As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Cycle Connect team is offering weekly updates in the form of “Last Mile Dispatches in 3, 2, 1”, a weekly blog post that highlights the 3 most telling data points, the 2 most important decisions, and the #1 most informative story that we are hearing through our work on the ground in Uganda during COVID-19. Tune in every Friday.
March 30th to April 3rd, 2020: Digest in 3, 2, 1
The 3 most telling DATA POINTS:
40- Cycle Connect team members repurposed. Our field officers are pivoting into a support call center providing healthcare + food security training while also gathering data on clients’ situations at this time. Our operations department is interviewing health clinics, and, our innovations team is auditing the data collection and research process.
Zero- private vehicles, motorcycle taxis, and public vehicles allowed on the road due to government restrictions. Transportation is effectively shut down, further cutting off remote last-mile communities.
Two – speeches where the President of Uganda promoted bicycles in one week. Amidst the severe travel ban in Uganda, the president is promoting the use of bicycles saying “with a bicycle, you are by yourself”.
The 2 most important DECISIONS:
1.Use our reason for existence as our north star during the pandemic. We exist to ensure that last mile communities can get access to unlock opportunities. Our mission is focused largely on our day-to-day, but our reason for existence is a tenant throughout the organization and is most applicable now in the wake of COVID-19.
2.Partner with a local healthcare organization, One Day, to have them review our health-related training material that is going out to our clients and additionally to provide guidance on how to get in touch with other clinics to understand how we can help them.
The #1 most informative STORY:
5 prospective clients, including Oneka Michael, showed up at our office to try to secure assets before we closed our doors.
On the last day that our office was open, March 27th, our team received visits from five different prospective clients who were trying to secure assets before we halted our operations. One of these visits was from Oneka Michael, a client of Cycle Connect who received oxen and plow on loan. Michael came by the office hoping to apply for another oxen loan to help him open up more land at this critical time.
In Uganda, planting is supposed to begin by the end of April but due to the government restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, many farmers are unable to access the tools they need to begin planting. And, in this time of economic and health uncertainty, food security has become even more critical–putting added pressure on smallholder farmers to perform.
Hundreds of our clients are voicing the same concerns as Michael–they need tools to begin planting and they need them fast. With the transportation ban in Uganda putting a halt to all public and private transport, our delivery services to the last mile are more important now than ever. Our team is in liaison with government officials to get the necessary permission to continue our work of equipping rural households with transformational assets during this pivotal time.