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 are ongoing, 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 neighbors 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 and key and strategic components of the rural transformation programme.
- 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