The Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme (URDT) is implementing an integrated human and rural development programme since 1987. The URDT was established when the founders observed that most development efforts did not create long-lasting results. Any progress made by an individual was often cut short by the weakest link in that person's life. For example, child might successfully enrol in school, but then die of malaria. Or a woman might learn how to start small business, but then be prevented by her husband from doing so. The holistic approach seems more effective to cause systemic change in developing countries.
URDT is not-for-profit organisation that endeavours to enable the people of Uganda, and in particular Kibaale District, to create for themselves: PROSPERITY, PEACE, HEALTH, FREEDOM AND HAPPINESS, through series of interconnected programmes.
URDT believes that education, training, demonstration, consciousness raising and information sharing, are effective strategies for economic growth, social, cultural and political development.
URDT's programme supplements the efforts of the Ugandan Government through:
i) relevant and quality education and training
ii) community radio and resource centres
iii) advocacy and promotion of collaborative and peaceful ways of resolving differences and healing wounds of the past
Over two decades of work in training local people and especially women to become leaders of their own lives and communities, URDT can show inspiring successes in how rural communities changed and created prosperity. URDT has touched thousands of lives and has received accolades from international organizations for its innovative approaches and measurable results.
URDT campus, based in Kagadi village in Kibaale District, is centre activating all kinds of progress throughout the region: sustainable agriculture practices, farming as business, rural road and school construction, spring protection and water harvesting, environmental sanitation, preventive health care (including HIV/AIDSprevention and positive living), peace and reconciliation, formation of farmers' cooperatives, local entrepreneurship centres and much more.
URDT Mission and working premises
URDT'S mission is to enable the people of Uganda to recognise and embody common vision, values and work together to create for themselves Peace, Prosperity, Freedom, Health and Happiness as they discover that they are KEY to their own development.
URDT development efforts are based on the following working premises:
- The people of Uganda, like all the people in the world are KEY to their own development
- People with common vision can transcend traditional barriers and prejudice caused by tribal, religious, political and gender differences and work together to achieve that which is truly important to them all.
- People have innate power and wisdom which they can tap to transform the quality of their life and that of their communities
- Lasting change comes only as people shift from reacting or adapting to circumstances to being the creators of their desired circumstances
- Training, education and information sharing are integral components of development as gained knowledge and skills allow people to meet exigencies of rural life.
Holistic approach to development
URDT emphasizes the inter-relationship and interdependency between economic, social, cultural and political development processes through promoting systems thinking, value based choices, visionary planning and action. This includes peace initiatives, mediation in conflict situations, training in sustainable livelihoods, preventive health care and education, especially for girls and young women.
2-Generation approach to Education en Rural Transformation
URDT has developed unique approach that links education to rural transformation.
It demonstrates that disadvantaged homes can develop provided both generations (students and parents) get functional adult literacy training, have shared vision for their home and relevant skills, knowledge and attitudes.
The URDT girls school and two community school apply the 2-generation approach on daily basis. The schools enhance the students' academic success as well as their competencies in leadership, commercial farming, health care, enterpreneurship, empathy and relationship development, amongst others. The students transfer their newly gained skills through parents' workshops, back-home projects; popular theatre and radio programmes to their homes and communities.
The 2-generation approach limits the knowledge gap between parents and children, bolsters gender equality, health, prosperity, peace, freedom and happiness in the students' homes. For more information: go to URDTGS.
URDT's Motto and women empowerment
URDT's motto is: Awakening the sleeping genius in each of us. This motto stands out as one of the principle beliefs of URDT. Realizing that every person has role to play in development, there is lot of unrealized potential especially amongst (young) women; not only in Kibaale but in Ugandand Africas whole.
URDT believes that women are key to sustainable development. Unfortunately, women and girls are often victims of structures in society that kept them in an ignorant and subservient role. Therefore URDT's has interventions target rural women who are un-exposed to modern farming (while this is their major livelihood), rural economies, good leadership and positive social changes.
