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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

U.S. Embassy

Our stop at the United States Embassy located in Kampala, Uganda was an informative session discussing U.S.– Ugandan relations. At our arrival, we were led through multiple security procedures to ensure the safety of the ambassador and his staff. Unfortunately, because of the extensive security, we were unable to have electronic devices and were prohibited from taking photographs. It was a change of pace to see a westernized building after spending almost two and a half weeks in Ugandan buildings constructed of cement and clay. Nonetheless, the compound was well-manicured representative of the U.S. government. Continuing, we walked to our conference room where we eagerly awaited the arrival of Ambassador Scott DeLisi.

Ambassador DeLisi is currently serving as the ambassador to Uganda and has served as a foreign serviceman for the last 33 years. DeLisi’s talk focused on the struggles that are currently presenting themselves in the relationship between the United States and Uganda. Following the debate and passage of the Anti-homosexuality Act, the relationship has been strained due to the observed human rights violations. 

In addition, the U.S. government has and is currently pouring large amounts of aid into the Uganda healthcare sector but is seeing little effort by the Ugandan government to create a sustainable model to take over the sector and relieve its dependence on foreign aid. In general, the U.S. government seeks to preserve basic human rights around the world and is fulfilling its quest by decreasing HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in Uganda and by investing in the well being of mothers and the circumcision of males. Lastly, Ambassador DeLisi emphasized the difficulty in working with a government that is known for large amounts of corruption. By realizing the corruption within the government, the United States focuses its monetary donations towards organizations. For now, the relationship between the Uganda government of the United States government is being maintained on a friendly level; however, only time will if differing values will jeopardize this relationship.


  1. Jessica - Awesome post! I really enjoyed our time at the embassy and found it very interesting to learn just how much of the healthcare budget in Uganda is funded by the United States and other partners. As Delisi mentioned - it's necessary that Uganda eventually stand mostly on its own, but at this point, it would be unethical for the US to cut funding to HIV/AIDS support programs, malaria treatments, etc. Finding the balance between helping another country and empowering them to become independently sustainable with the challenge of government corruption is incredibly difficult!

  2. I found this session very informative and it put a great perspective on Uganda's sustainability. I agree with both Jessica and Carly's comments. As of right now, Uganda could not stand on its own so it would be very detrimental to pull aid. It will be interesting to see how long it will take for Uganda to be self-sustainable. I feel as though they have the vision, but need a different prescription to see it more clearly. They know the end result, but not the path to get there.

    It was also nice to be back in America for an hour ;)

  3. Love this! The US Embassy visit was a highlight for a lot of the students and it was awesome getting the chance to talk to Mr. DeLisi! It was crazy to learn just how much money the US government gives to Uganda every year in Aid and how much we fund the Ugandan health care system. Even though we give them 3/4 of a billion dollars every year, it is still only 1% of the US budget. Like you said, the biggest challenge we face with that is making their health care sustainable and getting the Ugandan government to commit and become more independent in providing aid to their own country- especially supporting HIV/AIDS support groups.

  4. Like other people have said, I thought Mr. DeLisi really put into perspective the complicated way in which the U.S. has to balance humanitarian aid with not providing donations in a way that allows the Ugandan government to be able to avoid prioritizing health themselves. He called it an "ethical and moral mortgage", which I thought was an interesting way of looking at it. Overall, I was really reassured and proud that the U.S. seems to be genuinely prioritizing the good of the Ugandan people.

  5. I particularly liked the presentation the ambassador's aid gave on USAID, an organization I knew nothing about. The goals of USAID are peace and security, democratic governance, investing in people, economic growth, and humanitarian aid. It was interesting to see what specifically the organization was trying to achieve. In addition, I was intrigued by the foreign service agent's description of her life and how she must move every two years and raise her kid in new places. Although an exciting life no doubt, it is a job for which one must make great sacrifices.

  6. Great post Jessica. You bring up great comments about how the U.S. supports the healthcare sector so much yet the Ugandan government has not tried to get off this aid. Reliance on healthcare funds from other nations I think can limit the growth of Uganda as a country. Some countries may want more in return than the United States for providing aid to Uganda.