By Arthur Arnold Wadero, E K Benj & Ritah Kemigisha updated at 7:00 EAT on Thursday 09th February 2023
The United States government has revealed that it spent Shs3.4 trillion on supporting various development programmes in Uganda in 2021.
While unveiling the ‘Report to the Ugandan People’ at the Embassy House in Kampala yesterday, US Ambassador to Uganda Natalie E Brown stated that her government places key emphasis on bettering the lives of Ugandans.
“In 2021, we provided assistance valued at $930 million or more than Shs3.4 trillion for Ugandan people and Ugandan communities,” Ambassador Brown said.
However, she emphasised that “while these figures are significant, the story of America’s partnership with the Ugandan people is not of dollar figures but of lives impacted.”
“You may not always see our flag on large buildings or billboards, but thanks to the United States’ investment, millions of Ugandans are living healthy, learning better, earning more, and participating more fully in their communities,” she explained.
The report that was originally scheduled for release in December last year but was postponed due to effects of the Ebola outbreak shows that the Shs3.4 trillion was invested in health, justice and democracy, and education and security, among others.
“Today, more than 1.3 million Ugandans living with HIV are receiving life changing ARV treatment through PEPFAR. With ARV treatment, they can pursue their education, start a family, build a career, prevent infection, and expect to enjoy a long, healthy life,” Ambassador Brown said.
Ambassador Brown also said her government places emphasis on transparency and accountability.
“Let me be clear; every dollar the United States invests in Uganda is held to its highest standards of oversight,” she said.
The report chronicles the US government’s unwavering partnership with Uganda for the last 60 years.
“In 2021, the I.S orphans and vulnerable children programme reached more than 430,000 children and their caregivers through its activities. These services were provided to 89,000 vulnerable households in 79 districts,” the reports states in part, adding: “Approximately 87,000 children and their caregivers received food and nutrition support, while 126,000 accessed health services, and 28,221 accessed educational support in form of school materials and group-based tutoring.”
The report also shows that about1.3 million doses of malaria drugs were availed to Ugandans while another 2.8 million couples were supported to receive family planning.
On the democratic front, USAID equipped 237 civil society organisations and human rights defenders with safety and security skills and provided legal aid services to 1,625 individuals.
To help Uganda scale up its food security measures, the reports states that “US-supported smallholder and farmers’ groups were connected to grain traders, government school feeding programmes and the refugee markets where they sold assorted food commodities worth nearly Shs45 billion.”
On closure of UN Rights office
Amb Brown also expressed concern over the decision by the Kampala government to end the mandate of the United Nations Human Higher Commissioner for Human Rights office in Kampala. She warned that no society can advance if they do not observe human rights. “It is worrisome whenever human rights are not respected whether it is in Uganda or African continent or even in the US, we are now seeing it with the Russia war in Ukraine, the mass violation of human citizen rights,” she said.
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