Hero Diaries- Simon

Simon passing out fliers in his community to help people understand COVID-19.
Simon in his community
Simon reached out to friends to help him

Simon is a Peace First grantee and creator of the project: Raising Awareness to Combat COVID-19. He is fighting to help rural communities and youth. Simon applied for a Rapid Response grant after he saw the opportunity while conducting an internet search, looking for resources. Simon’s project was created to address the lack of information his community members had about COVID-19. He believes information is power. This is Simon’s story.

“When the spread of coronavirus became rampant, our government introduced many new measures, like the ban on public and private transport which meant that people were forced to stay home. Because of the ban on going to schools, colleges and universities; most of the young people have been home. Some on the streets.

I was quick to look for opportunities and resources to address the prevention of COVID-19 in my area because information about coronavirus was not reaching my community. We are often deprived of information because we cannot access the necessary technology. We also face language barriers and low literacy levels. 

 I came across the Peace First COVID-19 Rapid Response mini-grant on the internet. I first did a quick google search on the website of Peace First to learn about their work and then called my mentor, Mariam, a movement trainer and community organizer from Pakistan and asked her if she knew Peace first. She told me that it’s an organization that deals with young people. I informed her that I was going to apply for a COVID-19 mini-grant and she was excited and recommended me to do so.

I thought it’d be a good idea to spread the message of COVID-19 prevention. I targeted community radio, because they are being listened to during this time more than ever! Despite the poverty levels in the communities of Kawuku, Bwerenga, Bugiri and Kisubi, at least most of the families own radio sets and listen to community radios in the area. I also chose to translate the information and guidelines by WHO in the local languages on 1000 flyers to be distributed to different households. Because of social distancing and safety measures put in place, few people would access this information on billboards and posters. I thought it wise to distribute them to different households using the National Taskforce community, who distribute the food to different families.

 The project has helped the communities to observe the social distance, washing of hands and reporting any related case to the Ministry of health. Since the start of the project, we have not registered any new cases, and people are strictly following the social distancing and the safety measures put in place by WHO.

To be honest, I did not think I would make it as one of the recipients of the grant. It has really helped me grow in my career, community service and leadership. I have learned a number of lessons during this pandemic about response projects, the need to educate people and how to contribute to the well-being of my community. This project has helped me strive to build a better world through education and has helped me understand that young people are the vanguard of society and should take more lead in societal issues.

I have learned about the global movement Peace First is creating to help young people around the world to become powerful peacemakers by investing in their ideas and to grow and discover their goals and dreams in life. Peace First has also helped to grow my capacity in project formulation and management through community calls, and I even had an individual with Eric Dawson.

Peace First has made me realize that I am a champion. I now believe in myself to take on even harder tasks. I have networked with many people, which will help me achieve future opportunities and ambitions. I have learned to have a humanitarian spirit and I am living a purposeful life.