We are yet back with our great women in the movement to cope up with COVID19 lockdown, and here we are with our next episode. In here, we shall go through more ways of coping with the Coronavirus pandemic as we keep in our homes until things get back to normal.
COPYING WITH COVID19 CHANGES BY ATITE PRISCA
Dancer | Educator |Motivational Speaker Team Leader |Brand Strategist Dance Adventure Studios
I remember informing my students on Wednesday 18th March after the Ballet Class how I would be absent the following Wednesday because I had schools’ outreach in Jinja. Little did I know that by Friday all schools will be closed! The following day, I arrive at office (Dance Adventure Studios) and I am informed our Program (VOICES) Soul Sharing Session was canceled since it was referred to as a public gathering event. As though it wasn’t enough, I received an email about the cancellation of my very first Europe trip to attend a Swing Dance Training. I quietly signed out my weekly working hour’s attendance and went home to condense all these disappointments.
On 30 th Life was different, my Cousins had never seen me home on a Monday. I had never missed a day without rehearsals. It was boring and I felt jobless because I was not earning my gig-based income. After a week I decided to get other ways of contacting my “audience” through design thinking and social Influence (Words I picked from various conferences I used to attend). I leant that as dancer, I can be an influencer, educator to a content creator, speaker to a podcast host. The only saving platform was online and my YouTube Channel however expensive the internet costs incurred.
“Lesson for me, we do not have to change who we are or what we stand for; all you need is adjustment of strategies to reach your goals.”
We gladly bounce to the next wrtiter in our beloved Elle Parle diary and here we bring to you this amazing feminist who takes us through the Cristian part of it.
PLANS TO REGROUND MYSELF BY SHUBRAH KASOZI FEMINIST, TEAM LEADER AND FOUNDER OF STUDENTS AGAINST COVID-19 UGANDA
Like every cloud that has a silver lining, this pandemic might have presented us with boundless unexpected opportunities¾a rather unusually unique kind of silver lining. As we all hanker down, some of us gripping onto all sort of remedies to escape the grim reality of being locked up, we find ourselves at the crossroads with our minds trying to figure out how best we can utilize this lockdown to our benefit. Perhaps you, like most of us, has had intentions to reground yourself during this lockdown while modeling a new purpose for yourself. You may wonder, “what do I want to change or adjust about my mindset in this lockdown?”, or maybe your mind, like mine is tickled by a genuine concern over what other sisters could do to utilize this for their own good. I am certain you have or will get to this extent eventually.
Being a young optimistic Christian woman, I find it much easier for me to be positive knowing that my God communicates in every moment; be it exciting or subtle, and this pandemic is no exception! For me, while the tension builds around the world, greedy people taking advantage of the situation to instill more fear in others, self-serving politicians clutching on to every bit of power, weak men turning their wives into pulps, desperate attention seeking students hurling insults at each other over social media, the list continues, and it’s heart-wrenching, right!
In the midst of these grim times, having a shift in perspective could paint us a better picture altogether. Personally, during this time when I’m confined to my home, interestingly gives me a chance to do a plethora of things. At the epicenter of these things is having constant and relentless communications with my God. It is thrilling to read the word of God on a daily, getting new and deeper revelation by the day. This time, like no other is the perfect time to do some self-remodeling and refocusing.
You must agree with me that such times help us take the focus away from the outside and we notice that which is on the inside! That small still voice that calls out to you, as if in a desert, only to be met with the loud chatters from the murmuring crowds, insults from your classmates, criticisms and lies from social media, that boyfriend who ditched you because you they couldn’t see your worth, that course work that seemed to put an end to career dreams, well, consider all those shut out now. Reclaim your authority over your destiny and the truth in who God says you are. It is more than important that you see the treasure on the inside of you. Amazingly, as you listen to this inner voice, you will realize that you are the most perfect creature God has ever made and will ever make!
During this lockdown, I have personally decided to appreciate myself more, building better relationships with the people that matter in my life and reading more. One of the books I have picked up is “A woman in the eyes of God” by Miria Matembe. This book will give you the right perspective you need in this season. This lockdown is giving me time to focus differently. For instance, on seeing the plight of children on streets, those in big poor families, the vulnerable pregnant women, our unsung heroes the mothers who run families single handedly, I was inspired to bear the vision of the StudentsAgainstCovid campaign.
