Cobati’s work of community care continues as #COVID19 hits #Uganda


(Posted 08th April 2020)

Note that all pictures featured here were taken at COBATI activities BEFORE the social distancing orders came into place.

While there is generally much lamenting, almost amounting to the gnashing of teeth mentioned in the bible, coming out of Uganda’s tourism industry is Maria Baryamujura’s Community Based Tourism Initiative, in short COBATI, rather more upbeat and continuing with her work, albeit in now greater need of financial and material support from well wishers and development partners.

ATCNews has for more than two decades supported COBATI through media coverage and PR activities and when making enquiries how COBATI is faring under the present #COVID19 circumstances, was Maria swift to respond and remind that her past projects and programmes are now coming in handy to support government recommended measures for added hygiene and sanitation:

In response to the current world-wide crisis, we at COBATI are not sitting back in hopelessness, thanks to accessibility of the internet our team are able to keep in touch brainstorming how best to support our partner communities during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal focus is to expand our own network of strategic allies to include Government agencies, local and international NGOs whose activities can be synchronised with those of COBATI.

We revisited some of the community tourism programs and events particularly the hygiene and sanitation awareness campaigns we have conducted to guide our planning. One such campaign was our successful participation in the 2015 Global Handwashing Day event, whose theme was “Raise a hand for hygiene” we hosted over 100 primary school children, involved community members, local government health officials, National Water and Sewerage corporation officers, a community hospital, Media and hospitality sector operators at the COBATI Life Skills Training Center in Mbarara. School children presented their stories about the importance of good hygiene and sanitation practices in homes and schools and displayed placards depicting good hygiene messages around the event venue. At the end, all the children were given hampers of bathing and washing soap and each school a water tank. This was not a one off occasion, hygiene is part of our community training program. Whenever COBATI undertakes development of homestead tourism in a community, cleanliness is a vital component of the training. By the time visitors start coming, proper hygiene and sanitation practices are observed by host families and the entire village. The school children have become our ambassadors in their homes and through them, their mothers are influencers in the community.

We hope the lessons learnt will carry them through the challenging season of COVID-19.

Note that all pictures featured here were taken at COBATI activities BEFORE the social distancing orders came into place.

Thanks Maria and the entire COBATI team for the role you played in past years and continue to play under the present challenging circumstances.

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