Log in
Updated minutes ago

Reflections on USAID’s activities in the Pearl of Africa

USAID invests a chuck in health services

USAID invests a chuck in health services

I arrived in Uganda in January 2020 ready to lead the USA Embassy’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID) team as we continue our 60+ year mission on behalf of the American people to improve the prosperity, health, education, and democratic aspirations of Ugandan citizens.

As the lead development agency of the USA government, USAID plays a vital role in our diplomatic missions, and pursues our activities with a keen sense of responsibility toward the Ugandan people and to the American public who entrust us with their tax dollars.

A few weeks after my arrival, I made my first trip outside Kampala, travelling to Kabale and Kisoro to visit a project focused on improving resilience. I was particularly impressed with a group of strong young women who had dropped out of school, but who, with our help, had started their own businesses to support themselves.

Since that first trip, I have been just about everywhere in Uganda, meeting people and learning how all of USAID’s interventions help them become more resilient. I met a woman whose life was saved from drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) after receiving special treatment at a TB facility we supported.

I listened to a young woman who, after receiving USAID training, started a business making saucepans and was selling them throughout Uganda and even South Sudan. I danced with Ik villagers on a mountaintop in northern Karamoja to celebrate their partnership with an eco-tourism company establishing an adventure campsite.

USAID’s impact continues to be immense. Just since I arrived in 2020 nearly 500,000 people have emerged out of poverty in the 41 districts where we operate agriculture programs, 4,500 children are now studying in new classrooms we built, 55,000 people now access clean water from community boreholes we dug, and an incredible 5.3 million people are enjoying the liberating power of electricity through our work to connect people to modern energy.

Unfortunately, I have also witnessed a decline in some aspects of Uganda’s progress. Uganda has once again dropped in the Global Corruption Perceptions Index (27 to 26 in 2023). It seems more elected officials, public servants, business owners, and others ignore the religious teachings of all major faiths condemning stealing, lying and cheating.

The Golden Rule to treat others as you wish to be treated has been set aside with the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA). No matter what your moral beliefs are, the AHA is a foreboding sign of deteriorating human and civil rights.

If society allows one group to be singled out for dehumanizing treatment, it can easily turn on other groups with similar treatment-your group might be next. We have also seen a disturbing decline in education.

A recent study revealed that 80% of P2 pupils could not read a single word, yet Uganda continues to spend less on education than any other country in East Africa, except for South Sudan, and is the 11th lowest in all of Africa (based on percentage of GDP). The Information Age is accelerating exponentially, and only people with sufficient education will participate.

Ugandan children are being left behind. What to do? Just as I have seen Ugandans resiliently bouncing back after Covid-19, Ebola, floods, drought, teen pregnancy, etc., I believe Ugandans can overcome these challenges.

It will require courage to speak up about human rights for everyone, it will demand a return to integrity, and it will necessitate reprioritization of the national budget and priorities to strengthen education.

But just as the oyster turns unwelcome grains of sand into precious pearls, Ugandans can turn these challenges into something better-something that truly reflects its nickname, the Pearl of Africa.

The author is the USAID Uganda mission director

Comments

-6 #1 Joe 2024-04-03 19:10
Thank you Director and team at USAID for extending help from American people to Ugandans.

Other development partners should emulate USAID model of extending help directly to deserving folks at the grassroots. As an American tax payer, I am proud of USAID efforts in Uganda and other parts of the world.
Report to administrator
+5 #2 Lysol 2024-04-05 21:53
Quoting Joe:
Thank you Director and team at USAID for extending help from American people to Ugandans.

Other development partners should emulate USAID model of extending help directly to deserving folks at the grassroots. As an American tax payer, I am proud of USAID efforts in Uganda and other parts of the world.


What an ass kisser. Don't you know that they always take more than they give you in returns, moron? Neocolonialism to exploit the resources of Africa.
No, you are not a US taxpayer, otherwise you would not brag about it.
Report to administrator
+5 #3 Lysol 2024-04-06 00:25
Quoting Lysol:
Quoting Joe:
Thank you Director and team at USAID for extending help from American people to Ugandans.

Other development partners should emulate USAID model of extending help directly to deserving folks at the grassroots. As an American tax payer, I am proud of USAID efforts in Uganda and other parts of the world.


What an ass kisser. Don't you know that they always take more than they give you in returns, moron? Neocolonialism to exploit the resources of Africa.
No, you are not a US taxpayer, otherwise you would not brag about it.


Joseph
There are "lokujo" who work for the USA tax authority, the IRS who can easily verify if you're a taxpayer. So, shut the [censored] up!
Report to administrator
0 #4 kabayekka 2024-04-07 22:42
Lysol can you go slow with this gentleman's article. Every body knows very well that the country of America and the rest of our world are all in the struggles of world civilization as it was with the Roman Empire many years ago!

For countries like Japan or China and Saudi Arabia that felt bitter with these imperialists they seem to have formed a bond for their future development. One believes that such African individuals that seem to have taken an interest in USAID projects should be given an opportunity to visit the USA for about six months as it used to be in the 1960s.

Even when many more Africans were invited to visit the USSR(Russia) such opportunities were given. Of course when they come back afterwards, that is when such people will have formed their own perspectives concerning world trade and its civilization!
Report to administrator
-2 #5 kabayekka 2024-04-08 10:40
Lysol surely you sound as one of these Africans who have been denied travel visa to the USA. The USA probably fear your attitudes especially when some of the African and Arabic political extrimists taste the freedoms and rights that are plenty in such countries when they step down in these very independent and more developed countries!

Remember indeed those terrible bygone times for Africans when African governments as well as African colonial governements put a ban for fellow Africans not to visit South Africa during the 50s and 60s.

Unfortunately it gave the Apartheid regimes (1948 to 1994) in that terrible country more time to exist. As global knowledge should be free, USA actually was ever welcoming in its country people of African origin to visit USA as the Cold War was simmering and apartheid and imperialism was also the order of the day at that time in the USA, Britain, and many more Non-African countries!
Report to administrator
0 #6 Lysol 2024-04-08 19:00
Kabayekka!
Based on your last comment, you surely have not read many of my comments on various topics in here. I have never been denied a visa by any country, and have traveled to all corners of the world.

I am not a politician or belong to any organizations or groups. I'm a free thinker who is free to speak my mind independently without fear or seeking favor from anyone.
Report to administrator
0 #7 kabayekka 2024-04-10 06:36
Great that Lysol you are very well travelled in this world. That is what I am saying all along about your comments.

It is very educative to travel about. It is therefore difficult to keep on calling people names of your own. That is why as a black man from Africa, it was always wrong for right wing white fanatics to call black people names of their own making(choice) like black marons, white ass kisser, nigger, banana gorillas, big lipped black monkeys and so on.

Indeed if white people of the imperialist order take from Africa much wealth than they should, well this should be the issue to lobby about during African democratic elections especially when right now Uganda is spending lots of its tax payer's money for its leadership to stay put in state power.

Most African states have a choice how and who should take or share African wealth! We are in constant flux, everlasting change, never stopping.
Report to administrator

Comments are now closed for this entry