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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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Chairman of the United Bank for Africa Tony Elumelu says Covid-19 Presents Opportunity to Reset Africa

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By Reporter

The Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Tony Elumelu, has stated that the Coronavirus Pandemic currently ravaging the world presents an opportunity to reset the African continent so that Africans can be empowered to become more productive and self reliant. He said this today at the high-level Roundtable discussions made up of African leaders including Dr. Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala, the Special Envoy of the African Union on Covid-19 and Tidjane Thiam who is also a Covid-19 Special Envoy responsible for mobilising international economic support for Africa.

During the session titled ‘Resilient World: An African call for a new world order’, Elumelu stated “I see this pandemic as an opportunity to reset Africa.’ Whilst pointing out that Africa as a continent has all it takes to emerge into a strong digital economy, the UBA Group Chairman advocated a martial plan that will galvanise the entire continent and make Africa less dependent on the ‘circularity of debt’ from developed nations, which according to him, has been a major setback for decades.

 He said, “I feel that as we engage the rest of the world in providing relief, we need to look for a more fundamental solution to Africa’s challenges. I have often argued for a martial plan overtime. We need to mobilise everyone. If we have a martial plan that mobilises resources to address particular issues, then we can mitigate against this constant begging for assistance.”

Explaining further, Elumelu pointedly said, “The truth is that we have resources to help mobilise people. As the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, we committed to endow $100m to support young African entrepreneurs and we have been seeing the positive results this has yielded so far. It is evident that if we can fix access to electricity, ensure stability of the macro-economic environment, ensure prioritisation of the youth, empower our small and medium scale enterprises and fix youth migration, then we are in for a better and more resilient economy’. “There is the urgent need to prioritise our youths and empower our SMEs. The people who work hard need to be encouraged,” Elumelu noted passionately.

 Tidjane Thiam who supported what Elumelu had proposed, said that rather than depend on international assistance at every point, there is the need for governments and institutions to invest in activities that will prioritise the youths and create a better enabling environment. 

“I totally agree with Tony Elumelu. The major challenge is that we do not see enough entrepreneurs. Similar to what obtains in Asia and Europe, there is the need to promote a class of Entrepreneurs to drive the African economy.  we need to groom more Tony Elumelus’ from Africa’ he said. Tidjane continued, ‘We know what needs to be done. We need government and multinational institutions to bring in capital so that there will be investment in health, infrastructure and the like. We do need to get rid of this debt cycle because constant rescheduling and begging for relief for debts is not good for us as a continent,” Thiam said.

Okonjo-Iweala, on her part, called for a system where youths and women will be empowered to create and produce more to boost the African economy.

Whilst calling on private and government parastatals to engage in meaningful partnerships that will help to galvanise job creation and entrepreneurship among youths in Africa, she said, “As Tony pointed out, we can see this pandemic as an opportunity for the continent. We have the African Free Trade Agreement, and we have to make it real. 

“We have to specialise our countries to manufacture the things we need so we can trade with others. We need to produce good jobs for our young people. We need to empower our women and youths and put them at the centre. It is said that Africa would have the largest number of youths in the world by 2050, so we need to fix this,” she noted.

The round-table which was organised by the New York Forum Institute, also had in attendance African Heads of States including President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger; President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya; President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire; President Macky Sall of Senegal and President Julius Bio of Sierra Leone;

 

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CoronaVirus Uganda

COVID-19: Curfew In Uganda To Continue For More 21 Days

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By BigEyeUg Team; The Corona Virus response programs continues to take twists globally with different countries laying strategies on how effective they can combat the pandemic.

For Uganda, there have been over 50 new heath measures raised to the public in the last three months after the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

Among these is the night ‘curfew’ program that was introduced on March, 24, 2020 running between 19hrs – 6hrs and it has proved one of the highly implemented directives by both authorities and public.

A section of security officers carrying out their operation during the COVID-19 Pandemic lockdown.

This has prompted the government to have it among the key strategies to consider as it prepares to lift up the lockdown next month.

This was confirmed in the Presidential COVID-19 Pandemic address on Monday where H.E YK Museveni had the curfew program extended for the next 21 days despite easing lockdown.

