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URDT was founded to address the missing link in development programmes, the merger of:

  • truly functional education;
  • consciousness and conscience raising;
  • skills training;
  • rural development interventions.

with the intent of empowering marginalized people living in rural communities in Uganda.

Since 1987, URDT has evolved, applied and tested a rural development methodology based on the principles of the creative process and systems thinking.

Rural development requires a resource base of people who are catalysts, subject matter specialists and energizers to work alongside marginalized communities to make change happen. To that effect, URDT:
1. has founded formal innovative education institutions that train young people to to become catalysts of change by using the URDT methodology:
The award winning URDT Girls School that uses the 2-generation approach to education;
The award winning URDT Institute for Vocational Training and Youth Leadership;
The African Rural University
2. Adopted a primary and secondary community schools to pilot test the 2-generation approach in a community school setting;
3. Training and Extension services to create a critical mass of rural entrepreneurs;
4. Manages an award winning community radio station: KKCR 91.7 FM to raise shift mindsets and develop commitment to fundamental change in thinking and action;
5. Developed capacity of non state actors and local government for greater impact.

Read more about URDT Mission and Methodology


URDT holds a societal vision for Uganda as captured in the values of peace, prosperity, health, freedom and happiness based on :

Uganda is a social and economic giant. It needs to use its intelligent, resilient, and change-oriented people to harness, and distribute fairly, the products of the country’s abundant natural resources; including precious minerals, water, forest products, genetic resources, hydrocarbon fuels, and the potential for solar energy.


Uganda is a country of hope, social revival, and creativity in developing a new world order. Uganda needs to leverage the existing rich creativity of the nation - poetry, drama, music, dance, philosophy, food, dress, and the traditional hospitality of the extended family.

People with the same language, separated by arbitrarily set national borders, can share much. Time-tested methods of conflict resolution, societal management, social cohesiveness, spirituality, and respect for Mother Nature, can all be applied for the advancement of society.


Uganda has enlightened, active people who aspire to participate as equal partners in global events, and to offer equal opportunities for all, including access to education, health services, justice and security, peace, freedom (including movement), choice of by whom and how to be governed, prosperity and comradeship across the continent.


The vision of URDT, as an organization, that we are developing is:

  • A learning organization and centre for reflection and development that has participatory and interactive professional management, that enhances support from communities, volunteers, professionals, donors, government and other partners.
  • It has creative, committed and technically competent staff.
  • It delivers quality education and training in humanities, social sciences, development studies and artisanship for community members, leaders of voluntary organizations, government staff and other development practitioners.
  • It creates and offers extension services, modern rural communication facilities, mediation, and operates resource centres for information exchange and learning. It has a firm support/resource base both within and without the organization.


URDT’s development efforts are based on the following 5 working premises:

The people of Uganda, like the people world over, are key to their own development. Therefore, in our work, Ugandan development professionals teach and learn with members of communities in the villages, while the villagers remain the driving force in all the work that is planned and accomplished .The benefits are:

  • Ugandans know more about their country as most have lived a rural life. They know the culture and the people better than expatriates and they are not as costly as employing foreign experts. However, URDT welcomes expatriates as mutual learners with the communities to enhance cross cultural fertilization.
  • Locally available resources, including local experts, are used first. This makes lasting change more likely, fosters ownership to take root, and is much less expensive.
  • Because Ugandan development professionals live and work with the villagers, monitoring and evaluation of progress is on going, flexibility exists to make any necessary adjustments quickly, and therefore the likelihood of success is increased.

Lasting change can come only if people shift from reacting or adapting to events and circumstances to being the creators of events and circumstances. Therefore, URDT facilitates a process of learning to create what is truly wanted, rather than focus on solving problems. We do this using a proven course, Technologies for Creating that is tailored for village use. Villagers, working with URDT staff, URDT schools, Institute students and ARU interns, participate in a course on creating and producing results. By creating results in areas of their own choice, villagers build experience, skills and confidence to continue their development long after the training is over. The benefits include:

  • Results created and changes chosen and effected by the villagers themselves are more lasting than those made by outsiders
  • Villagers gain confidence to share with others, when they are consistently creating the results they want, Successful households become centers of excellence where neighbours can come to learn, and thus the programme develops local animators.

People who share a common vision can transcend traditional barriers and prejudices caused by tribal, religious, political and gender differences and work together to achieve that which is truly important to them all The benefits include:

  • Sharing a common vision helps villagers rise above simplicity and pettiness and harness collective energy for positive change
  • Respect for who the people are and building communities become an integral component of development work
  • The people are interested in strengthening local capacities to deliver development results rather than petty concerns with social status.

