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Revision as of 14:50, 17 April 2009
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The Peace Corps/Uganda program was reestablished in 2000, after its suspension in 1999. Peace Corps has a longstanding commitment to the country's development and has experienced excellent relationships with the people of Uganda throughout the years. Currently, Peace Corps/Uganda has an education project and a community health project.
All Peace Corps Volunteers in Uganda are currently engaged in HIV/AIDS activities either as part of their primary or secondary projects. Volunteer activities include youth groups, life skills workshops, workshops for teachers on health education, teaching nutrition for people living with AIDS, peer education training, and developing school assembly messages as part of the Ugandan Presidential Initiative on AIDS Strategy for Communication to Youth.
Peace Corps History
Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Uganda
The first group of Peace Corps Volunteers in Uganda were secondary school teachers who arrived on November 16, 1964. A year later, the education project consisted of 35 Volunteers. By 1967, the project had more than doubled in size. A health project was initiated in 1968 with the placement of 15 Volunteers. Once the Peace Corps program in Uganda expanded, the major programming area was education, with Volunteers also working in fisheries, agriculture, computer programming, and surveying. The Peace Corps terminated the program in Uganda in 1972 due to the civil unrest during Idi Amin’s presidency.
Discussions concerning the Peace Corps’ reentry into Uganda began in 1987 and continued in 1989 when President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his wife met with the Peace Corps director to discuss a renewed Peace Corps presence in Uganda. Nine months later, the Peace Corps received a formal invitation from the Government of Uganda. The 1964 agreement was then reactivated and Volunteers returned to Uganda in June 1991.
The projects during this period—primary education, small enterprise development, and natural resource management—aimed to address needs identified by the government in its efforts to rehabilitate and reform Uganda’s educational system, develop the private sector, and effectively manage the country’s vast natural resources.Because of security issues in the capital, Kampala, the program was suspended again in May 1999. In June 2001, Peace Corps/Uganda reopened with a single project in primary teacher training and community school resource teaching. A community well-being and positive-living project was initiated in May 2002. Approximately 60 Volunteers are currently serving in Uganda.
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle
Main article: Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Uganda
During your service, you will most likely live in a rural area in very modest accommodations provided by your host organization, which will try to provide you with at least a bedroom and a sitting room. You might live in part of a Ugandan family’s house or in part of a house built for staff of a school or a community organization. It is unlikely that you will share your accommodations with anyone else unless you choose to do so.
Living conditions vary according to the resources of the community or organization in which you are placed. Most houses do not have running water or electricity. You should expect to use a pit latrine and a kerosene lantern and stove. Most Volunteers hire someone to carry water to their house. The community may provide some basic furnishings, and you can supplement these with your modest settling-in allowance provided by the Peace Corps. At nearly all sites, the kind of privacy that most Americans are used to will be extremely limited.
Children may be around constantly, demonstrating their curiosity about you. You will have to adapt to a more public life.
As most communities and organizations have extremely limited resources, providing housing and furnishing is provided at a great sacrifcie. Sometimes there are delays in obtaining housing or furnishings. You might have to stay in temporary accommodations while your permanent housing is being set up.
Although the Peace Corps staff makes every effort to collaborate with communities to see that housing is ready for Volunteers when they arrive at their site, you should be prepared to gratefully accept whatever the community provides, no matter how basic.
Main article: Training in Uganda
Pre-service training will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to integrate into your community and begin to work with your Ugandan counterparts in formal and informal settings. Training provides a friendly and safe environment in which to ask questions and learn about life in Uganda. The 10-week program covers a variety of topics, including language, cross-cultural communication, area studies, development issues, health and personal safety, and technical skills pertinent to your specific assignment. The pre-service training in Uganda is community-based, which means that most of the training sessions take place in a community as similar as possible to actual Volunteer sites.
After your arrival in Uganda, you will spend a few days at a central training facility to recover from jet lag and learn a few basics before moving in with a Ugandan host family in the community chosen to host training. You will live with this family throughout training. This gives you the opportunity to observe and participate in Ugandan culture and to practice your language skills.
Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health care and safety in Uganda
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. The Peace Corps in Uganda maintains a clinic with two part-time medical officers, who take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Uganda. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to a medical facility in the region or to the United States.
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Uganda
In Uganda, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Uganda. Outside of Uganda’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Uganda are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.
- Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
- Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
- Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
Frequently Asked Questions
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Uganda
- How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Uganda?
- What is the electric current in Uganda?
- How much money should I bring?
- When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
- Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
- Do I need an international driver’s license?
- What should I bring as gifts for Ugandan friends and my host family?
- Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
- How can my family contact me in an emergency?
- Can I call home from Uganda?
- Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
- Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
Main article: Packing list for Uganda
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Uganda and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that an essential item to one person is a waste of space and money to another. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything mentioned below, so consider each of the suggestion below and make certain bringing it makes sense to you personally and professionally. If you can’t imagine why you would use an item on this list, you probably never will. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have a 80-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Uganda, including made-to-order clothes. Also note that you will be responsible for carrying all of these items through airports, on crowded buses, and through large cities. Luggage should be lightweight but sturdy, lockable, and easy to carry. As mentioned earlier, Ugandans place great emphasis on being well-groomed and appropriately dressed. When it comes to dress, it is best to err on the conservative side. Tight, torn, revealing, and skimpy clothing is unacceptable. Women’s skirts should be below the knee, and slips are a must. Most Ugandan women do not wear sleeveless garments or trousers in the workplace. For men, button-down shirts are a must for work; T-shirts are not appropriate as professional wear. Do not bring military- or camouflage-style clothing.
- General Clothing
- For Women
- For Men
Peace Corps News
Contributions to the Uganda Country Fund will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Uganda. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
- Volunteers who served in Uganda
- Friends of Uganda
- List of resources for Uganda
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- Inspector General Reports