15 October Oct 2012 1518 15 October 2012

U.S. Ambassador visits participants of SCORE project in Gulu, Uganda

On September 17, 2012, a high-level delegation from the US Embassy visited some activities and beneficiaries of the SCORE project. The U.S. Ambassador Scott DeLisi, his wife Leija, the USAID Mission Director Leslie Reed, and the Uganda Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Tadesse Wuhib, visited SCORE-supported activities in Gulu, including the Pito Kic Tek (“taking care of orphans is tough”) Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA).
The visitors were accompanied by AVSI Staff members including Massimo Lowicki-Zucca, SCORE Chief of Party, Richard Okello Nixon, SCORE Area Manager North, and officers from the implementing partner Acholi Education Initiative.
The SCORE program, Sustainable, COmprehensive REsponses for vulnerable children and the families, is a highly innovative 5-year program, funded by USAID, and implemented by AVSI Foundation, together with CARE, TPO, FHI360 and dozens of local partners across 35 districts of Uganda.
During the visit, the Ambassador had the opportunity to interact with the members of Pito Kic Tek, just one VSLA (Village Saving & Loans Associations) supported by SCORE. VSLAs are self-managed and self-capitalized microfinance institutions, involving community members who pool savings and other assets to provide greater credit, savings, and insurance opportunities for members, who are usually not able to access formal banking institutions.
In addition to the VSLA, SCORE offers the youth business skills training, mentorship and guidance on enterprise selection, business plan assistance, and support to link them to funding from financial institutions.
The Ambassador remarked that when empowered and supported, individuals in any community can care for and protect those in need. The community’s efforts to save and raise income shows that the people in Gulu are dedicated to rising out of challenging situations, taking the initiative upon themselves. To the young people enrolled in the project activities, the Ambassador underlined their importance for the reconstruction in the north, stating that their efforts to learn a new skill and to become young entrepreneurs attest to the “new North”, a region with hope for today and tomorrow.