Uganda:  The Pearl of Africa

Uganda is a land of immense beauty and vast potential.

Located in East Africa, it’s a landlocked nation about the size of Kentucky and Tennessee with tremendous natural resources.  It lies on the equator and is bordered on the south by Lake Victoria --the source of the Nile River.

In Uganda the East African savannas meet the West African Jungles.

It’s a cultural melting pot with more than 30 different indigenous languages.

Uganda was colonized by the British in the late 19th century, but was granted its independence in 1962.  Its early years of independence were marked by brutality and turmoil, however, the government has been remarkably stable for over 20 years.

Uganda has a population of about 30 million people.  It is one of the youngest nations on the Earth with a median age of 15 years.  In fact, 50% of its population is 15 years old or younger.  Its biggest city is its capital, Kampala, with a population of about 1.7 million people.

Uganda has been ravaged by years of extreme poverty, civil war, and disease. 

It was the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa.  In the 1980’s 30% of the adult population was HIV positive.  It has been touted as one of the success stories in HIV prevention.  In the mid 80’s a huge public health initiative stressed education and preventative practices that has dropped the incidence to around 7% by latest statistics. 

However, there are still 190,000 children ages 0-14 who are living with HIV, and there are 1.2 million children in Uganda who have been orphaned by AIDS.

The total number of orphaned children is estimated to be closer to 2.7 million…or nearly 10% of the total population of the country.

29% of the population lives below the international poverty line. 

By definition, the international poverty line is vastly different than that determined by the US Census Bureau.

29% of Ugandans live on less than $1.25 US dollars per day.

And, yet, the cost of food, housing etc is very comparable to what we pay here.

Life expectancy in Uganda is 54 years.

That is a snapshot of the good and the bad of Uganda, its potential and challenges.

It is a land of paradoxes.

Tremendous natural resources and abject poverty

Faces beaming with the love of Jesus and deep darknesses controlled by the enemy

Nationalistic pride and disillusionment

Uganda’s greatest resource and its hope lies in its children. 

They have the potential to tap the resources of a nation that has lost whole generations in the last 30 years to war and disease.

Investing time and resources to raise up leaders will lead to good lasting change in Uganda and around the world. These are the faces and the future of Uganda

Statistics from UNICEF and UNAIDS