Rwanda & Uganda

Post-Genocide Restoration, Development & Peace Building

Study post-genocide Rwanda’s rapid development and the global trends informing it and compare it to post-conflict development in Uganda.

At a Glance





Courses taught in



Sep 14 ‎– Dec 22

Program Countries

Uganda, Rwanda

Program Base

Kigali, Gulu

Critical Global Issue of Study

Identity & Human Resilience

Identity & Human Resilience Icon

Development & Inequality

Development & Inequality Icon

Peace & Justice

Peace & Justice Icon


Why study peacebuilding and development in Rwanda and Uganda?

SIT faculty and staff are closely monitoring the situation in Rwanda and Uganda regarding international travel to these countries. In accordance with international travel guidelines, this program may begin with a two-week quarantine at an isolated location in Rwanda. During this time students, faculty, and staff will have an orientation and begin classes, taking all necessary and recommended health precautions. Following the two-week quarantine period, students will begin regular program activities at the program base in Kigali, Rwanda.

Since the devastating 1994 genocide, Rwanda has transformed itself into a model of economic development among the countries of the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Review Rwanda’s history leading up to the breakout of the genocide and how the country has worked to rebuild itself as one nation. You will examine the country’s path to development and analyze the impact of home-grown solutions for peacebuilding, reconciliation, national resilience, and strong leadership, versus the influence of neoliberal international development policies and approaches.

Compare Rwanda to another post-conflict transformation case study in Northern Uganda, which emerged from two-decades of war in 2006, and also utilized transnational justice, reconciliation initiatives, and peacebuilding in its recovery and development plan. Examine the differing results each country has achieved by embracing the Singaporean model of development and how they have embedded the Sustainable Development Goals in its development initiatives. You will also analyze how these landlocked countries are dealing with threats to peace and security from ongoing conflicts in neighboring countries, as well as from transnational forces, such as insurgent groups, terrorists, and other dissidents.


  • Visit Rwanda’s Development Board and phases 1–3 of the Rwanda Special Economic Zone.
  • See the “big five” on safari in Akagera National Park and Murchison’s National Park.
  • Explore Sipi Falls, a series of three waterfalls in Eastern Uganda near Mount Elgon National Park.
  • Examine water rights and the potential for conflict over water access at the source of the Nile.


None. However, emotional maturity is necessary, as studying genocide and its aftermath may be difficult and upsetting.


Rwanda: Genocide Memorial Sites

Explore the characteristics of the Rwandan genocide and attempts by Rwandans to overcome and reckon with history. You’ll consider how genocide memorials function as crucial historical sites and the important role they play in reconstructing lives following the genocide. Examine possible explanations for the differences between the two capitals of Kigali and Kampala. You’ll also observe and engage with a team of Rwandan university students to assess the steps the country has taken to rebuild in the post-genocide era.

Rwanda: Special Economic Zone and Development Board

Visit Rwanda’s Special Economic zone to gain insight into the country’s economic development path. You’ll assess the potential development of this zone and the possible consequences on the regional trade regime of the East African Community. You’ll also observe the investment plants in the zone and account for the prevalence of foreign direct investment.

Uganda: Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID)

Examine the nuances of implementing a refugee policy that adequately provides for urban and settlement refugees during this excursion in Uganda, which has been hailed for having the best  refugee policy in the region and most hospitable one in the world. You’ll discuss issues of resilience, psychosocial support, and vocational skills building for survival with refugees and learn about the challenges they face, particularly in the observance of their human rights.

Uganda: Nakivaale Refugee Settlement in Isingiro District

Learn about the importance of forced migration and the complex humanitarian emergency that ensues on this site visit to a refugee settlement. You’ll discuss how the space is managed with settlement administrators, go on a transect walk in the settlement, and participate in focus group discussions to identify the driving factors behind forced migration and the challenges refugees are facing. You’ll also observe the camp conditions, as well as the economy and social capital built among refugee communities.

Source of the Nile

Investigate the predication that the next world war will be fought over water on an excursion to the source of the world’s longest river.  At 6,853 km (4,258 miles) long, the Nile’s resources are shared by 11 countries, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt. Examine the controversies over the riparian states inequitable sharing, with Egypt controlling 95 percent while all the other ten states share the remaining 5 percent.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.



