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Women in Karamoja Use Red Pepper for Preventing Spread of COVID-19

By Godfred Eyoku.

Women during the community dialogue organized by Karamoja Women Umbrella Organization with financial support from European Union through GIZ CUSP KAWUO in Pupu parish Rupa Sub County –Moroto district. PHOTO BY GODFRED EYOKU.

In an effort to curb the speedy spread of the virus, women in Karamoja have resorted to use red pepper and aloevera to smear on the hands in order to prevent people from touching the soft parts like eyes and nose.

According to their traditional science, when one tries to touch the face using hands smeared with red pepper or aloevera, only one reaction is enough to prevent another touch on the face.

Linah Angela, a resident of Acherer parish Nadunget Sub County told Aica that as women, they are committed to doing whatever is necessary to ensure a strong response through closer cooperation and improved coordination of their efforts.

Among the steps the women vowed are appropriate border management measures, real-time information sharing in, community sensitization on observation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the ministry of health in order to beat the virus.

Susan Namer explaining why they abandoned faces masks during the community dialogue in Pupu parish Rupa Sub County. PHOTO BY GODFRED EYOKU.

Susan Namer, a resident of Pupu parish in Rupa Sub County said they have abandoned the use of face masks and resort to use local brewed waragi for sanitizing and avoid shaking hands.

She also emphasized on the use of red paper to apply on the hands to avoid touching noise, mouth and eyes.

According to them, it is everyone’s responsibility to fight against COVID-19 and as women that belong to the community, they have taken lead since it affects most of them who are the bread winners in the families.

These ideas were raised during a community dialogue, Aimed at raising women’s voices for effective participation and policy formulation in gender sensitive governance, across the four sub counties of Tapac, Katikekile, Rupa and Nadunget in Moroto district.

No Quarantine Center

By the time of filing this report, 287 cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Moroto district, 17 from Amudat, 06 from Nakapiripirit, 04 from Nabilatuk, 02 from Abim and 01 from Napak districts.

Out of that, 55 are admitted at Moroto Hospital and 51 have so far recovered.

Ms Hellen Pulkol, the Moroto Resident District Commissioner told our reporter that the district is planning to relocate the quarantine center from Nadunget secondary to another place yet to be identified.

“This decision follows government’s plan to reopen schools next month and we have not yet agreed for a particular place to be made a quarantine center for the district,” the RDC said.

Women in Leadership

According to Karamoja women’s Umbrella Organization(KAWUO), Its time for Karamoja to recognize the benefits of women participation in decision making leadership and commit to placing even more women in position of political offices.

Dorothy Chegem, the Program Officer at KAWUO obsevered that women vie for affirmative action  shunning away from directly elected sits   and when they do, most of them run for social affairs, secretariat offices and vice chairpersons.

Mr. James Isreal, Lowal the District community Development Officer (DCDO) Moroto said it is better to engage women into leadership because they’re in better position to raise the issues affecting them.

Lowal also added that although women are represented in the parliamentary positions, there is a need to increase in the district level up to the grass root level.

Prisca Nakiru the vice chairperson for Rupa Sub County says their participation is a fundamental to democratic gorvanace and still have far to go towards equal representation in position of power and leadership.

However Nakiru says as women they face many challenges mostly of land grabbing, domestic violence caused by alcoholism as men takes incharge of every thing at home  which she believes that if women stand up for their rights it will strengthen their communities.

In regards to women’s empowerment, The United Nation analysis has shown that Women are powerful agents of change, and the far-reaching benefits of diversity and gender parity in leadership and decision-making are increasingly recognized in all spheres. Still, women continue to be vastly under-represented in decision-making in politics, businesses, and communities.

Women as leaders and decision-makers at all levels are critical to advancing gender justice and gender equality and to furthering economic, social, and political progress for all.

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Aica Media [pronounced as Aicha- an Ateso word which means Light] is a for profit youth driven media initiative in Uganda, with an aim to advocate for acceleration of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through media. Started in 2019, Aica seeks to inspire media practitioners to leverage their knowledge and resources to advance the SDGs by disseminating facts, human stories and solutions. Aica is authorized to do online data communication and publication by the Uganda Communications Commission and we are a member organization in the Uganda Youth Coalition for SDGs.

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