After a two-year break because of COVID-19, an epidemic that shut down countries and the global economy, the US government has brought back volunteer service in Uganda.
A total of 34 volunteers from the US Peace Corps are in Uganda to work in agribusiness, health, and education. They have taken their oath of service after a month of training in culture and languages to help them fit in with Ugandan communities.
The US Ambassador to Uganda, Ms. Natalie E. Brown, underscored the long-standing friendship between the American people and those of Uganda since the start of the volunteer service in 1963. The envoy was happy that the service was back up and running after a two-year break that caused over 77,000 volunteers around the world to return home.
She commended the Uganda government and other partner organisations for the assistance that had enabled the volunteers to enter Uganda and settle in before training to prepare them for service. She called upon the volunteers to be ready for an indelible experience, but this would, she said, not be devoid of some hardships, and urged them to respect the culture of the communities in which they are to serve.
Fred Bwiino Kyakulaga, who is the State Minister for Agriculture, told the team that they would have his support and a better future to help them achieve their goals of development, peace, and friendship.
He said that the volunteers’ return on the 60th anniversary of Uganda’s independence made him think of what former US President JF Kennedy said to the Ugandan government in 1962, when he welcomed it to a group of free nations.
He said the volunteer service and other assistance by the United States to Uganda was a boost in the country’s effort to lift the standard of the people through agribusiness development, education, and health—sectors the volunteers are going to serve in.
The US remains Uganda’s biggest multilateral donor, with USD 82 million in annual aid in humanitarian assistance alone (USAID), followed by Germany. Most US aid is committed to social sectors in the areas of poverty reduction, education, health, and refugee programs. Much of the funding also goes to democratic assistance programmes.