In the Pivot to Africa article, Brooks listed several examples:
- Construction of school classrooms in Chad
- Research on the "Association of Sexual Violence and Human Rights Violations With Physical and Mental Health in Territories of the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo"
- Cattle vaccination in Uganda, designed to provide healthy cattle to internally displaced civilians returning to their homes
- Activities to combat drug trafficking through the West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative
- Construction of closed wells with solar-powered pumps in Senegal
- Establishment of an East African Malaria Task Force to combat "one of the biggest killers on the continent: the mosquito"
- Development of a news and information website aimed at local audiences in the Maghreb region, featuring "analysis, interviews and commentary by paid Magharebia correspondents"
- Construction of a maternal- and pediatric-care ward at a Ugandan hospital
- Collaboration with Botswana's military to "promote Botswana's national program of education, HIV screening and male circumcision surgeries"
- Cooperation with the Sierra Leone Maritime Wing and Fisheries Ministry that "result[ed] in the apprehension of an illegally operating fishing vessel"
Some projects are better conceived and received than others. For example a school opening I witnessed in Senegal was very well received by local government officials and the community but in Chad the US funded schools I saw were padlocked and not used by the locals. Instead the locals were holding class in a more traditional hut that provided ventilation and light and a much more comfortable learning environment than the concrete box with tiny windows and tin roof provided by DoD.
|US DoD built school in Chad|
|Where we found the locals holding class nearby in Chad|
I think that AFRICOM has good intentions but mixed results due to mistrust across the continent and less than thorough understanding of the locals and their needs. To be fair AFRICOM is a very young organization that is still growing its team to work on the continent and it takes time to develop relationships and expertise in 54 African countries. At the very least, AFRICOM is a good effort for the US to try to reengage on the continent after its near abandonment following the disaster of "Blackhawk Down" in Somalia in 1993.