Stephanie Chen is CARE USA”s Policy and Communications Manager traveling in Uganda on a CARE Learning Tour - a comprehensive, multi-day tour for policymakers and those who can influence policy to gain firsthand knowledge of the core issues poor communities face. To learn more about the Learning Tours Program, please visit: www.care.org/learningtours.
Despite a history of conflict and violence, Uganda has emerged as one of Africa's success stories: The country has experienced recent economic growth and impressive strides in reducing poverty and high rates of HIV/AIDS.
For the next three days, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Ambassador Jimmy Kolker of the Department of Health and Human Services, CARE USA CEO Helene Gayle and top executives from UPS are traveling throughout Uganda to learn how key innovations and investments in foreign assistance, particularly those designed to improve the conditions of women and girls in Uganda, have made this progress possible.
These visits will be an opportunity for members of Congress to meet with the families, communities, women and children who benefit from US investments in foreign aid, and to witness firsthand the scope of innovative foreign assistance programs.
Nestled in the Great Lakes region in East Africa, Uganda is a diverse country of 35.8 million people -- a little more than one-tenth of the U.S. population. While Uganda has made many improvements in development, there are still significant challenges facing Ugandans – including access to health services, education and literacy, especially for women.
At the same time, Uganda is a very young country, half the population is under the age of 15 and 75% is under the age of 30, according to Feed the Future, a $3.5 billion pledge from the Obama Administration to tackle food insecurity.
Many of the health services in Uganda were once designed to strictly address the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but an evolution has occurred over the last decade. More health services are beginning to include integrated programs that tackle issues such as maternal health, child nutrition economic development, and literacy. These integrated programs provide a holistic approach to treating the program participants, many of them women.
In Uganda and across Africa, CARE has been partnering with local organizations to incorporate lessons on micro-savings and business development by introducing CARE”s Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) program. Over the next few days, we will see how these comprehensive programs not only save lives, but empower women and offer sustainable solutions to combating global poverty.
We will be sure to bring you stories and photos over the next few days to document our adventure. Stay tuned!