We will keep you posted

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CoronaVirus Uganda

Govt To Give Out Free Masks To The Public – President Museveni

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By BigEyeUg Team; The longtime cry by Ugandans to the government for supply of free face masks amidst its new directive in combating COVID-19 Pandemic has finally been heard.

This development comes in after President YK Museveni unleashing a new program of availing face masks to the public at free of charge by government.

During his COVID-19 address on Monday evening, President Museveni noted that there will be free masks in supply to all Ugandans above 6years of age.

President Museveni dressed in a mask during the national prayer day earlier this month held at State House.

This will have to match the new Ministry of Health directive of ‘Mandatory wearing of masks’ in public as the country continues in battle with COVID-19 Pandemic.

Museveni also said that the masks are currently in production under government firms and must be ready by 2nd June when the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown is expected to be lifted.

We will keep you posted

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CoronaVirus Uganda

How MTN Uganda is supporting government’s efforts to combat COVID-19

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Find out information about Coronavirus in Uganda. More here.

By Our Reporter

Although Uganda has not registered any COVID-19 deaths yet, more than 200 cases have been confirmed and more effort is required for Uganda to flatten her curve. And one thing remains clear; that the only way to fight the lethal disease is “Together”.

It is against this background that corporate companies have joined hands with government to collectively combat the crisis.

Since the country went into an indefinite lockdown towards the end of March, companies have continuously donated both food and cash to he help meet the needs of those who have been denied an opportunity to earn a living due to the limitations imposed by the effort to curb the spread of the lethal Coronavirus.

While these philanthropic efforts are critical, the fight against the deadly virus goes beyond overt donations. It is also about how companies are using their services, infrastructure, products, equipment, and expertise to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and help their employees, customers and the general public get through this crisis.

MTN Uganda, for instance, has contributed about sh2b to the COVID19 effort. About half of it was in hard cash, the rest is in kind, in form of media space towards the ministry of health, help to National Water & Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) to provide water stands in water stressed areas of Kampala, and support to the Uganda Red Cross as well as a call center at the disposal of the health ministry.

At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in Uganda, the telecom allocated media space worth shs316million to the ministry of Health to run the much needed COVID-19 communication across different media. On the same day that announcement was made, MTN removed fees for sending any amount of money using MTN Mobile Money so as to enable its customers send money to ease cashless transactions during these difficult times, at no extra cost.

To facilitate a free flow of information, MTN zero-rated the Ministry of health website to enable people get timely information without the need for data. As schools remained closed, the telecom also zero rated a number of educational websites to enable learning to continue while the school-going children are at home. Most recently, the company zero rated its university education websites, making it possible for university students in the seven major universities across the country to access their study material at “zero MBs”.

As the country started registering cases of COVID-19, MTN set up a fully equipped call center at the MTN Head offices to support the Ministry of health work force in terms of receiving calls from members of the public seeking referrals and those seeking general information about the deadly coronavirus.

To support the movement of both logistics and members of the Covid19 Task Force as it spearheads the country’s fight against the pandemic, MTN recently donated three brand new Nissan Hard Body pick-ups to the Office of the Prime Minister.

In a bid to promote hand washing and hygiene as one of the ways to prevent the spread of the fatal coronavirus, MTN provided another Shs.220million to National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) to provide relief to the masses of people living in water stressed parts in and around Kampala. This is because water is especially important in the COVID19 fight as hand washing is very critical.

MTN also provided another Shs.294million to the Uganda Red Cross Society
(URCS) for surveillance, screening, psychological support in the high risk areas and border points across the country.

Additionally, the telecom provided a money collection point under its MoMoPay platform where MTN customers donated towards the URCS efforts in fighting the COVID19 pandemic. A total of 21.9 million was collected from MTN customers and was handed over to URCS. Moving forward, the money collected by MTN customers on this platform shall go to the National Covid19 Task Force to further aid in the fight against the devastating COVID19 crisis.

While it is not clear when this crisis will end, MTN Uganda remains committed to fighting the Covid19 pandemic together with the government of Uganda. MTN Uganda will continue to look at ways of supporting the government and communities, to fight Coronavirus Together.


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