Christian Aid in Uganda update Jan 2003

News and Press Release
Originally published
Since President Yoweri Museveni came to power in 1986, much of Uganda's economy and infrastructure have been rebuilt following the damage caused by a series of authoritarian regimes and violent conflict.
However, high levels of external debt are diverting essential resources away from education and health services. Economic reforms have also not been as successful as hoped, and poverty remains widespread.

Uganda was the first country to benefit from an enhanced debt relief package (the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, or HIPC), granted in 1998. The money released is being channelled by the government through a Poverty Action Fund (PAF) to ensure that it is spent exclusively on health, education, water and sanitation, agricultural development and rural roads.

Other challenges facing Uganda include HIV/AIDS, corruption and war. The government has signed a peace deal with over 2,000 former soldiers of the exiled former president, Idi Amin, in western Uganda. Many will be integrated into the Ugandan army and others will exchange their weapons for tools. Negotiating peace with the Lord's Resistance Army in the north, however, is proving far harder and terrible human rights abuses continue.

Christian Aid works with nine partners in Uganda, focusing on short- and long-term food needs; sustainable livelihoods; community health care; HIV/AIDS; promoting rights, public accountability; and peace and reconciliation.

Programme news

Christian Aid supports three partners in Northern Uganda where communities are affected by the rebel activities of one of the armed opposition groups in the north, the Lord's Resistance Army. People's Voice for Peace supports those affected by conflict - with medical assistance and counselling - and helps them to advocate for peace. The Concerned Parent's Association calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all abducted children and an end to the use of child soldiers. The Acholi Religious Leaders' Peace Initiative helps communities respond to conflict through lobbying, peace building activities and advocacy.

Christian Aid partner Uganda Change Agents Association is reaching the rural poor in 50 of Uganda's 56 districts with the help of over 2,000 trained volunteers.