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CoronaVirus Uganda

UNICEF partners with Airtel Africa to support children and families affected by COVID-19

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Fayaz King, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Field Results and Innovation.

Fayaz King, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Field Results and Innovation.

By Our Reporter

UNICEF has partnered with Airtel Africa to provide children with access to remote learning and enable access to cash assistance for their families via mobile cash transfers.

Under this partnership, UNICEF and Airtel Africa will use mobile technology to benefit an estimated 133 million school age children currently affected by school closures in 13 countries across sub-Saharan Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The adverse effects of school closures on children’s learning are well documented. Education experts warn that gains made in increasing access to learning in the previous decade are at risk of being lost, or even reversed completely. And for poor households around the world, the pandemic means a reduced or total loss of income due to the movement restrictions in place.

Remote learning, supported by digital tools, is a core part of UNICEF’s response to ensure continuity of learning for those children with access to technology at home. Airtel Africa will zero-rate select websites hosting educational content, which will provide children with remote access to digital content at no cost.

“COVID-19 is affecting access to information and education at an unprecedented scale,” said Fayaz King, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Field Results and Innovation. “Worldwide, most children are not in school, which we know can lead to a number of increased vulnerabilities and setbacks. UNICEF is partnering with Airtel Africa to deliver better outcomes for children and families affected by widespread closures.”

The partnership will also provide UNICEF with a means to facilitate vital cash assistance to alleviate financial barriers for some of the most vulnerable families across the region, including many affected by the growing socio-economic hardships resulting from suspension of income earning activities. This will help ensure families have additional resources to cope with the ongoing health and economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Some effective ways to cushion families from the effects of this crisis is through providing free Internet access to selected educational websites to help children keep up with their learning during the school closures and direct cash transfer programmes to reduce physical presence requirements for cash in hand exchanges,” said Raghunath Mandava, Airtel Africa Chief Executive Officer. “Alongside various other COVID-19 related initiatives and support that we are providing to Governments and the community, we are glad to also collaborate with UNICEF to support children.”

The partnership with Airtel Africa supports UNICEF’s Global Agenda for Action for Children. The plan outlines global actions which private and public sector partners can take to keep millions of girls and boys – including those who have been uprooted by conflict, children living with disabilities, and girls at risk of violence – healthy, safe and learning.

UNICEF and Airtel Africa’s partnership aims to benefit children and families in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

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CoronaVirus Uganda

Great Lakes Energy Company donates 5 Brand New Cars to COVID-19 Taskforce

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Great Lakes Energy Company has donated five brand new Nissan Double Cabin Pick-ups to the Covid-19 national taskforce.

By Our Reporter

Great Lakes Energy Company (GLE) has handed over five brand new Nissan Double Cabin Pick-ups worth 134,300 US Dollars (approximately UG Shillings 507.6m) to Hon. Mary Okurut, the Minister In Charge of General Duties and the head of the Government Covid-19 taskforce.

The five cars will help transport medical workers and distribute food across Uganda as the country continues to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

GLE has always contributed to the communities that they operate in across Africa by supporting sustainable development projects, mainly in Health, Education and Conservation.

Commenting on the donation, GLE Director Michael Kearns said: “Given the gravity of the ongoing pandemic, we felt it prudent to respond to the President of Uganda’s appeal for additional logistical support to boost the Ministry of Health’s fleet. We are honored to contribute to the alleviation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda by donating these 5-brand new pick-up trucks that will be used to transport food and medical workers to the areas they are needed the most”, he noted.

Speaking on behalf of the COVID-19 taskforce, Hon. Mary Okurut thanked GLE for the donation that will go a long way in providing additional support to the taskforce as it implements the different interventions to curb the spread of the virus.

Guided by two main pillars of strengthening healthcare infrastructure and providing assistance to the most vulnerable communities, GLE allocates funds, separate to the operational business expenditure, to support chosen philanthropic and Corporate Social investment endeavors. Last year, the company worked with local partners to fund a health outreach activity in Rushere district as well as a youth sports tournament to teach Uganda youth about teamwork and leadership.

This donation is part of Janus Continental Group’s Africa-wide COVID-19 response and shows the huge potential of public and private sector partnership, bolstering the efforts of civil society and healthcare institutions. Standing together with governments and societies, JCG is guided by the WHO call for whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In January 2019, GLE completed the $25 million Uganda-based Kabulasoke solar power plant developed in conjunction with the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd. The 24MW solar power plant, which is already connected to the national grid, serves over five million people in rural Uganda.

