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Minister Martin in Northern Uganda

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D., is in Uganda, one of Ireland’s priority countries for development assistance, to see at first hand the impact of the Government’s overseas aid programme.

Today, Minister Martin will visit the Karamoja Region in the North-East of the country with Mrs. Janet Museveni, Minister of State for Karamoja and First Lady of Uganda, to officially launch Ireland’s new programme of assistance to the people of Karamoja.

Minister Martin said that he was looking forward to meeting with the people who have directly benefited from Ireland’s support and learning more about the challenges that they still face.

As part of the tour of the region, Minister Martin will also visit a local secondary school and open a new wing which has been funded by Irish Aid. Minister Martin said: “I am looking forward to meeting with the students of Moroto High School to see how Ireland’s support has helped them get a decent education. As a result of our assistance, some 1000 students are now able to attend secondary school through our bursary scheme while we have succeeded in creating 2,000 additional school places. I believe that education is the best way of lifting people out of poverty, and helping them to build a new life for themselves and their families free from hunger and want. I know that the work we have been doing in Karamoja has helped give some of the poorest people in Uganda a chance of a better life, and I look forward to launching our programme of assistance in the region for the next five years”

Note for Editors:

Irish Aid is the official development assistance programme of the Irish Government.

Uganda has been an Irish Aid programme country since 1994. It is one of the poorest in the world with chronic poverty levels of some 26%. Irish Aid recently approved its Country Strategy for 2010-2014 for Uganda which will see Ireland focus its support on programmes which assist the most chronically poor and vulnerable through support for HIV and AIDS activities, Education, Gender, Good Governance, Private Sector Development and support for Karamoja, which is one of the poorest and most disadvantaged regions in Uganda.

The proposed Irish Aid support for Karamoja for the period 2010 to 2014 builds on an existing programme of support to education there which dates from 2004. In addition to education, Irish Aid will support a number of new and innovative initiatives which include providing social protection for the poorest and most vulnerable in the region and a programme to improve peoples’ livelihoods.

To date, Irish Aid has helped to rehabilitate 11 primary schools and 2 teacher training colleges in Karamoja. Bursaries have been provided to 1,000 students, both in Karamoja and in the Acholi region. Irish Aid will continue to support a secondary school bursary scheme in these regions.