Decades ago, women in Uganda rose with a strong determination; to thrive. The sun rose and we saw the wide smile of the day The season we had worked and anticipated for so long Economic, education, political and social opportunities began to thrive. Then the monster of destruction suddenly struck us, non-indiscriminately in 2020. The 3 strides we had taken ahead, COVID-19 took us 2 strides behind. Oh COVID-19 the bomb! All she had set up and achieved over the years came crumbling down, down, down. It killed their businesses, pulling her back to zero! The lock-down restricted her movements to market for sales, access health and legal services, including freedom to associate. Then, as resilience and coping mechanisms………boom! Brewers of local gin saw some light in the tunnel; now make hand sanitizers from gin (waragi). While others saw the internet as their redeemer, connecting with clients and friends and yet painfully costly. In unison women have risen with without relenting despite the glaring challeges. Yes! Positive impact is being created. COVID-19: the monster You scattered our families, that blossomed with love, affection and care You have inflicted upon her pain, stress, mental ill-health and violence You inflicted prolonged social isolation which kept many women ‘locked down’ in the same space with their abusers at all times. COVID 19 you created tensions affecting men’s ability to provide basic necessities for their families due to financial constraints. Women have become more organized to lobby and mobilize resources to change the status quo. COVID 19; the perpetrator of violence COVID-19 you did not spare education which is an asset and a development tool we rely on You closed schools, exposing young girls to unsafe conditions including sexual violence and harassment by male opportunists. Cases of incest, sex for money have rapidly risen in number. Teenage pregnancies have increased by 65% and teenage marriages Oh! What a wasted generation. But we shall continue to be a voice and do better in nurturing the next generation despite the odds Oh COVID-19; the destroyer of generations! She is building resilience and rising up again Rising to exercise her democratic right in the 2021 elections in Uganda, But COVID-19, you disenfranchised us a normal electoral process Restricting us to Social media and radio for campaign messages where majority of women still can’t access is denial of information. Only 19.2% of women can access internet and 68.9% listen to radio You have been so cruel to take many lives You did not spare our mantles and beacons of hope. We mourn the loss of 3 women contestants for Member of Parliament due to you, COVID 19 during this “scientific” political campaign. Hon. Robina Ssentongo (Kyotera Woman MP); Hon. Faith Alupo (Woman MP, Pallisa district); and Hon. Rehema Watongol, Kamuli municipality MP/legislator. Rest in peace. We will always remember them for championing women issues. Aluta continua: Our issues must be put on the table COVID-19: The Tyrant We keep soldiering on and fighting with resilience and in unison against you COVD 19 We shall never take any moment for granted As we reflect on many issues and effects of COVID 19 in 2020 upon every sphere of our lives Let’s love, support and celebrate our sisterhood this year 2021 COVID-19; we are out to defeat you!
This story was submitted in response to Her Power. Our Power..