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CoronaVirus Uganda

Stanbic Bank donates Ugx 140 million in relief food to vulnerable communities

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Stanbic Bank contributed Ugx 140 million used for purchasing food items for the communities in which they are operating in.

By Our Reporter

In a bid to support vulnerable communities across the country that have been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown, Stanbic Bank contributed a further Ugx 140 million used for purchasing food items for the communities in which they are operating in.

Through the different branches across the country Stanbic Bank employees distributed food items to over 4,000 individuals among vulnerable communities across the country.

Speaking during the handover of food items to Loving Hearts Babies Home, Munyonyo children’s home, Stanbic Bank Uganda Corporate Social Investments Manager, Ms Barbara Kasekende said, “At Stanbic Bank, we understand the drastic effects the lockdown has hard on some of the communities in which we operate it. As a business, we are reaching out to show our support and further encourage the vulnerable in our communities.”

“Stanbic’s sustainability vision focuses on Social, Economic and Environmental (SEE) goals, where we aim to ensure we create shared value in the societies and environment in which we operate.” She added.

One of the communities supported, Loving Hearts Babies Home, Munyonyo has over 30 babies and 13 members of staff at the moment. The Loving hearts team also reaches 200 plus homes in the community.

Stanbic had earlier contributed UGX 100 million towards the National COVID19 task force, and another UGX 20 million through the Uganda Bankers Association.

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CoronaVirus Uganda

How Kampala top Hotels were hired as quarantine centers

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By Reporter

On March 15, cabinet passed a resolution to hire a number of hotels in Kampala and across the country to work as quarantine centers as the country’s health experts prepared to combat the Coronavirus pandemic in case it is confirmed in Uganda.

The decision to search for these hotels was prompted by Ministry of Health’s request that travelers arriving in Uganda both nationalities and foreigners needed to be put under mandatory quarantine for 14 days as their health would be monitored.

This was at a time, foreign countries especially Italy, Spain, USA, France, and several other African nations had started registering rising number of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

At the time, travelers entering Uganda were only quarantined at Central Inn, a hotel in Entebbe and the numbers were gradually overwhelming.

It must be noted that that time, Uganda hadn’t registered its first case.

As Central Inn became full Ministry of Health took travelers to Imperial Royale Hotel in Entebbe, but the owner Karim Hirji rejected them saying he wasn’t ready to host COVID-19 suspects.

The travelers were then taken to Metropole Hotel in Kololo but management rejected them.

The argument was if these hotels agreed to host the travelers who were perceived as COVID-19 suspects, they would lose clientele.

Against that backdrop, cabinet in a confidential memo seen by TrumpetNews then tasked State Minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda to search for cheap facilities in Kampala and across Uganda where government would be able to place the travelers who were pouring in Uganda for mandatory quarantine.

Cabinet chose Kiwanda because with his docket because he is conversant with accomodation facilities in the country.

This website understands that many hotel owners in Kampala were not ready to risk allowing COVID-19 suspects in their hotels.

Therefore, Kiwanda, also considered hostels as long as their owners accepted to accommodate the travelers.

Minister Kiwanda thus entered in agreement with Kingdom Katomi Hotel along Entebbe which belongs to prof. Gilbert Bukenya, Nyumbani Hotel in Kikoni Makerere that is owned by Minister Frank Tumwebaze, Grand Global Hotel and Douglas Villa Hostel owned by former Minister Nyombi Tembo.

Therefore, all travelers who arrived in Uganda at a time the country was on high COVID-19 alert were quarantined in these hotels-turned facilities.

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CoronaVirus Uganda

StarTimes ends football slumber as Bundesliga returns

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By Reporter

When the German football league, the DFL, announced that the Bundesliga would return on May 16, it was music to football fans’ ears after a long football hiatus.

The league had been halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Early April, German club players started training again. And as of now, Bundesliga is the first and only major football league to be back in action.

As the Bundesliga strategic partner, digital TV operator StarTimes will broadcast all matches live and exclusive in Africa.

StarTimes Brand & Marketing Director Isma Lule says, “It has been a tough period for football fans around the world. We were very happy to have StarTimes bring back live football in Africa. Bundesliga is one of the best leagues in the world. It is a pleasure to watch these great clubs, Bayern, Dortmund, Schalke 04 and others play again.”

All matches are being broadcast on five sport channels on StarTimes, live and in HD, and on the streaming mobile application StarTimes ON, so top fans can watch games concurrently on several devices and won’t miss one minute of action. A series of strict protective measures were implemented to avoid the spread of the virus and all games are being played behind closed doors.

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