African Rural University (ARU) was founded by Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme (URDT). ARU is focused on providing women with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to be effective rural development specialists and change agents. Using methodologies, developed and proven to be effective by URDT over more than 20 year, ARU graduates will be able to help people improve their lives and transform their communities.

African Rural University will draw students from all socio-economic levels of society.

The curriculum is highly contextual, and students will master a wide range of skills that will allow them to effectively conduct community development planning. By providing a university experience to a marginalized group, by focusing on how to be effective rural development professionals, by involving students extensively in service-learning experiences, and by drawing on a wealth of traditional wisdom, ARU is one example of the kind of relevant higher education necessary and possible in Uganda and in Africa.

The African Rural University is a natural organic outgrowth from an aware and strengthened rural population, taking charge of its own development and generating information and knowledge that becomes the basis of the University’s research applied learning.

ARU is a pathway through which URDT’s unique methodology is perpetuated for rural transformation. The University elevates the thinking and practice of rural transformation work in rural communities of Uganda and Africa with research, scientific approaches and through the students reintegrates the learning in rural communities.

URDT transformative methodology for rural development is based on visionary and creative approaches, and systems thinking.

The visionary approach permits genuine democratic participation by rural people and communities in development activities, thereby improving their ownership and leadership of development processes. In the methodology, people are accepted as protagonists in the development process; and as such they: a) engage in determining what truly matters to them, their families, and community; b) formulate a clear vision of what they want to create in light of their current situations; and c) use the discrepancy between what they have and what they want in order to make informed choices on how to meet their aspirations.

In sharp contrast to traditional approaches to rural development, where rural people are treated as the object of development, the visionary approach treats rural people as the subject of development. It recognizes that rural people are a repository of valuable knowledge and information that can be used to improve their livelihoods. In this approach, not only do people remain in touch with what truly matters to them or that which they want to create, their vision, but the knowledge and skills learned remain resident with the people, thus enabling them to become functionally literate in a variety of domains including water management, rural technologies, human rights, gender, environment, education and household income.

For development to take root in the communities there must be a structural shift. To effect such a shift, the best leverage points in the system must be identified. In social economic systems, the key leverage points are individuals. Through their aspirations and conscious choices, they can shift their own life orientations from one where they merely react or adapt to the events as they occur (problem solving), to one in which they themselves are the creators of the events in their lives. In the reactive or responsive orientation, typically referred to as problem solving, people react or adapt to circumstances. Often the levels of emotions determine action. People are mobilized, in a marriage of convenience, to get rid of what they do not want, the “common enemy”’. Once the problem is perceived to be over, they relapse and wait for another problem to stimulate action. In the creative approach, the vision or what one truly wants/aspires to is the motivating force behind change. For each result achieved toward the attainment of that vision, people ask, “what next?” This is the core of sustainability. This is a radical departure from a mere “change of attitude” to a structural shift in the very consciousness of individuals leading to lasting change in themselves, their communities and the nation.

It enables rural people to become fully involved in the process as they realize their deep felt but often suppressed aspirations for well-being.

African Rural University focuses on the development of rural young women’s visionary leadership in recognition that that is the cornerstone for the transformation of rural communities and the realization of their full potential. Besides developing the human resource, emphasis is on using locally available resources and technologies first, as an example of what is possible for community and national development.

African Rural University (ARU) is Uganda’s newest university and the first all-women rural university in Africa fully accredited by National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) [U1/PL/017]. It was founded by Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme (URDT).

The University is located 1.5 Km along Kagadi-Hoima Road, Kagadi Town council, Kibaale District in Mid western Uganda East Africa. ARU creates a pool of female leaders who are capable of participating in the socio-economic empowerment of the marginalized, and also providing rigorous scientific input into the design and practice of rural development processes by offering an integrated curriculum.


The University is located 1.5 Km along Kagadi-Hoima Road, Kagadi Town council, Kibaale District in Mid western Uganda. Kagadi is a town in Western Uganda. It is the main commercial center in Kibaale District. However, the district headquarters are located in Kibaale, the district’s main political and administrative center. Kagadi Town is located in Buyaga County, just west of the Fort Portal-Hoima highway, approximately 100 Kilometers (62 Miles) southwest of Hoima, the largest town in the sub-region. Kagadi is also located approximately 262 kilometers (163 miles), by road, west of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city.

The coordinates of the town are: 00 57 36N, 30 48 00E (Latitude: 0.9600; Longitude: 30.8000E). In 2008, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) estimated the population of Kagadi at 18,500. The estimated growth rate of the population in kagadi is 4.0% annually. In 2011, UBOS estimated the mid-year population of kagadi at 21,600.

Students have three years of theory and practice and one year of field internship before graduation. Graduates are given opportunities of employment in satellite rural development centres; enjoy learning with professionals from Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Traditional wisdom specialists. Students participate in One hour of Foundation Course (Mon.-Fri.) that gives them the opportunity to reflect on development issues.

ARU Current Academic Programmes [2013/2014]
Degree Course:
So far the degree that is being offered is a Bachelor of Science in Technologies for Rural Transformation (BSc. TRT). This degree was accredited by Uganda’s National Council for Higher Education (NCHE). The BSc. TRT is a four year course i.e. three years of classroom study and one year field practice. Each year of classroom study is divided into two semesters of 17 weeks each. The Curriculum is designed in such a way that 60% of the Course content is covered under lectures while the 40% is covered under filed practice. There are three entry schemes for this degree:

  • Holders of Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) with a minimum of two Principle Passes [either in Arts or Science Subjects] obtained at the same sitting.
  • Holders of Diplomas [in either Science, humanities or Arts disciplines] from a recognized institution.
  • Holders of Certificates of Mature Age Examinations by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE).

Credit Certificate Course:
So far the Certificate Course being offered is a Certificate in Rural Entrepreneurship and Business Management (CREB); plans are under way to introduce other Certificate Courses. Credit Certificate means that on successful completion of such a course, one is legible for admission to any One Year ARU Diploma in Technologies for Rural Transformation and eventually to the BSc. TRT.
Plans are under way to introduce Diploma Courses after their accreditation by NCHE. The CREB lasts for One Year divided into two Semesters of Seventeen Weeks each. Admission Criteria: a minimum of three passes at Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE).
Future programmes ARU will accept 30 women students every year into each programme. The small class size is designed to accommodate supporting a mix of theory and practice throughout the curriculum. The intent is to graduate specialists who can begin work immediately, have real impact, document the work, and thus expand the scope of that impact. Other programme specialty areas will be rolled out in a staggered fashion, to allow for development and approval of the curriculum by the NCHE. Specialties will be offered in:

  • Rural Development – (this is the specialty currently being offered
  • Agribusiness
  • Rural Finance

CONTACT US The Office of the Vice Chancellor,

ARU Campus in Kagadi-Kibaale District

P.O. Box 24, Kagadi-Kibaale

Tel:       +256-793-150990/7

Mob:     +256-772-510-492


  The Office of the University Secretary

ARU Campus in Kagadi-Kibaale District

P.O. Box 24, Kagadi-Kibaale

Tel:       +256-793-150990/1

Mob:     +256-772-587-557


  The Office of Academic Registrar,
ARU Campus in Kagadi-Kibaale District
P.O. Box 24, Kagadi-Kibaale
Tel:    +256-793-150990/2


 Our Kampala Contact Office:
P.O.Box 16253, Kampala Plot 617,
Right off Southern gate City Parents
Basiima Campus.
Tel: +256-794-150-999