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By Nakawunde Kautharah

The First Lady and Minister for Karamoja Affairs Mrs. Janet Museveni has welcomed the Irish Embassy as the new Chair for the Karamoja donor working group saying that she knows this will improve working relations and strengthen the coordination between Government and its partners in the region.

Mrs Janat Museveni said that Karamoja has been getting support from many development partners but sometimes , we never realize all the results of this support. She added that with proper coordination a lot can be achieved with the various investments in the region.

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Mrs. Janet Museveni was meeting the Irish Ambassador Donal Cronin and his delegation who called on her on Friday at Statehouse Nakasero to discuss Ireland’s new responsibility as the Chair of the Karamoja donor working group and the focus of Ireland’s future support for Karamoja.

The State Minister for Karamoja Affairs Barbara Nekesa Oundo, Dr. Robert Limlim Director NUSAF2 and senior officials from the Karamoja Ministry also attended the meeting.

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“We have worked very well with you in the past and I hope this will make our work much more interesting”, Mrs. Janet Museveni said and commended them for the Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE) program which now covers the whole Karamoja region and is highly appreciated by the people.

Ambassador Donal Cronin said when different partners come together and harmonize their interventions in the region, it will ensure transparency in terms of what to investment and will also guard against of duplication.

Together with Franklin Kirwan Head of Cooperation and Aine Doody Head of Development, they gave a broad outline of the Irish Embassy 5-year strategy for Uganda and Karamoja which includes expansion of the Social Protection Programme in more Districts, HIV Prevention, Education infrastructure provision plus quality education and access. Others are supporting the skilling Uganda strategy, governance and accountability and gender based violence.

They said the Karamoja sub-region will remain as the main area of focus given the high levels of poverty and fragility there and the need for initiatives that support resilience.

Speaking about the aftermath of elections and what is being portrayed by the media, Ambassador Cronin said as members of the European Union they encourage peace and dialogue. He appealed to the leaders to be careful about the language they are using. “EU only supports all Uganda’s development”, he emphasized. He called upon Ugandans to join hands in the development of Uganda.

The Irish Embassy replaces WFP which is the out-going chair for the Karamoja Donor Working Group.

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