UGX 156 Million COVID Relief Funds to Kisoro: Batwa to be Included under Street Children Category
The Kisoro Municipal Council has received a total of 156 million Ugandan shillings meant to cater for 1,560 households under a COVID relief program spearheaded by Ugandan Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja.
Under this program, the Government is expected to deliver cash to vulnerable people who are affected by the second COVID 19 lockdown which started on June 18th 2021.
According to Prime Minister Nabbanja, during the first lockdown when food relief was distributed to the urban poor, the entire project was marred with corruption and accountability issues that have not been resolved to date.
Kisoro Municipal Council Town Clerk Sharifa Nakintu confirmed the development adding that the exercise of compiling data of the beneficiaries has begun.
“We are using a team of officers who are mapping households. These include the Commercial officer, Community development officer, Senior Assistant town clerks, warden agents who are working closely with the local council leadership”, Nakintu explained.
Nakintu further explained that the COVID relief funds of 100,000 Ugandan shillings per individual in Kisoro Municipality is not meant for every vulnerable person but only those who had been doing some form of work pre- lock down and their earning was disrupted.
We are receiving people coming in from villages where they have plenty of food also demanding to be included. We shall not consider such people, this money is meant for the Urban poor, those who are living in town and do not have access to gardens and their livelihoods were disrupted due to the lock down”, said Nakintu
The individuals and groups to benefit will come from the areas of Mu-line, Kisoro Hill, Mikingo, Karumena, Kekuboho and Russia.
She noted that all beneficiaries must have a National Identification Number (NIN) alongside a verifiable telephone contact on which the money will be deposited.
Nakintu explained that those without telephone numbers will most likely receive their money through the Post Bank.
Groups to Benefit
According to a circular dated June 30th 2021 from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social development written to all town clerks of cities and Municipalities, the categories to benefit are people who depend on daily income in urban areas.
- Bus/ taxi drivers, conductors,
- Baggage carriers,
- Wheelbarrow pushers, touts, loaders in taxi, bus parks,
- Barmen, DJs, Barmaids,
- gym and restaurant workers,
- Food vendors in Bus, taxi parks
- Boda boda riders
- Salon, Massage Parlor workers,
- Teachers and Support staff in Private Schools, Teachers in Government schools not on Government payroll,
- Car Washers,
- Ghetto residents
- Shoe shiners
- Street children.
Nakintu noted that during the mapping exercise, it was observed that some vulnerable groups in Kisoro do not reflect on the above mentioned list which has necessitated that some adjustments be made.
“We do not intend to include market vendors because they still have daily markets operating in Old, New Markets, Rusiza and Mugatimba. We shall not consider bar owners because majority of them have capacity to sustain themselves, said Nakintu
She further noted that once Verification of all beneficiaries is completed, the list of names will be put up on all notices boards at the different Municipal offices for the public to see, starting June 5th 2021.
Judith Nyirabikari, a resident of Kisoro hill, South ward, Kisoro Municipality is one of the Batwa who was registered for COVID relief funds.
A mother of four children said she does not own a mobile phone and neither does her husband. She hopes that the Government can keep its promise and send the money which can help her buy food and soap.
Nyirabikari’s plight of not owning a mobile phone is common among the Batwa living in Mikingo Village adjacent to the Kisoro Magistrates’ court.
During a visit to their community, it was observed that the majority of the Batwa owned National Identity cards.
The Senior Community Development Officer for Kisoro Municipality Front Birungi said the Batwa, especially those who had been working as Porters on buildings, those who have been collecting rubbish as well as those who have been touts will be considered for COVID relief funds.
Birungi Front explained that the old registers during the first lockdown cannot be relied upon because the majority of the people who were assisted by the Government with food either moved to other places or cannot be easily traced.
He further noted that the majority of the people who have been identified do not own personal mobile phones.
“We had to compile a new list of people because the old registers were not reliable. We intend to engage the stakeholders including the LCIII chairpersons, assistant town clerks and the RDC to help us scrutinize the list to ensure transparency and effective service delivery”, Birungi explained.
Registration Assistant at NIRA Kisoro branch Yunus Kyomukama believes that the mobile money project from the Government that has since been dubbed “Nabbanja money” will have several challenges especially in Kisoro Municipality because many people do not have their national IDs.
Kyomukama said over 10,000 people are yet to collect their national IDs.
“Kisoro Municipality is one of the biggest sub counties in Kisoro with over 130,000 people, majority of whom do not have their national IDs and worse still many do not own mobile phones, those with phones have them registered in other people’s names”, said Kyomukama.
The COVID relief funds will be sent to people’s mobile phones starting July 6th 2021.