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Food starts to reach hungry LGBT Ugandans stranded by lockdown

Food starts to reach hungry LGBT Ugandans stranded by lockdown

Emergency food deliveries have started to get through to LGBT Ugandans, sex workers and human rights defenders who were left stranded and hungry by the nation’s Covid-19 lockdown.

Emergency food distribution in Uganda: Ms Leah Munokoh of DPI, at left, gives out food to vulnerable community members. (Photo courtesy of DPI)

Defenders Protection Initiative (DPI), a Ugandan non-profit that ordinarily focuses on strengthening the capacity of human rights organizations, has began giving out food and supplies to Ugandan LGBTIQ community members, sex workers and human rights defenders amid worsening countrywide food shortages resulting from the  Covid-19 lockdown.

To make its deliveries of  food and essential anti-Covid items, DPI is leveraging the knowledge it learned about supply distribution during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown.  The organization’s vehicle has been given government clearance to move through lockdown security points.

Uganda is under a 42-day lockdown announced by President Yoweri Museveni to curb an upsurge in Covid-19 infections and deaths. The lockdown includes the closure of schools and open markets, suspended church services, and some travel limits. In the past, security forces and the police have been accused of arbitrary arrest and shaming LGBTIQ members during lockdowns.

Recently transgender rights defenders  issued a desperate appeal for food for the transgender community amid the ongoing  countrywide lockdown.

Ms Leah Munokoh, legal and protection executive at Defenders Protection Initiative

“Drawing from the experience of the lockdown from the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, and the drastic challenges faced by our constituencies in line with food shortage, lack of access to health services, restricted  movements  to the general public, we deemed it prudent to reach out to Key populations in Uganda,” Ms Leah Munokoh, the legal and protection executive at Defenders Protection Initiative said Tuesday in Kampala.

Demand for food remains strong, with only limited resources to reach out to those in need countrywide, she said.

“We have so far reached out to only 20%, whereas 80 % of the total percentage of the vulnerable community  is still in dire need of food and PPEs (Personal Protection Equipment) supplies including face masks, face shields and medical infrared thermometers,” she said.

“We encourage more partners to come on board [as supporters of food and Covid-19 supply distribution efforts] as a national third wave of Covid-19 is predictable,” Munokoh said.

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People interested in donating should write to Munokoh at or to DPI Executive Director Yona Wanjala at for information about how to do that.

Uganda Health and Science Press Association Executive Director Kikonyogo Kivumbi (second from left, the author of this article) after a meeting July 26 in Kampala with Yona Wanjala (right), executive director of Defenders Protection Initiative, on how to find food for vulnerable Ugandans countrywide. Also at the meeting were DPI officials Leah Munokoh (far left) and Hellen Namyalo (second from right) (Photo courtesy of DPI)

Human rights defenders express gratitude for the supplies

Supporters of vulnerable Ugandans gave thanks to DPI for the deliveries:

  • Women Positive Empowerment Initiative (Wopein Uganda) — “In efforts of building resilience amidst the pandemic, Defender’s Protection Initiative supported Wopein Uganda with food relief to help our members who are on ART [anti-retroviral therapy] and PrEP [Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis]. Thanks to DPI,”  Ms Lilian Namiiro from Wopein stated on social media.
  • Child of the Sun Foundation (Cosf Uganda) — “Today [we] received some Covid relief from our partner organization Defenders Protection Initiative @DPI for our shelter members. Thank you for the giving a hand in this pandemic and lockdown. The relief has been received by our executive director Mr. Henry Mukiibi.” Cosf Uganda
  • Happy Family Youth Uganda — “[The DPI team] visited us at the shelter and donated food stuff for the shelter members. Thank you, DPI.”  Happy Family Youth Uganda
Some of the recipients of food aid from DPI. (Photo courtesy of DPI)

Editor’s note: Due to stigma and discrimination, faces of recipients of food and supplies are not visible in photos published here in order to avoid outing them in the communities where they live.

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