Functionally literate persons can make informed decisions on nutrition, vaccination, family planning, home economics and community development programmes. URDT equips rural girls and women with skills and knowledge to participate effectively in socio-economic development and political activities, including speaking up for peaceful ways of dealing with tribal and other differences. Most of URDT's education interventions are geared towards creating pool of value driven, knowledgeable female leaders who are passionate on creating health and wealth in their homes and communities keeping in mind the universal human rights and obligations.
URDT's implementation strategies
URDT believes that education, training, demonstration, consciousness raising and information sharing, are effective strategies for economic growth, social, cultural and political development. URDT's programme supplements the efforts of the Ugandan Government through: i) education and training; ii) community mediand iii) advocacy and promoting community collaboration.
URDT's rural transformation programme is implemented by series of interrelated institutions that all work together in fulfillment of its mission:
- URDT girls' primary & secondary boarding school (URDTGS)
- URDT community schools - Tijhaar and Kanya
- Institute for Business management vocational and medistudies (IVBMS)
- URDT Community Radio (KKCR),
- African Rural University for Women (ARU)
- Community Driven Epicentres where the graduates of ARU are deployed
For details we refer to other publications and the URDT website: www.urdt.net.
The URDT Girls' School links education to rural transformation through its 2-generations approach. It provides the compulsory national curriculum and trains student to become change agents in their homes. By actively involving the parents through back home projects, workshops and functional adult literacy training, the school enhances family cooperation, shared vision and desire to collectively work towards self reliance, food security, tolerance, gender equity and happiness in the homes of the students.
The URDTGS' mission is â€œto provide disadvantaged and talented girls and their homes with transformational and value based education that shapes character and personality, and creates excellence, prosperity, health, peace, freedom and happiness".
The school is not for profit institution that offers education to girls and their families that are unable to provide most of the basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, medical care, clean safe water and education. The girl's potential talents are assessed through specially designed interviews and home visits.
The URDTGS enhances the students' academic success as well as their skills in leadership, commercial farming and enterpreneurship, preventive health care, envirionmental management and gender consciousness.
The school started in 2000 to address need of orphaned and other vulnerable girls for transformational education in Kibaale District. Although the Government provides universal primary and secondary education, their schools lack the capacity and vision of preparing students and their families for good and happy life in rural setting.
In 2009, the URDTGS educates 240 girls from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The school's co-curricular activities reached over 1200 home members, 6000 community members and students and 2 million listeners. In 2003. the District Inspector of School declared URDTGS model school of Kibaale district. The URDTGS has won national prizes from FAWE-U (2002), the European Commission-U (2006) and the National Book Trust (2003, 2005 and 2007) and various sport competitions (2004-2007).
The institutional linkages with URDT's community radio, Institute for Vocational Studies and Appropriate Technologies, the Human rights and Peace Centre and ARU provide rich human resource base.
READ MORE: in the URDTGS's brochure and the annual reports.
The URDT Institute for Business, Vocational and MediStudies
The URDT Institute for Business, Vocational and MediStudies has the capacity to graduate 30 young adults per year into their own entrepreneurial ventures, which then often provide employment for others. Its Appropriate Technology Center trains students in the design and use of energy saving devices and other innovations. The IVBMS' aim is to generate critical mass of all-round and skilled male and female entrepreneurs who have integrity and the capacity to improve their own situation, create their own jobs, and adhere to and promote civic responsibilities and human rights.
The Institute offers Government recognized Certificate and Diplomcourses in vocational, business and medistudies. Besides lecturers, we offer practical training at URDT's IT centre, Appropriate Technology Centre, Metal and Carpentry workshops
The Institute also developed training module on development, technology and gender that is offered to rural women and wide range of development practitioners. The Institute also trains independent local artisans, water technicians, health workers, solar energy technicians and traditional birth attendants in the use and maintenance of rural technologies, business management and other aspects of entrepreneurship.
Surveys show that 45% of the graduates have become successful artisans engaged in building, welding, mechanics, furniture making, food processing, and tailoring. There are currently 7 groups of welders and mechanics in Kagadi town, 3 groups of tailors, 3 groups involved in carpentry, 2 groups in art crafts and design and 1 group in food processing, thanks to the initiatives of our graduates.
