The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods is helping supply much-needed food to rural Ugandans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like the rest of the world, Uganda is now coping with COVID-19. As of April 24, the Uganda Ministry of Health reported 74 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and no deaths in the country.
Recently, Ugandan staff of the Iowa State University-Uganda Program, who work every day to carry out the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods’ programs in the Kamuli District, have pivoted from their normal job responsibilities to ensure hunger doesn’t get a stronger foothold because of the pandemic.
“Uganda has strong leadership that has empowered its public health experts to manage the pandemic,” said David Acker, Associate Dean for Global Engagement and Director, Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
“To control infection rates, key sectors of the Uganda economy have been locked down, and a number of supply chains have been disrupted. Rural areas are quite vulnerable,” Acker said. “Staff of our ISU-Uganda Program team have worked closely with the COVID-19 Task Force in Kamuli to insure that vulnerable populations are protected."
“We would prefer to be focusing all of our energies on development, which has always been the aim of our global programs,” Acker said. “However, current circumstances require us to pivot toward including some relief services as well.”
"We are proud of our Ugandan team directed by Gideon Nadiope, National Director of the ISU-Uganda Program," said Acker. "They assessed the situation, came up with an appropriate plan and immediately put it into action to help reduce hunger in the communities where they work. The plan includes delivering corn flour, rice, soap and seeds to rural areas and frontline health workers in areas where food supplies are becoming tight."
“All of the funds being used are from private donations specifically to the Uganda program and are being used within the terms of those gifts,” said Acker. “In addition, several CSRL donors have contacted us to offer help in response to the needs in Kamali during the pandemic. We deeply appreciate their commitment to the people we work with there.”
“This is an excellent ‘good news story’ about a terrible circumstance,” said Daniel J. Robison, holder of the Endowed Dean’s Chair in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “We are very proud of our ISU Uganda program in-country staff. They are a great example of an effective land-grant university effort, supported by trusted relationships that the program’s leaders have forged during years of working with and alongside local partners."
Contributions to support the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihood and its food drive in Uganda can be made here.
The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, established in 2004, aims to improve the livelihoods of rural people and alleviate food insecurity and poverty. Its programs have become a model for university international agricultural education programs and an inspiration for students to address global hunger and poverty. The ISU center has impacted thousands of lives through programs that help rural Ugandans gain skills in farming practices, nutrition, sanitation, and income-generating and entrepreneurial opportunities. It also has provided service-learning opportunities for hundreds of students from Iowa State and Makerere University of Uganda.