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Country Leadership and Partnership for Food Security in Uganda

I just returned from a two-day High-Level Business Meeting in Kampala, Uganda. The business discussed was food security – specifically, the Government was seeking feedback and support for its plan to address food security through agriculture-led development.

Food security leaders in Kampala, Uganda. Photo Credit: Fred Mukasa

This was a unique experience where I saw what the term “country-led” really means in practice. The Government of Uganda developed its food security plan, known more formally as the Agriculture Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan, or DSIP, under the auspices of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), an Africa-led and Africa-owned initiative geared towards growing economies and alleviating poverty. The Government led the process in developing the DSIP, but the product we are discussing today would not have been possible without real partnership with local farmers’ organizations, civil society organizations, the private sector, development partners, and other stakeholders, all of whom were represented at the meeting.

The Honorable Hope Mwesigye, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, described the importance of this partnership best, “We shall not implement [the DSIP] alone; we have you as our partners in the journey.”

Later on the meeting, the findings of an independent technical review of the DSIP were presented and each group of stakeholders provided substantial feedback to the government on the plan. I was impressed to see that instead of a closed-door meeting, the Government led an open floor discussion with the entire audience until all major issues were worked out!

Working with such a broad array of partners is not easy, and the day was certainly not without tensions and heated discussions. But the spirit of transparency and cooperation prevailed and by the end of the first day of the meeting, the group had a reached consensus on a roadmap to move forward.

On the second day, the Ugandan Government reaffirmed their commitment to fund 75 percent of the DSIP using existing resources. In concert, high-level officials from development agencies and donors formalized their partnership with the Government of Uganda by committing to align their support with the DSIP and work together with the country towards the shared goal of combating hunger, undernutrition and poverty and achieving Millennium Development Goal 1 . Through the Business Meeting, the Government and their partners exemplified the principles of country leadership and partnership, which all parties have agreed to continue.

From the Field

In Nicaragua, we are we are launching the Maternity House Project.  A network of maternity houses, located in rural communities, will provide pregnant women from remote areas a place to stay during the last month of pregnancy.  This will facilitate access to child delivery inside a formal health facility.  The women will also receive additional prenatal care as part of the program.

In Benin, we are hosting a ceremony for the first national training of the teachers who are participating in Teacher Training Colleges (TTC).  The TTCs involve a three week intensive instructor training to train master teachers in modern education methods, such as child centered education and competency based curriculum which is now being taught in primary public schools. For over ten years, USAID provided substantial technical and financial assistance to develop and publish the textbooks for this training. The TTCs will be held simultaneously in the five localities around the country from September to October.

In Jamaica, we are kicking off “A GANAR” in Jamaica, a youth-focused activity using sports to teach life and vocational skills. This program supports Jamaica’s effort to increase the opportunities for youth, especially in the context of recent civil unrest and pervasive crime in some communities. Public and private sector partners are investing and working together to do more to respond to the various challenges of young people. A GANAR is one of these investments.

USAID Eases Hardships of Haiti’s Earthquake Survivors

After the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, an estimated 1.5 million people were displaced from their homes. Approximately 100,000 earthquake survivors fled Port-au-Prince to Haiti’s Central Plateau.

While the area was one of the country’s poorest regions even before the earthquake, it’s seen an influx of survivors who’ve come to live with family and friends, straining already limited resources.

To ease the hardships in the Central Plateau, USAID partner Mercy Corps is providing immediate financial assistance through cash-for-work programs for both the displaced earthquake survivors and the families who took them in.

With USAID/OFDA support, Mercy Corps is providing livelihood opportunities to 2,000 people per week in the Central Plateau. An additional 20,000 people are on track to benefit from the cash-for-work program.

These projects give a member of each household 30 days of employment on a community-selected project geared at improving infrastructure or agricultural production, such as rehabilitating roads, farmland or irrigation systems. Some have used their salary and tools from the programs to start more sustainable small businesses.

Under USAID’s Food Security Program in Haiti, Mercy Corps will also provide food vouchers to 100,000 in the Central Plateau and Lower Artibonite region. This new initiative provides grants, cash or vouchers to buy desperately needed food.

In the town of Mirebalais, Mercy Corps employs Haitians to clear debris from canals and other public spaces to mitigate flooding during hurricane season. Watch a video on this important program.

View photos of Mercy Corps’ work in Mirebalais on Facebook and Flickr.

From the Field

Submitted by Abby Sugrue

In Zambia we re-launched the Safeplan Family Planning Pill through our Partnership for Integrated Social Marketing program (PRISM).  The new Safeplan pack will be available at registered outlets including clinics, pharmacies and retail shops across the country.  Oral contraceptive pills, like Safeplan, are a safe, convenient and effective way for women to accurately and reliably control their reproductive lives and thereby improve their health.  USAID is working with the Ministry of Health and the private sector to improve access to high quality, affordable modern contraceptives throughout the country.

In Paraguay we are collaborating with the Millenium Challenge Corporation, which is donating software to the Ministry of Health to handle distribution and logistics of medicines in the country.  For the first time, the Ministry of Health will have software that will help avoid corruption by properly tracking and distributing medicines.

In Cambodia we are collaborating closely with the Department of Defense to assist in the planning of a series of pandemic flu preparedness exercises.  This is part of a national workshop focused on refining collaborative civilian-military provincial response plans in Cambodia.

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