Ambassador Visits Gulu USAID Office
The scene in the city of Gulu, Uganda, changed slightly June 21 when the very first United States Agency for International Development office opened within the Bank of Uganda.
The U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Steven Browning, representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Uganda and government officials from Gulu were just some of the many visitors on hand to celebrate this historical moment.
“USAID has a large presence in northern Uganda because they give approximately $100 million a year to development projects, democracy building projects and to the United Nations to support the persons who have been displaced from their home villages,” said Army 1st Lt. Ben Sklaver, team leader for Bravo Co. 489th Civil Affairs Battalion Team A16.
According to Christine Gottschalk, head of the Gulu office, having a constant presence in northern Uganda will help them better connect with other organizations.
“This is an opportunity for us to do many things such as help non-governmental organizations get in contact with the CA team, better monitor our services and coordination between partners and help different project sections link up better for greater impact,” she said.
Since the tyranny of distance is quite impressive in Africa, the new location will allow for close coordination and better teamwork.
“Being able to work closely with them ensures that we don’t repair boreholes that someone else has agreed to repair and that others do not spend money on a project that we’ve already completed,” said Skalver. “It’s going to be nice to have face-to-face meetings with USAID instead of making a phone call or sending an E-mail.”
For Steven Browning, U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, the Gulu office is a great way to let those of northern Uganda know that we’re here to help and get them back on their feet.
“This is a major advance for us,” he said. “It shows our commitment to the redevelopment and reconstruction of the north is solid and USAID is here until the job is finished.”