How COVID-19 Impacted on our Livelihood Sources in Uganda. A survey by FRA and Twaweza East Africa
By Gloria Acayo, Program Officer Food Governance
Among many new challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic is the need to protect livelihoods and the economy from the negative effects of lockdown. The lockdown in Uganda is a key part of the national response to the outbreak, and has thus far been highly effective at limiting the impact on people’s health and lives. And yet, when people are asked to stay at home as much as possible, and when transport networks are suspended along with schools, offices, shops and many other businesses, citizens’ livelihoods can suffer from unprecedented strain.
Without work, income drops. Without income, accessing essential products such as food can become difficult. This itself can affect public health. It is important, therefore, that the effects of lockdown on citizens’ livelihoods are monitored as closely as the spread of the virus.
In that regard FRA and Twaweza East Africa undertook a survey entitled “Livelihoods under COVID-19: Citizens’ experiences of food and livelihoods amid the Coronavirus outbreak” the purpose of the survey was to explore the impact of the COVIC 19 on livelihood.
This report presents data on Ugandan citizens’ experiences and views on matters of food, farming and livelihoods under the COVID-19 outbreak. How are citizens’ work lives changing? How are their eating habits and household spending changing? Have they noticed changes in the availability of food? What agricultural activities are they engaged in, and what challenges do they face in doing so? And what coping strategies do citizens have access to in case of struggles for money or food?
According to estimates, 85% of the population did some work paid and unpaid during the lockdown. In the rural areas the number of those who did some work stood at 87% compared to 80% in the urban areas. But 10% of the population in urban areas will have no work to go back to after the lockdown. Thirty-nine percent (39%) will depend on friends and family while the elderly and women hope to solely depend on others for survival.
Forty-one percent (41%) of those operating retail and non-agricultural businesses are no-longer operating of which 27% are completely suspended. Twenty-six percent (26%) reported that their income is insufficient to cover their basic daily needs and those that were surviving on 14,600 per day have reduced to 10,300 in the urban areas while in the rural areas those that were spending 13,100 have reduced to 12,300. Only 12% received support during the lockdown at 24% in the urban areas and 7% in the rural areas. The rich received more support at 16% compared to the poor at 10%.
“Interest yourself to discover more of what has been happening in the country during the lock down”
Source: FRA Study Report