The Impact of the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic on Northern Ugandan Communities

The heavy impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on OECD countries shows the vulnerabilities of highly developed health care systems in countries with advanced infrastructure. The impact of the pandemic on Low and Middle Income Countries is likely to be disastrous. In the impoverished rural Northern Uganda, in societies that rely on extensive social contact, self-isolation coupled with lack of ability to sustain livelihoods due to economic inactivity, the pandemic will amplify poverty and vulnerabilities and in the absence of social and welfare provision resilience building is essential for post-crisis recovery.

Whilst we cannot create the physical infrastructure to support the community, we can put in place a basic digital infrastructure and link our research insights into societal challenges in post-conflict Lango and Acholi to build the capacity in a specific war-affected population to use it to the benefit of the larger community in this health crisis in a fragile post-conflict society.

The vision for this project which combines the need for a rapid response to the challenges of lockdown/isolation/restricted movement with a concerted effort of capacity building for one of the most vulnerable groups of young people in Northern Uganda. This will be delivered through a group of young adults, born in captivity, who participated in the ‘In the Name of the Father’ project (documentary dance project with strong capacity building elements) to become champions and tell their stories – past, present and future, by amplifying their own experience of overcoming adversity and resilience building. In order to be able to do this the group needs the necessary skills to tell their stories and a powerful medium to carry the stories. The long-term vision is to provide the group with both:

Together with international experts in the area the plan is for the group to co-create a Virtual Reality (VR) film. The group will participate in every step of the process, from the project planning stage up to the post-production and launch stage. The focus of this proposal is to work with the group on this vision, but at the same time to support the group in this rapidly unfolding health crisis in a way that will help local communities overcome the inevitable consequences of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Uganda.

As such, the project is a capacity-building project that combines addressing the current pandemic-induced challenges with the seed activity that will build the capacity for a more sustainable ambitious project in which their performance art project (led by Professor Sabine Lee) can be disseminated in an income-generating and community-building film artefact with potential to be used by local NGOs as well as educators with interest in resilience-building.

Objectives of the project

Building capacity with the group in the following areas:

  • Making you voices heard through multi-media training
  • Using state of the art office software
  • Successful planning of projects
  • Participating sustainably in economic activities

Building capacity with the local impact fellow:

  • Online project planning
  • Setting up and managing hardware and state of the art office software
  • Use of online collaboration platform
  • Management of online collaboration platform

For any enquiries regarding this project please contact:

Dr Christoph Biehl,
Centre for Responsible Business,
Birmingham Business School,
University of Birmingham

Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5257

Chris Biehl web profile

Dr Christoph Biehl

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