millions to worry about how they will get enough to eat.
When Uganda shut down its’ schools on March 20th, many of our students had to leave “safety.” At school, they receive an education and have an assurance of a clean place to live and food to eat. This is important. Many of the St. Kizito students rely on the generosity of our donors to obtain an education and enjoy a more secure life. This is a life with fulfilling meals and the stability & structure the school environment offers. With the suspension of school, we fear for some of our students, whose parents are day laborers, will now be forced to stay at home with no means to support their families and no safety net to turn to.
Pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools were tentatively scheduled to resume this past week on April 27th. This did not happen. Schools remain closed as of today. The tentative new reopen date is set for June 1st.