People have innate power and wisdom, which they can tap, to transform the quality of their lives and that of their communities. Hence, the emphasis that the URDT programme places on self discovery based on appreciative inquiry, increasing awareness of their foundation of wisdom and weather beaten knowledge so that they build on that as they get new skills and knowledge.
The benefits include:

  • Knowing that they are not passive participants in the development process increases their self worth and confidence
  • As they tap into their inherent capacities a shift from dependence to interdependence and, subsequently, self-reliance takes place
  • The process promotes full participation and involvement

Training, education and information sharing are key and strategic components of the rural transformation programme.
Benefits include:

  • Education unleashes people’s capacities to effectively meet the exigencies of rural life.
  • Skills help in transforming an idea and a vision into reality.
  • Information sharing enables people to increase collective intelligence, learn to do things differently and appreciate when they create results individually or collectively.
  • Building local institutions is a key to sustainability


The core of URDT’s strategy is based on two main domains:

  • the methodological domain- emerging from our experience and philsophy to human develoment
  • the programmatic domain - the latter emerges from community action planning.


The URDT methodology has 3 fundamental results at individual, house hold and community level:

  1. Mastery of the principles of the creative process. Making ones way of life in the creative orientation in which the individual is consistently in touch with ones aspirations, values, vision, current reality and structural tension. And recognizing what choices1 must be made (primary and secondary) in favour of ones vision. This leads to what we call: visionary leadership.
  2. Mastery of systems thinking. By looking at the interrelationship between primary and secondary choices, a larger picture emerges: the interfaces develop and once the individual or the community appreciate the interconnectedness and how each element influences and is influenceb by others, this is what is called ‘systems thinking’. It result in an intergrated development programme.
  3. Mastery of sustainable development. Given that there are many primary and secondary choices leading to the attainment of the aspiration, the question ‘what next’ leads to formulating a new vision and the same cycle of structural tension is developed, actions evolved and this leads to sustainable development.

It is one thing to have a vision and another thing to put food on the table. Vision alone is not enough. Commitment will not lead to effective action.

Therefore, training in relevant skills (personal mastery) follows as people learn new knowledge and relate differently to themselves, others and tasks at hand. Once all these are mastered, community learning takes place and sustainable change happens:-the secret of rural transformation.

URDT has developed path ways through:

Through ARU, the URDT methodology is now taught at University level. This way, we can create more visionary leaders and systems thinkers to enable others to be creators of the live they truly desire.


Based on domains for action emerging from community action planning sessions, URDT focus on:

  • Education for Social- Economic Transformation;
  • Community Cooperation and Peace;
  • Rural Communication;
  • Heritage & Cultural Diversity (HCD);
  • Partnerships & Networking
  • Organizational Learning.

Below more details.


Strategic Objectives:

1. Income, employability and well-being of youth and dependents improved
2. Improved knowledge, skills and mind sets of local and national education institutions and their agents for creating structures and systems that facilitate truly sustainable and effective strategies and practices for improving the quality of life of the disadvantaged

Focus on:

1. Systems change in the education sector (primary, secondary and tertiary sectors)
2. Systemic change at the school and classroom level (a school as a learning community
3. Employability of youth and access to skills training

This is done through:

1. Management of innovative education institutions that apply the 2 generation approach and promote the URDT methodology to personal, home and community development:
The URDT Girls’ school; the URDT Institute for Vocational Training and Youth Leadership; African Rural University; the URDT Community Schools.
2. Consciousness raising;
3. Training in the principles of community learning and systems thinking;
4. Youth entrepreneurship training;
5. Urban youth training;
6. Visionary leadership training;
7. Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) training;
8. Creating learning infrastructures.


The CCPP aims to develop collaborative structures for development and to enhance peace and justice at home, community, district and national level.

The programme started in 2001 in response to tribal clashes during elections and requests from local women who became victims of domestic violence.

Youth, women and children are the primary constituents as well as marginalized men. Read more


Strategic objectives:

1. Rural communities have improved capacity to participate in the conservation and development of their cultural assets and natural endowments;
2. Rural communities have improved knowledge of their intellectual property rights over endogenous and natural resources.

Read more


Strategic Objectives:

1. Disadvantaged and marginalized people, including women, youth and the disabled, increasingly advocate for their rights and work collectively to improve their governance system
2. Enhanced development, unity and solidarity through dialogue, information sharing and debate on development issues among the communities for action.

