19 People around the World Share How They Prepare for a Post-COVID-19 World

Since its founding in 2015, impactmania always turns to the people who drive cultural, social, and economic impact. We now need their inspiration more than ever. We asked 19 impact makers how they are preparing for the new realities of a post-COVID-19 world.

Robert Katende is the Executive Director of Sports Outreach and the founder of SOM Chess Academy & the Robert Katende Initiative. He is a Ugandan community development practitioner with a master’s degree in International Community Development from Northwest University, USA.

Katende is best known as a mentor to Phiona Mutesi, as portrayed in the 2016 Disney movie, Queen of Katwe. Phiona Mutesi, a teenager from the slums of Kampala, Uganda was inspired by war refugee turned missionary, Robert Katende, who uses sports in his community development work in Africa.

Phiona Mutesi ends up becoming an international chess champion. The Hollywood film, Queen of Katwe, Disney (2016), starred David Oyelowo, who played Robert Katende, and Academy Award winner, Lupita Nyong’o, who played Phiona Mutesi’s mother. 

April 10, 2020

Paksy Plackis-Cheng in Berlin, Germany emailed with Robert Katende in Uganda in East-Central Africa. 

What is your advice for people to prepare themselves for post-COVID?

Believe it or not, this Coronavirus has turned things upside down. The world will never be the same again. In case we successfully triumph over this pandemic, we shall most likely have to restart things. It’s obvious that a number of people are to stay jobless for a while. Some companies have realized that they can still do with little staff or even work virtually thus cutting the operation expenses. This test has come in as a blessing in disguise because it has been a forced one for all and no company or organization has been able to prepare for it. Therefore, people should not expect to go back to their normal life as it has been. Things have taken another turn.

How is this crisis changing you?

For us, community development practitioners, this has informed us on how to emphasize more on self-sustainability and working towards self-reliance for those we serve. It has also informed us that hand-to-mouth kind of work is undependable because this can change any time just as the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us.

What will our story be COVID?

Most likely, it’s going to require a certification of Coronavirus immunization for anyone to travel from one country to another—that’s if we successfully get the vaccine. I also hope and believe that it has informed most political leaders in developing countries on how important it is to develop better medical services in their respective countries instead of relying on being flown to developed countries for those services.

For instance, in the lockdown situation, they all found themselves having no means of going anywhere apart from getting treatment from their countries. 

Robert Katende’s book A Knight without a Castle: A story of resilience and hope (2019) is available on Amazon.


impactmania’s past interviews and programs have been featured in international media, a number of universities, US Consulates, the UN, and have been cited by Harvard Business School, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, and Duke University Press. impactmania’s Women of Impact program was awarded the U.S. Embassy Public Diplomacy grant (2019).