In 2009 December, Uganda’s population reached 32,709 million (World Bank), with an annual growth rate of 2.5%. Uganda’s population is predominantly rural and its population density is highest in the southern regions, with over 80% of the people living in rural areas.The agricultural sector dominates the economy of the country. It provides approximately 80% of the employment and 90 % of export earnings, and contributes 44% of GDP. However, the sector dominated by small-scale rural farmers, is faced with many challenges that have adverse implications for food security, employment, incomes and livelihoods.
Although the population living below the poverty line reduced from 56% to 31 between 1992 and 2006, poverty is still a major constraint to social and economic development of any country. Uganda ranks 43rd of the poorest countries according to the Human Development Report, 2010). Rampant poverty is reflected in many aspects of the people’s social, economic, political, cultural and spiritual life. The Poverty Eradication Action Plan identifies poor health as a fundamental cause of poverty in Uganda. Life expectancy is 53 (UNICEF, 2010). Malaria continues to be the major cause of mortality in Uganda. Other diseases including HIV/AIDS continue to claim a heavy toll. Yet, health services are expensive and adequate health facilities are not accessible to the majority of rural based communities. It is necessary to concentrate on cost effective strategies of primary health care and promotion of health education. There is a big difference between rural and urban literacy rates with the urban rate being 87% while the rural rate is at 59% (Uganda National Household Survey, 1999/2000). The low literacy rate is constraining overall development of the people. The Universal Primary Education Policy, which has been implemented since 1997, literacy now stands at 68%.
As a way of bringing services close to the people, the government of Uganda introduced the policy of decentralization whereby powers and responsibilities are transferred to the district authorities to manage their own affairs up to the village level. However, districts face enormous constraints in providing effective services to the people at the grassroots due to absence of trained human resource in community based development. This has adverse implications for poverty alleviation and overall development.
Rationale for the Course
There is a realization that 90% of the students who join universities today are not introduced to basic science. In a world where development is based on science and science based technology, modernization cannot take place with a backward human resource. Development among poor communities will take place when men, women and children in those communities discover ways of using to the best of their advantage in a sustainable manner, the natural resources, which God put at their disposal. Therefore, intensive sensitization, education and training are required to enable people use the available resources to improve their incomes and quality of life, with special attention to the vulnerable groups especially in rural areas, among whom are the poor, women, youth, people with disabilities and the sick.
It is essential to get trained manpower with knowledge and skills both in the theory and practice to effectively address community based development issues. Such people work with communities to enhance their knowledge and skills to undertake and manage their own development affairs. The core of community based development course is to avail human resource to work with the people to identify their own problems and come up with locally based solutions.
- To train graduates who will be able to work with people regardless of their social and economic status.
- The graduates will learn the techniques of how to facilitate people to initiate, control and manage their own development programs.
- To enable students appreciate the negative impacts of poverty on the different communities affected.
The community development course will take three years based on a semester system. It has a strong emphasis on fieldwork and research. In the first semester of the third year, students have three options from which to select one in which they can specialize.
(Source: Ndejje University website)