Last year, 2020, we, at CPAR Uganda, were highly optimistic that it would be the year in which we revive and re-grow our organisation, while implementing projects that have direct positive impact on the wellbeing of our constituency – active disadvantaged communities in our geography of operation, the Greater Northern Uganda and Uganda, generally.

And so, when we received news from the University of East Anglia (UEA) that the academic research project that we had co-designed with them had competed successfully and had received a grant award from The British Academy, under its programme “Youth Futures,” we were ecstatic.

Our project “Challenging Categories: Educated Unemployed Youth as Institutional Innovators in Rural Uganda” (Challenging Categories Project), that is led by Dr. Ben Jones of UEA, is exactly the kind of project we desired to re-launch our community programming.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened. At first it ravaged other parts of the world other than Africa and we thought it will be stopped and end soon. We kept hope alive that our Challenging Categories Project would begin in 2020 depending on how quickly the COVID-19 pandemic would be contained and defeated in both the United Kingdom (UK) and in Uganda.

Sadly, throughout 2020, things got progressively worse. This week, however, a couple of days ago, there was a glimmer of hope. Our teams chatted and made plans to schedule the start of our Challenging Categories Project right after the Uganda Presidential and Parliamentary Elections that are scheduled for 14th January 2021.

We thought, surely, we should be able to start in March. And then the discovery in the UK of a new more infections strain of the virus was reported. Shortly afterwards, another lockdown was instituted in the UK.

All this I write so that I may demonstrate how so timely and on point the email that I received this morning from the US Ambassador to Uganda, Natalie E. Brown, was for us. The Ambassador wrote:

“As the New Year begins and the desire to resume normal activities increases, I wish you strength and restraint. I know that doesn’t sound very festive, but we have hung on this long, and relief is coming, although not yet within reach for most of us. Strength and restraint will allow us to keep ourselves safe, protect those we love, and demonstrate the tenacity and courage we all need as COVID infections surge and new and more infectious strains of the virus have emerged.”

Her Excellency Ambassador Natalie E. Brown

The Ambassador also shared with us awesome contextualized tools, such as the profile image to this post – “know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19” and the one here below, “stay one cow apart.”

We pray that relief arrives soon and that the virus shall be contained or better still defeated so that we may resume our normal activities.

By Norah Owaraga, Managing Director

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