Country Director's Welcome
Welcome to Uganda, or as it is affectionately known, the “Pearl of Africa”. It is easy to see why it was given this moniker. Uganda’s lush, green landscape and its phenomenal weather allows for a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables all year long! If you are a lover of mangoes, pineapples, papaya, beets, passion fruit, watermelons, avocadoes, and bananas, Uganda does not disappoint! It is a leading producer of tea and coffee which are both consumed locally and exported worldwide. Its natural landscape boasts rolling hills and mountains, effusive waterfalls, the famous mountain gorillas, the majestic Lake Victoria, and the gushing river Nile.
The U.S. Peace Corps serves at the invitation of the Government of Uganda. A year after gaining independence from Britain in 1963, the Government of Uganda invited the Peace Corps into the country. Since 1964, the Peace Corps has fostered a deep friendship between the people of Uganda and the United States. More than 1850 Volunteers have served here. In 2020, the global pandemic saw the evacuation of almost 7,000 Volunteers globally, including 136 from Uganda. In May of 2022, we welcomed back our first Peace Corps Response Volunteers. In August 2022, we welcomed back a larger cohort of two-year Volunteers. Most recently, on July 30, 2023 we welcomed 25 2- year Volunteers. After the two-year hiatus, and with multiple cohorts now back on the ground, we are back! A total of 51 Volunteers are currently serving in the Pearl of Africa. Volunteers as always, are working alongside their counterparts to find solutions to locally identified development challenges. We are here to support them along their transformative service journey.
At Peace Corps Uganda, Volunteers work in three sectors: Education, Health, and Agribusiness. They also implement initiatives such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Uganda is one of few countries which is at the cusp of achieving epidemic control, and with the strong leadership of the Government of Uganda led by the Ministry of Health, we know that the day will come when this lofty goal will be achieved, and Peace Corps Uganda is proud to be part of this effort.
To learn about the impact that Volunteers make in Ugandan communities, I invite you to read their stories in their own words. You will read about their work, with communities, to improve early grade reading, implement national literacy initiatives, strengthen libraries, recycle plastics, build income generating poultry houses, and fight environmental degradation. You will also hear stories of the joys and challenges of integration and the hardships and rewards of serving as Black Volunteers.
You can read stories and reflections from the first and current Country Directors, musings by P.C. Uganda staff on training, grants, World AIDS Day, and World Malaria Day. You can also read stories from Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and what their Volunteer experience meant to them. These stories capture the depth and breadth of Volunteer, staff, and community experiences. Volunteer stories and the relationships they fostered in their communities are the embodiment of our core mission… peace and friendship.
As a three-time Returned Peace Corps Volunteer myself - Namibia (‘96-‘98), Guinea (2000) and Eastern Caribbean (2006), I couldn’t be more thrilled to serve as the Peace Corps Country Director in the Pearl of Africa.
Lily Asrat, Dr.P.H.