Friday, February 6, 2015

So what's up with Uganda?

The aspect I like best about traveling to foreign countries is meeting people from different cultures and seeing a part of the world I have not been to.  This assignment to Uganda is going to give me 3 weeks in the west central part of the country, which is the size of eastern Montana (94,000 square miles) with 37.5 million people while the entire state of Montana may have reached 1 million this year, to work  with the local population.  The trip is sponsored by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in cooperation with USAID delivering the Farmer to Farmer program to assist in the ongoing economic development in Eastern Uganda.  My particular assignment is to assist the Pakanyi Farmers Cooperative Society in the development of financial statements, their analysis and business planning.  I am hopeful I will be of some assistance to the CO-OP, but am pretty sure going in that I will learn more from them than they will from me.

While I am in country I hope to take advantage of the opportunity to get some sightseeing in.  Being a land locked country, Uganda, is home to the Great lakes of Africa.  Lake Victoria is over 26,000 square miles and over 150 miles wide bordering Kenya.  I will be near Lake Albert in the west which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo.  I will also be near Murchison Falls National Park,Bugungu Wildlife Reserve and Karuma Game Reserve.  I am hopeful I will get a chance to see all of them.  The weather is foretasted to be in the high 90's the entire trip; a very welcomed relief from the Montana winter.  The area I will be at is around 3,200 feet above sea level which is just about the same as Billings, so I am not anticipating any adjustment issues.

The area is relatively calm since the end of the civil war.  The western neighbor, Democratic Republic of  Congo has seen quite a bit of strife over the past few years as well as Nigeria to the North.  There is no sign of Ebola in the country; the last outbreak being in the 2000's. Below I have posted an overview article on Uganda published by the BBC in January of this year.  I hope you will find it will give you some level of insight of the country.

Since the late 1980s Uganda has rebounded from the abyss of civil war and economic catastrophe to become relatively peaceful, stable and prosperous.
In the 1970s and 1980s Uganda was notorious for its human rights abuses, first during the military dictatorship of Idi Amin from 1971-79 and then after the return to power of Milton Obote, who had been ousted by Amin.
During this time up to half a million people were killed in state-sponsored violence.
After becoming president in 1986 Yoweri Museveni introduced democratic reforms and was credited with substantially improving human rights, notably by reducing abuses by the army and the police.

At a glance

  • Politics: Multi-party politics restored in 2005. The opposition accuses President Museveni of authoritarian tendencies
  • Security: Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) forced out of northern Uganda in 2005/06 and has been under military pressure in border regions in recent years
  • Economy: Uganda is vulnerable to changes in the world price of coffee, its main export earner. Oil discoveries have boosted prospects
  • International: Uganda has been actively involved in the DR Congo conflict. LRA leaders are wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes
Country profiles compiled by BBC Monitoring
Western-backed economic reforms produced solid growth and falls in inflation in the 1990s, and the discovery of oil and gas in the west of the country boosted confidence.
The global economic turndown of 2008 hit Uganda hard, given its continuing dependence on coffee exports, and pushed up food prices.
This galvanised the opposition, which disputed Mr Museveni's victory in the 2011 presidential elections and went to to organise street protests about the cost of living and political freedoms.
The president has also come under fire for Uganda's military involvement, along with five other countries, in neighbouring DR Congo's 1998-2003 civil war.
Minerals DR Congo accuses Uganda of maintaining its influence in the mineral-rich east of the country. Uganda says DR Congo has failed to disarm Ugandan rebels on its soil.
Until relatively recently, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in northern Uganda were blighted by one of Africa's most brutal rebellions.
The cult-like Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, began its activities more than 20 years ago and its forces became notorious for abducting children to serve as sex slaves and fighters. At the height of the conflict, nearly two million people in northern Uganda were displaced.
The LRA was forced out of Uganda in 2005/06 and since then has wreaked havoc in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
With the LRA's departure, northern Uganda has undergone a positive transformation. Thousands of former LRA fighters and abductees have left the group and been reintegrated through Uganda's Amnesty Commission.
Some critics have wondered why the conflict went on for so long and questioned Mr Museveni's commitment to ending the insurgency. The government in turn has pointed to progress since 2011, when the US committed itself to tracking down LRA bases in nearby countries.
Uganda has won praise for its vigorous campaign against HIV/Aids. This has helped to reduce the prevalence of the virus - which reached 30% of the population in the 1990s - to single-digit figures.
The country has gained international attention for its hardening anti-homosexual attitudes, culminating in anti-gay legislation introduced in 2014.
Mountaineers on Mount Stanley, Uganda Uganda is home to equatorial glaciers found in the Rwenzori mountains, which form the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo

No comments:

Post a Comment