Women and Leadership in Africa
Africa is struggling; and it is predominantly rural. Its failure to "catch up" with industrialized countries is, in part, caused by the imposition of western approaches to both development and education on African rural economies. And in education: educational systems are molded on the European industrialized style, training participants for administrative and other "white collar" jobs. But few such jobs exist in most African countries. The result is a mass of educated young people who cannot find jobs in the cities and who are unwilling to go back to the rural areas from which they came.
ARU’s education is designed to fix this glaring mismatch. Its African educators and leaders engage with the rural people where they live, recognizing and building on local wisdom, and developing ways to partner with the West and North that empowers, rather than erodes, Africa’s international voice.
ARU welcomed its first 30 women students in September 2006 to URDT’s integrated development campus in Kagadi, Uganda ¨C a rural area in the Kibaale district, a five-hour drive west from Kampala. By 2008, ARU plans to grow its class size to 90+ students, accommodating graduates from the URDT Girls’ School, the URDT Institute for Vocational, Business and Media Studies, and other qualified candidates.
The ARU Difference
The URDT/ARU campus is the perfect location for an institution that is dedicated to educating and training Community Transformation Specialists. Young women learn by doing, taking advantage of the rich resources of URDT’s existing programmes, both on campus and in the ten counties that are served by URDT’s staff and students. Working side by side with URDT’s experienced professionals and with families, entrepreneurs, bankers, farmers, health workers and community leaders, ARU students learn: ¡ö The daily activities, concerns and goals of local villagers, mechanics, furniture builders, welders, construction workers, food processors, tailors, journalists, healthcare workers, social workers and land rights specialists ¡ö The power of systems thinking, participatory development, the creative, visionary process, effective partnerships and conversations, and conscious attention to one’s own character and leadership development ¡ö The latest proven techniques in agriculture, water sanitation, health and appropriate technologies ¨C solar energy, generate biogas, etc. ¡ö How to support entrepreneurialism ¡ö How to leverage communications technologies (radio and Internet) ¡ö How to advance human and land rights, peace and a civil society