USAID 50th Anniversary
USAID and Uganda: Celebrating Our Shared Values - Click here for the video.
November 3rd marked the 50th anniversary of U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s creation of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Whether it is vaccinating children against preventable diseases, improving crop yields, or responding to disasters, USAID has been a force for progress not only in Uganda, but in 100 other countries, fostering a more peaceful and secure world.
A year after the United States Foreign Assistance Act was signed into law in 1961, USAID started projects in Uganda. USAID's arrival coincided with Uganda's independence, and USAID partnered with the government to lay the foundation for growth. From the start, USAID focused on empowerment and skills training, research, technology, and innovation--core themes that are still relevant today.
In the 1960s, USAID built the Tororo Girls School to give rural girls access to quality education. It broadened the curriculum and trained women teachers and leaders. Many
, of the school's graduates have left a distinct mark on history. Former Education Minister Hon. Namirembe Bitamazire, for instance, was Tororo Girl's School's first Ugandan headmistress.
To advance new ideas in farming, USAID worked side-by-side with the people of Uganda to build agricultural institutes and colleges. USAID partnered with Makerere University to find new seed varieties to help farmers make more money and pay for their children’s school fees. USAID trained Ugandans to grow flowers, and built a cold storage facility so farmers could deliver their products to European markets. The success of Uganda’s flower industry can be traced directly to these early USAID programs. Later, USAID sent students to Ohio, Kansas, and Michigan for advanced degrees to learn modern farming methods. Many returned to take on great responsibility in government. Professor Ephraim Kamuntu, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, was among the students sponsored by the U.S. Mission.
USAID worked with the Ugandan Government to design policies, regulations and institutions that would position it for robust growth. The success of a growing economy also depended on the transparency and predictability provided by democracy and the rule of law. USAID supported the Ugandan Government as it decentralized power and decision-making in the 1990s. It helped to strengthen the capacity of local service delivery, and continues to promote citizen participation and enhance governance apparatus.
In the face of the global threat from HIV/AIDS, USAID brought a sense of urgency and focus to health, providing funds and building the capacity of many local organizations --including the AIDS Support Organization and the Joint Clinical Research Center-- that have matured into international centers of excellence. Today, the American people, through USAID, provide life-extending medicine, enabling mothers to deliver HIV-free babies.
USAID is a leading donor in the reconstruction of Northern Uganda under the Government of Uganda’s Peace Recovery Development Plan. For example, for the war-affected children and youth, USAID has offered tools and training to gain better access to income-generating activities.
Today, USAID’s Uganda program is among the largest in sub-Saharan Africa and includes projects to support each of the U.S. Mission’s foreign policy objectives in peace and security, governing justly and democratically, health and education, and economic growth. USAID assistance to Uganda is approximately $320 million out of a total of over $600 million from the United States in 2011, .
Moving forward, USAID is reinventing itself to become more innovative, entrepreneurial, and results-driven, by pioneering new forms of cooperation with donor partners, private enterprises, and civil society.
On behalf of USAID Uganda, the Mission staff would like to thank the Ugandan people for their partnership and friendship. They have helped transform President Kennedy's noble vision into a reality. USAID will continue to reflect shared values, and promote a world that is peaceful, prosperous, democratic and respectful of human rights and human dignity.