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Congressional Delegation Travels with CARE to See How U.S. Investments in Uganda are Promoting Regional Stability and Economic Empowerment

Photo credit: Ilan Godfrey/CARE
Photo credit: Ilan Godfrey/CARE

WASHINGTON (Aug. 19, 2019) — Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Chris Coons (D-DE) traveled with CARE to see how U.S. investments and partnerships are supporting economic opportunities and improving social conditions for refugees, women and children in the region. In addition to CARE’s president and CEO, Michelle Nunn, the delegation included staffers from the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; a former major general of the U.S. Marine Corps; and representatives from Humanity United, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the media.

Uganda, a central-east African landlocked country of immense geopolitical importance, is currently grappling with weak development indicators and a contracting economy with high rates of youth unemployment – a major concern for the stability of the country given nearly 49 percent of the population is presently under the age of 15. Almost one in five Ugandans remain trapped in chronic poverty and a third of all children under five are too short for their age, a symptom of chronic food insecurity and malnutrition.

Often touted as the most welcoming country in the world to refugees, Uganda has taken in more than 1.2 million refugees from six different countries – mostly women and children – who are in search of safety from regional conflict, political violence and famine. Yet, to maintain stability, international investments must support a refugee response model that is focused on providing comprehensive services, community integration for refugees and investments in sustainable development for host communities.

From site visits focused on refugee response, to stability-building and empowerment of both refugee populations and the surrounding Ugandan host communities, the delegation learned how international investments are supporting development programs and maintaining peace in a county located in the middle of a volatile conflict that has taken in the 5th largest refugee population in the world. During the trip, the delegation also met with Deborah Ruth Malac, the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, and Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister of Uganda.

“Last week, we saw firsthand how U.S. foreign aid is helping to lift families out of poverty, promote stability, and create more resilient and prosperous communities in East Africa – a region of the world that has profound implications for America’s security and global leadership,” said Sen. Coons. “At just one percent of our federal budget, foreign aid is a critical investment that reflects the best of our values and makes the world – and the United States – safer. It must continue to be a priority.”

Throughout the trip, the group explored how U.S. investments in humanitarian assistance, food and nutrition security and women’s empowerment are having a sustainable impact and building a brighter future for families and communities in Uganda and the region.

“The best way to see the impact of America’s investments abroad is first hand, said Sen. Van Hollen. “Traveling to Uganda provided us the opportunity to meet with local Ugandans, government officials, aid workers, and refugees. Through these encounters, we were able to clearly see the value of America’s leadership in humanitarian aid and the benefits of our strong partnerships with international and non-profit organizations. From providing food and nutrition security, to supporting refugees fleeing violence and oppression, to CARE’s programs empowering women, these efforts save lives, generate goodwill, provide greater stability, and promote American interests in a volatile part of the world. As home to the largest population of refugees in Africa, Uganda has developed a unique model for how to effectively support people fleeing violence in South Sudan and other neighboring countries. As we debate our own refugee policies, it was instructive to learn about the welcoming approach taken by a country with far fewer resources than the United States. Our discussion with the Ugandan Prime Minister and our meetings with our team from the U.S. Embassy were critical reminders of the importance of American efforts to combat extreme poverty, disease, and instability. Our investments not only help relieve suffering, but also support our security interests by promoting greater stability in turbulent areas. We must not retreat from our vital leadership role in the world.”

Participants in CARE’s August 2019 Learning Tour to Uganda included: 

  • Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)
  • Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
  • Michael Callesen – Professional Staffer, Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Majority Staff)
  • Dr. Corey Holmes – Professional Staffer, House Foreign Affairs Committee (Majority Staff)
  • Major General Paul Kennedy (ret.)
  • Maria Kisumbi – Senior Associate, Policy and Government Relations, Humanity United
  • Teresa Krug – Freelance Journalist
  • Matthew Nims – Deputy Director, Office of Food for Peace, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Michelle Nunn – President and CEO, CARE USA
  • David Ray – Vice President of Advocacy, CARE USA
  • Melysa Sperber – Director, Policy & Government Relations, Humanity United

Click here for more information on CARE’s Learning Tours.

About CARE:
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. That’s why women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to confront hunger, ensure nutrition and food security for all, improve education and health, create economic opportunity and respond to emergencies. In 2018, CARE worked in 95 countries and reached more than 56 million people around the world.

Media Contact: 
Nicole Ellis, +1-202-595-2828, nicole.ellis@care.org

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