KAMPALA– From January 30 to February 1, U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Deborah R. Malac visited the Kaabong and Moroto districts to see firsthand how U.S. Government-funded programs are addressing challenges in the Karamoja region. Along with USAID Mission Director Mark Meassick, Ambassador Malac met with local government officials and visited USAID activities focused on food security, the environment, economic growth, and peace and stability.
To kick off her trip, the Ambassador officiated at the launch of a 36 kilometer road, constructed by USAID’s Northern Karamoja Growth, Health, and Governance project and implemented by Mercy Corps. Constructed over the past two years, the road was built to open economic opportunities for the greenbelt regions of western Kotido and Kaabong. Communities are now able to use this roadway to transport goods to market and more easily access services. Connecting the towns of Kacheri in Kotido District to Lobalangit in Kaabong District, the road passes 14 villages along its route.
In her remarks, Ambassador Malac said, “What used to take six hours to drive along a 110 kilometer track will now take less than one hour! Farmers and other merchants will not just be saving precious time, they’ll also be reaping economic benefits thanks to safer and shorter roads that can move their goods to market faster and cheaper than ever before.”
In addition to opening the new road, Ambassador Malac met with several USAID-supported groups including farmers in Karenga and Kamera village; rangers, community scouts, and community development committee members in Kidepo; teachers and tutors at Moroto Teachers College; staff, patients, and peer educators at Moroto Hospital; women and youth leaders in Moroto; and beekeepers in Kamera village. These meetings provided Ambassador Malac with a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the Karamojong and how the U.S. Government is addressing those challenges. Her visit revitalized and renewed ties between the Karamojong and American people.
The U.S. Government, through USAID, has a long history of working in Karamoja to help improve the lives of its people through a broad range of initiatives. USAID has worked in the area to build infrastructure, preserve the environment, enable farmers and herders to improve their agricultural productivity, and improve market access. In addition, USAID programs support communities with maternal and child health services, conflict resolution and governance, and, when needed, food assistance. These efforts help build the healthy, prosperous, and stable future people in Karamoja deserve.