Young girls help their families move out of poverty in western Uganda

The social entrepreneur Mwalimu Musheshe has fought his entire life to build the new Uganda. It began in the 1980s during his studies when he played an active role in the resistance movement against Idi Amin. He ended up being jailed for a year and tortured. Since then, he has waged a fight against the idea of the poor, passive Ugandan in need of help.

Musheshe has proved that it is possible to achieve sustainable development by finding each individual’s driving force. Over 20 years ago, he founded the organisation Uganda Rural Development Training Programme (URDT) with the motto “Awakening the sleeping genius in each of us”. URDT educates girls, who, in turn, inspire and educate their families and neighbours to change their lives.

With an all-girls school, a university for women, vocational training with entrepreneurship, and a radio station, URDT has contributed to significant improvement for poor families in rural western Uganda. Social Initiative has collaborated with URDT since 2009. Lately the focus has been on developing e-learning and IT skills.

Due to the corona pandemic, schools in Uganda closed in March 2020. URDT visited the students’ homes to distribute reading materials and school assignments. Lessons and workshops were broadcasted through the school’s radio station. The final year students were allowed back in school in October. The remaining students were not allowed to return to school until 2021.

70% of the students had sufficient grades to enrol at University compared to the national average of 63%
97% of the students who started at URDT 2014 now have a high level of sanitary hygiene at home, compared to 3% before attending URDT
60% of the students who started in 2014 have built proper houses, compared to 10% before attending URDT