On October 25, Daily Monitor published an article incorrectly asserting that I criticized Ugandan youth over laziness during a speech I recently gave in Gulu. This could not be further from the truth and I never used the word “lazy”. In a November 3 Daily Monitor op-ed, unfortunately Norbert Mao repeated these false claims.
To correct the record, I would like to clarify that my speech in Gulu was all about encouraging youth to harness the incredible potential they have. It was also about the U.S. government’s support and commitment to helping youth take advantage of economic opportunities. Indeed, the purpose of this event was to speak to Ugandan youth who are benefitting from the U.S. government’s Feed the Future Uganda Youth Leadership for Agriculture Activity. This activity is a five-year activity that is investing $21 million (UGX 78 billion) to increase jobs, incomes, and livelihoods for approximately 300,000 Ugandan youth.
The U.S. government provided $896 million (UGX 3.3 trillion) in assistance to the Ugandan people last year. In almost everything that we do, we focus on the country’s youth. Our programs reflect that ¬– the Youth Leadership for Agriculture Activity, the State Department’s Young African Leaders Initiative, USAID’s Better Outcomes for Children and Youth in Eastern and Northern Uganda – to name just a few. I have said this many times and I will say it again: I view Uganda’s youth as the country’s greatest and most important opportunity.
I have spent almost four years travelling throughout this beautiful country and meeting with young Ugandans. I am always amazed at their talent, entrepreneurial spirit, and dedication to making a positive difference in their country. Uganda’s youth are the ones who will determine the country’s future, and we are proud to be their partner.
Deborah R. Malac,