CEPAD COVID-19 RESPONSE PRESS RELEASE
Community Empowerment for peace and development (CEPAD) was founded in 2014 in Arua district operating in 3 of the west Nile region (Arua, Maracha and Yumbe) districts. It started as an initiative and is dedicated to the cause of peacebuilding, conflict management and empowerment of communities. Our vision is a prosperous and peaceful society where every person has access to basic human rights and needs. . In March 2020, CEPAD received funding from the German Institution Stiftung Umverteilen to implement the second phase of six (6) months project promoting peaceful co-existence among refugees and between refugees and host community women in Rhino camp settlement specifically Ocea zone. Following the declaration of the country wide lockdown and presidential directives as measures to control the spread of Covid-19 PANDEMIC on 18th March 2020, CEPAD had to temporarily suspend its operations to protect its staff from getting exposed. As things unveil, Many international partners equally halted their operations and even had to repatriate their international staff back home or to safe zones. However due to the emerging issues and needs related to the management and effects of Covid-19, CEPAD got a special request from Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to support the OPM with PPE and respond to surging GBV cases in the settlement. CEPAD responded to the call and reopened its operations on 08th May 2020 and was one of the first local partner to respond to Covid-19 prevention through awareness creation and sensitizing and reporting on SGBV issues which are on the increase as effects of the Covid-19 lockdown.
CEPAD supported OPM Arua, the Government department responsible for disaster and refugee affair with emergency equipment of 10 hand washing facilities, 40 liters of hand sanitizers and 250 pieces of face masks as frontiers in the disaster management.
CEPAD trained 8 of the peace club volunteers on key Ministry of Health messages on Covid-19, UNHCR, OPM guidelines and presidential directives on measure to control the spread of Covid-19. CEPAD also developed key messages on response and referrals paths, GBV alerts, sensitization, and case identification and reporting. The Volunteers worked for two months and were a bale to reach a total of 1626 HH (households), 11,302 People, installed 80 hand washing facilities at households, 04 cases of GBV reported, 2 cases of domestic violence, 5 cases of physical assault, 2 cases of psychological abuse, 2 cases of murder, 2 cases of theft and 1 case of rape reported for further management by concerned partners. It is important that the figures here are only those reported to CEPAD after getting consent of survivors, many more cases remain unreported among the community due to fear and stigma of GBV
CEPAD in collaboration with another local actor CTEN designed, printed and disseminated 200 copies of posters on GBV with key messages and provided a hotline for reporting any cases of GBV during the Covid-19.
CEPAD has distributed additional 100 face masks to refugee and host community beneficiaries during trainings and meetings.
The communities became aware of the causes, spread and prevention of corona virus mechanisms which contributed to efforts of preventing the spread of the disease and as such no covid-19 case was reported in the settlement.
The early detection and early response of GBV and violence cases led to proper coordination and management of case with better outcomes and reduced the risk of escalation of violence.
In the face of disaster, it is very important to manage communication properly which can go a long way to reducing risks and safe lives.
That when disaster like the deadly pandemic strikes, most times it’s the local people/actors that are the first responders and so need to build their capacity to do better.
The covid-19 pandemic offered lessons on need for coordination and doing things differently.