The tool refurbished programme enabled 2,500 artisans to access tools. The Institute also trained 200 independent local artisans, 68 FAL instructors, 58 community based technicians (of which 25% are women), 80 birth attendants and over 50 solar technicians from various districts.
African Rural University for women (ARU)
In 2006 URDT launched the first African Rural University (ARU) for women. The goal of ARU is to award Bachelor's degree in Technologies for Rural Transformation.
ARU provides hard won opportunity to women as they are often denied access to higher education. ARU aims to create pool of female leaders who are academically trained as rural transformation professionals, so to provide rigorous scientific input in rural development processes and to actively participate in socio-economic empowerment of marganalized communities.
ARU students come from economically poor backgrounds but are all talented rural women who are committed to serve as transformational and value driven leaders. ARU fills in gap as unique tertiary institution that offers academic education grounded in rural community and based on URDT's hands on home-grown development approach and its experience in rural transformation. ARU also promulgates ongoing research and collaboration, both local and international, in integrated rural development.
Since 2006, cohort of 20 test-students co-created the academic program with the faculty in order to insure its relevance and practicality within rural settings. ARU applied for and was rewarded with Letter of Interim Authority from The Ugandan National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) in 2007. Soon, ARU will offer three year course-degree program in Technologies for Rural Transformation (TRT) to female students. The modules include: visionary leadership, systems thinking, sustainable development including agriculture and environmental ethics, participatory action research, marketing, anthropology, peace studies, health and rural technologies. In addition, ARU students participate in learning circles to shape their character, and they learn new skills through participation in the other URDT programmes.
ARU graduates will be deployed to set up village transformation centres in Kibaale District and beyond. The institutional linkages with URDT's community radio, Institute for Vocational Studies and Appropriate Technologies, the Human rights and Justice centre and the URDT girls' school provides unique setting and give students hands on experience in the practice of transformational leadership.
URDT Kagadi Kibaale Community Radio
The Community Radio Station (KKCR 91.7 FM) provides interactive educational programs on rural development topics, human rights, health, land rights and other pertinent issues to listenership of two million people. The radio is run by team of professionals and over 100 volunteers, including the URDT students.
The purpose of URDT's Kagadi Kibaale Community Radio (KKCR) is to enhance development, unity and solidarity through dialogue and debate amongst all development actors in Western Ugandand beyond. The participants include local leaders, government officials, entrepreneurs, women, youth, politicians, students and staff of all URDT institutions. In particular, the radio gives voice to the local, often marginalized, people to share their experiences and to explain their views, thereby promoting accountability and transparency of leaders and other democratic principles.
KKCR broadcasts 18 hours per day in seven local languages and English. The radio covers effectively 10 districts and has an estimated audience of 2 million people.
The Human Rights and Peace Centre
The Human Rights and Peace Centre provides information and conflict resolution services. It has brought together representatives from various ethnic groups and has trained more than 1,200 community leaders in human rights advocacy, conflict resolution and home to prevent domestic violence. It provided human rights information and services to tens of thousands of villagers through the community radio and role plays.
URDT's Human rights and justice programme is response to tribal clashes during elections and requests from local women who became victims of domestic violence. Its purpose is to promote social and economic rights, such as the rights to security of person, education, employment, health and civic participation.
The staff provide counselling sessions at URDT's campus, sensitisation meetings and workshops at village level, and training for village council leaders and police who are responsible for enforcing the rights of their constituencies.
URDT is also directly involved in peace management and reconciliation for the Bunyoro region. We work in close collaboration with representatives of the Bunyoro Kingdom, other traditional leaders, women, youth and the elderly. We organise meetings and workshops that aim to generate shared vision and unity in diversity in the region.
Chief Executive Officer: Dr Mwalimu Musheshe
PO Box:16253, Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 (0)414-256704
Physical location: Kagadi village - Kibaale District - North West Uganda