This is done through:

1. Enhance digital inclusion of communities so that they participate meaningfully in the development processes with full involvement form informed/enlightened positions;
2. Create local digital learning networks;
3. Community journalism;
4. Out of studio events, audience panels and interaction;
5. Environmental education;
6. consciousness raising;
7. Governance and civic education;
8. mainstreaming gender issues;
9. visionary leadership and community development.


URDT believes in, and works to develop, deep and lasting partnerships for mutual learning and to broaden its impact on the rural community in the Bunyoro region.

Strategic Objectives:

1. Understanding and synergy amongst actors in district development planning improved;
2. LG and NSAs have effective strategies to enhance a holistic and intergrated approach to rural development.

This is done through:

Networks for accomplishment and knowledge sharing, peer learning networks, creating learning infrastructure and scaling up for large scale change.
Policy Advocacy and research -Citizens who are aware, pro-active, well-informed and who are working together are best placed to make use of opportunities and overcome challenges.

URDT in collaboration with the African Rural University work towards increased national level policy research and advocacy work, including strong and effective Non-State Actors that have local and community based. Thematically, this work will be linked with both national priorities and with global advocacy campaigns.


Strategic Objective:

URDT functions as true learning organization structured and resourced to encourage innovation and creativity in rural transformation. URDT as the vehcile for rural transformation, needs to be in good shape. Therefore URDT continues on improved on their understanding of the theory and practises of the learning organisation[1]. It has the following characteristics: shared values and vision[2], personal mastery[3], mental models[4], team learning[5] and systems thinking[6]. This is done through:

  • Daily Foundation courses
  • Training staff and volunteers in the principles of the creative process
  • Training staff in report writing and local resource mobilisation
  • Monthly Management Meetings
  • Stakeholder Platforms
  • Listener Surveys
  • Action Research with the communities
  • Annual strategic review meetings

[1] See Peter Senge’s publication The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization

[2]Stakeholders align their individual vision of what they truly care about in life with that of the organization (align their fundamental, primary and secondary choices).

[3] Learning to expand our personal capacity (skills, knowledge, attitude, including self-understanding, ability to apply the principles of the creative process, authentic leadership) to consistently create the results (vision) of what we most care bout in our lives, in the organization and the people we serve.

[4] Continually reflecting upon, clarifying and improving our understanding of the world; the images, stories, beliefs, assumptions we hold about ourselves, other and the organisation and how they shape our actions and decisions.

[5]Transforming collective knowledge and thinking skills of the team members so that the sum of individual’s intelligence and ability is greater than each individual’s’ intelligence and ability.

[6] System Thinking is a way of thinking about life, work, and the world based on the importance of relationships (understanding the interconnections of the various parts of whole). It is a way of thinking structurally and a language for describing and understanding the forces and relationships that shape behaviour of a system.


 URDT continues to focus on youth employability, women empowerment, sustainble livelihood development and systems change in the education and rual development sectors.

Since 2011, URDT scaled up both vertically and horizontally. It now has sufficent human capital at URDT, thanks to its African Rural University that produced its first researcher graduates in September 2011.

Early 2012, URDT deployed the ARU researcher graduates as Managers to establish 16 community driven development centres in Kibaale, Kakumero and Kagadi Districts; the so called ‘Epicentres’. In 2017, the Epicentre Managers worked in a Public Private Partnership arrangment with local government in 19 sub-counties.

In 2015, URDT established the pupil managed school farms project that operates in 20 schools in 3 districts. It aims to support schools to provide nutritious meals and teach pupils to become commerical farmers in the context of a nourishment economy.

In the same year URDT launched the Governance, Accountability, Participation and Performance (GAPP) programme to strengthening rural citizens’ participation in decision making process for good governance. As a result, rural communities got voice in the design of community driven development programmes by local governments.


In 2017, URDT made preparations for the tell, sell and treat project to erradicate cervic cancer amongst rural women. The project will be launched in 2018.

URDT will continue toenable the people of the Bunyoro Region to build their capacity and developing practical knowledge of creating space for change through consciousness and conscienceness raising, education, trainings, information sharing, mentoring and peer networks in both and methodological and programme domains

URDT plans to expand its education , rural livelihood and social justice programmes to the entire Bunyoro region.

The plans require a substantial new flow of resources. Please contact us to discuss how you or your organisation could support URDT.

  • URDT’s Societal vision