To help those whose fate is blurred by the real threats of hunger, death, and the failure to provide for their crying babies. This dream has been highly supported and adopted by fellow students with a similar passion to restore the hope that has been robbed by this pandemic.
“As a student of law, knowing that I don’t need a classroom to study, Mariam my study partner and I have daily discussions. I look to memes and making funny videos with my little sister to light up my moods with a good laugh which gives the exact balance we all need. While God is the smith of my life, I hold the keys to unlock all that he has set for me to accomplish holding on to the truth we all should cling to that we are put on this earth to be the difference.”
LEVERAGING THE LOCKDOWN TIME BY NAMWONE BRENDA TABITHA FEMINIST, CODER, INNOVATOR, SRHR ADVOCATE
Prior to the announcement of the outbreak in Uganda, I spent most of my days buried neck deep in things to do. I’d have school in the mornings, and try to catch up on some online lectures for online courses in the afternoon, have a discussion or two in the late afternoon and probably a club meetup in the evenings. That’s if I didn’t have an outreach or work engagement out of town or off campus, or a developers’ meetup or class somewhere.
When the lockdown was announced, I was for the first two weeks excited to stay home for once and just take it easy. How wrong I was! I soon realized that I actually find comfort in having things to do and completing one task after the other, sitting still and doing absolutely nothing was surely not for me. Sure, it once was, but not anymore. I got bored and I was starting to hang onto my sanity after a few days’ time, and boy was it tough.
I launched into writing about how I felt, and combatting something that plagues lots of developers such as myself, impostor syndrome. I took to fighting the good fight on my social media and learning more about feminism and how best I can help other women feel included in whatever I do. From all the chaos that’s plaguing the world lately, I have learnt to take each day as it comes, one day at a time, count my blessings one by one because life is too short to be little.
“I have learnt to take each day as it comes, one day at a time, count my blessings one by one because life is too short to be little” Tabitha “The strongest actions for a woman are to love herself and shine amongst those who never believed she could”, “A strong woman builds her own world. She is one who is wise enough to know that it will attract the man she will gladly share it with” Tabitha
This lockdown places a huge amount of pressure on women to conform to the societal constructs that advance patriarchy and misogyny. While we struggle to keep ourselves safe from a pandemic, our daughters and sisters continue to silently fight the pandemic of unpaid care work which is worsened by the total lockdown and quarantine. Unpaid care work is another pandemic that threatens the potential of women all over the world with women performing three times more domestic work than their male counterparts.
And these roles are increased by the new health and hygiene requirements set by the World Health Organization. Work such as cooking, washing, bathing the children, sweeping the world, nursing a sick relative have been labelled as women’s chores and derogatory statements such as “Wife material” or a “real woman” have been used to normalize the oppression of women and girls in our society.
Our African culture lauds women who can do it all women who can undertake all domestic roles single handedly however unpaid care work is not an only woman- domain. As sister’s, times like this demand that we remind ourselves that whenever men carry out domestic roles such as cooking, they are not helping us. They are not helping anybody they are simply doing what they ought to do because they eat, they wear clothes and they fall Sick. I don’t imply that this is the time to raise war but it may as well be the time to tell your son to wash the utensils. It may as well be the time to teach him how to cook or the perfect time to share care taking roles.
Uneven distribution of this work load across genders within and outside the household negatively affects women’s financial earnings, leisure, sleep and overall participation in development initiatives. It also grossly affects our income earnings and thus our ability to own resources. Such adversities are worsened in the wake of a pandemic. Women’s participation must never be under looked or underestimated especially during this time. The time is now to redistribute these domestic roles across genders lest we be reduced to nothing more than slaves.
Women are the backbone of recovery in communities not only for COVID-19 but also for unpaid care work. We hold the mantle to change the narrative regarding unpaid care work our homes and communities. May we rewrite our story today. May we aspire for greater days with less oppression. May we finally break free from the chains of oppression that limit our potential. Yes, we can. Together we can achieve more! covid-19 and recommendations.
