Sunday, June 16, 2013

U.S Embassy Visit - Julien Lamberto


After our interesting visit at the coffee processing plant our journey took us to familiar territory at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala, Uganda. Once we arrived at the U.S. Embassy I immediately noticed a difference in the security measures as well as the building architecture. There were multiple security checkpoints, which was something many areas of Uganda lacked and the architecture was very well assembled. After traversing the multiple security checkpoints our class was greeted by one of the Foreign Service Officers stationed at the U.S. Embassy. One of the first things I noticed after entering the building was the air conditioned rooms - something that had become foreign to me after weeks of the natural heating and cooling provided by African nature.
All of the funds that are used by the U.S. which go towards sustainability are brought to bear by agencies such as U.S.A.I.D. and the C.D.C. and so the U.S. has no direct say in how the funds are allocated. Because of the effectiveness of this model, several other donors that wish to contribute towards Uganda's continued growth and avoid the risk of misallocation of funds have turned to the U.S. and their model of aid that has worked quite effectively in distributing foreign aid while avoiding the misappropriation of these funds. The projects that the U.S. currently focuses on are many and widespread all of which share the same end goal of promoting sustainability within Uganda. For example, the U.S. through U.S.A.I.D. has invested significant funds to develop HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment centers, other areas of support focus on development of Uganda's rich agricultural resources that can be used more productively if sold in foreign markets. The health measures that the U.S. is implementing through agencies such as the C.D.C. and U.S.A.I.D. promote the development of a more equitable social and economic atmosphere within Uganda because people can focus on more than just surviving their illness, they can start businesses, they can farm, in sum, they can become self-sustaining. This also ties into the viability aspect of sustainability because if a population is plagued by illness, preserving the environment will likely be on the bottom of their priority list and so by addressing the issue of HIV/AIDS within Uganda you also strengthen economic and environmental viability. This also ties into bearability because if someone is sick with illness they cannot farm which is a huge part of Ugandan culture and lifestyle and is an inextricable part of their everyday lives, but if an individual is sick they will be unable to farm properly and so the social and environmental situation becomes unbearable. All of these are addressed by U.S. efforts within Uganda, but there is still much work that needs to be done as the Ambassador himself claimed.

7 comments:

  1. I apologize for the late delay. As you all know, finding an internet connection was difficult and this difficulty was worsened for those of us who lacked a computer while in country. But the question that I would like to pose for the students of the 2013 Uganda trip is: Based on our discussion with the U.S. Ambassador and his colleagues, have U.S. efforts within Uganda been effective up until this point? Is there anything that could be done to improve these efforts?

    The second question that I'd like to pose to the group concerns the role of the U.S. in curbing corruption within Uganda, which is perhaps the most prominent issue that Uganda currently faces. Do you think that the U.S. is actually trying to end corruption within Uganda, or if met with the option between economic gain and securing political freedoms for the Uganda people, is it reasonable to assume that the U.S. would choose profit over what is best for Uganda and her people?

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  2. Interesting questions, Julien. I was extremely impressed with the amount of work the US is doing to aid Uganda. I had no idea the extent to which America was invested in the health and safety of Ugandans. I think I first noticed this when we were at TASO and they thanked us for paying our taxes. I think US efforts have been rather effective and impressive, and we are doing a great job of helping Ugandans help themselves. We don't just give the money to the government and say "good luck!". It is very good that we help support NGOs that are causing the real change in Uganda (like TASO) because of the corruption in government, it is not very intelligent to just give the government money.

    Something I wish I knew more about was where WE get the money to give to Ugandans. I know our country is already extremely in debt, and I am just interested in seeing where we get the money we are giving to other countries.

    I think because we are helping these NGOs and not just giving money to the government we show that America does not support the corrupt government of the US and more so, we support the people. As I've seen in the past month: Ugandan people are incredible. They are so wonderful. And I am glad that America recognizes that.

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