COVID19 IMPACT AND SOME RECOMMENDATIONS BY NAKALEMA SHAKIRAH FEMINIST, ELLE PARLE WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the world has put an entire globe on a tremendous test. My mother land the pearl of Africa ‘Uganda’ was shocked severely by the pandemic which caused a state of emergency. The President of Uganda together with the Ministry of Health Officials and the entire cabinet took attempts to mitigate the spread of the pandemic. My sincere gratitude to the Ministry of Health and the COVID-19 Uganda task force for an excellent work done during this global pandemic.
However, I must acknowledge that as a result of this pandemic, and the presidential directives to curb it’s spread, many have been affected; there’s no room for man to survive the effects but to wait for government’s provisions and donations. As a woman, my number 1 concern is as regards to the SRHR lamentation. Women’s health in Uganda has been hit very much as cases of violence in form of physical and emotional have escalated putting them in a very traumatic situation.
During the Post-COVID, a lot more challenges shall prevail in health, economic and social spheres of life among us as below; Uganda’s Ministry of Health stands as an umbrella for all the health related cases, COVID-19 stands as the priority which health workers are taking into account leaving other illnesses such as HIV/AIDs, malaria, TB at high chances of spreading as people are too negligent and therefore increasing on chances of an outburst of cases. The lack of enough treated mosquito nets as well as anti- malarial tablets for malaria patients who include mothers and children most; we need to put into consideration the aftermath of this.
We need to guard against having to fight another life consuming set of illnesses. I recommend proper medical attention to other patients in hospitals and provision of local ambulances to cater for the health of both women and men during and in the Post COVID-19 time in Uganda.
As a result of shutting down many businesses, an economic recession shall be realized during the Post COVID coupled with high levels of poverty, and unemployment among young people and a large population in the nation. Skilling ourselves during this lockdown through building expertise in our jobs from home will enhance the economy during the Post COVID, as many will be vigilant in creativity and innovation. We should consider empowering women living both in rural and urban centers in form of giving them grants and extension of working experiments/training. Women are over represented in informal and vulnerable employment, the National Labor Force Survey 2017 observed 17% women in the informal sector than 6% men in it. Read that again.
We need to prepare for the post times and utilize this lockdown to jot down our ideas towards making the world a better place for our sisters out there. “As the Pearl of Africa, lets reconnect to grow together as a nation. Let the lessons and skills learnt during this pandemic act as tools for the economy to shine, grow and control the spread of other pandemics.” Shakirah For God and my Country.
Let us drop to our last writer for today and see how she is grooving us through these tough days of COVID19.
DEAR DIARY BY AISHA BADRU FEMME-PRENEUR
I was supposed to go back to Khartoum where I go to school, on 28th March 2020. But well everything turned around when the world was hit by Corona. I was worried that school might resume when I have not returned but then it was also closed. And I knew, that moment that this virus was very serious. My worst fears came when I was watching and reading News. Thousands of people were dying around the world. I have really bad anxiety and watching the News truly increased the pressure. When they locked down Uganda, the cases of Corona that had seemed so far away now felt like they were next door. Oh, that was very scary and the uncertainty of our safety as the nation was now threatened.
I am a practicing student of dentistry at Lubaga hospital but with the pandemic, we were now at a very high risk and my parents suggested I should quit for a while. I kept myself on tenterhooks with the drastic change. But now, as time passes, in order to control my anxiety, I stopped watching the news too often and if I do, I just grasp what I need. I understood there wasn’t much I could do but follow the guidelines that were put across for the safety of the community. I also learnt to be patient with the situation and pray more often to Allah to come to our rescue. But as my worries were getting tamed. I realized that many families in the country really can’t afford food in this lock down. It really breaks my heart! And despite the fact that the government said they will be helping the needy. That support has not arrived in my community. I see many donating on television, of course this is wonderful, but; my opinion is that instead of going to be seen on media as a giver; it is the intention of a few people to whole heartedly give and not all because some are doing it for their personal greed.
What if we gave to a neighbor and a single mother struggling to feed her kids in our community? Because even if you donate to the government, how long will it take to reach your people in the same area. But with all that I pray hard each day and we as a family have tried to help our community as much as we can with the little, we have. This has really placed in me the ethic of sharing and am thankful for that. I sure do pray all this will come to an end, with the will of God.
In our grand finale of the Elle Parle Diaries, we shall have more big names like Saviour Nakakembo, Thando Chifulya, Devotah, Ruth Kitamirike, Tabally, Yasmine, Jean Ngobi, Diana Nabimanya keep hooked.