The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • The history of Rwanda’s genocide and the reconciliation and peacebuilding process
  • Post-conflict reconstruction and economic development in Rwanda and Uganda
  • The role of transnational justice and reconciliation initiatives in peacebuilding
  • Forced migration, complex humanitarian emergencies, and refugee settlements

Anatomy of Genocide and Intra-State Conflict

Anatomy of Genocide and Intra-State Conflict – syllabus
(AFRS-3000 / 4 credits)

This course examines the histories that precipitated the genocide in Rwanda and the twenty-year conflict in northern Uganda, casting a critical eye upon the political institutions of the modern world and popular reductionist explanations that regard conflicts in Africa as driven simply by ethnic tensions. Students will visit sites of historical and political significance in both Rwanda and Uganda, through which they will begin to explore the complex relations between histories of colonization and decolonization, indigenous traditions, and Rwanda’s genocide and Uganda’s conflict. Lectures on selected topics are delivered by local Rwandan and Ugandan scholars, and students have structured assignments in homestays and conversations with surviving victims, perpetrators, bystanders, and rescuers. These experiences give students extraordinary insights into the issues covered in the course.

Contemporary Global Development

Contemporary Global Development – syllabus
(AFRS3005 / 4 credits)

This integrative, interdisciplinary course introduces theories and paradigms of development and concepts of globalization. The course draws on key case studies to illustrate and examine the tensions, contradictions, and intended and unintended consequences of the global development agenda. Key themes and case studies will include theories and paradigms of development, a recent history of global development, economic liberalization and development, the environment, people and food, Kyoto protocols, reforestation and agrarian transitions, governance, politics and economic liberalization, industrial- and GMO-driven farming versus organic farming, global development in post-conflict contexts, health and development, fishing crisis on lake Victoria (tensions between multinational agendas and local needs). Assignments integrate readings, lectures, processing sessions, field trips, and/or in-class discussions.

Research Methods and Ethics

Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(AFRS-3000 / 4 credits)

A qualitative research design course designed to provide an overview of methodological field study approaches within the local cultural context, affording students the tools necessary to conduct field research in Rwanda. The course has three main objectives. First, the course introduces students to the tools and methods of field study with a focus on how to do field research with victims of genocide and their descendants or violence perpetrators. In doing so, the course addresses the social and cultural dynamics in post-genocide Rwanda. Classes analyze institutional and cultural strategies used to prevent ethnic conflict and interrogate the role of the field researcher in a post-conflict environment. Second, the course details the ethics of field research and introduces students to the Human Subjects Review process. Third, the seminar also devotes time to psychological orientation before site visits and to the processing of field experiences. Given the emotional weight of the program and the impact it may have on students, the program has weekly sessions to debrief, process, and talk about assigned readings, field visits, or testimonies of survivors of genocide. One function of these sessions is to reorient student focus toward positive examples of bravery, caring, and compassion that studies of genocide often reveal.

Course Options

In addition to taking the above courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following two courses:

Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits)

Students will take four weeks to investigate a development theme that is of interest to them. In addition, students have the opportunity to hone their skills in dealing with and learning from the unexpected and accomplishing a major learning task in a new and challenging environment. The research methods and ethics course done during the program will be instructive during these four weeks.

Sample ISP topics:


Internship and Seminar
Internship and Seminar – syllabus
(ITRN3000 / 4 credits)

You will gain valuable work experience and enhance your professional skillset in an international work environment, drawing on the wide network of community organizations, activists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and academics connected to the program.

Sample internships include:

  • Empowering young Rwandans to work toward sustainable peace and development at Never Again Rwanda
  • Working to prevent genocide and overcome its consequences with the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide
  • Supporting advocacy work for indigent and vulnerable groups at the Legal Aid Forum
  • Assisting International Bridges to Justice’s work to protect the basic legal rights of individuals



Due to Covid-19, there will be no homestays on this program during the fall 2020 semester. Students will stay at hotels and guesthouses while at the program base and on excursion.

Career Paths

  • Diplomatic services

  • International development

  • International refugee management

  • Development policy design

  • Community development work

Faculty & Staff

Rwanda & Uganda: Post-Genocide Restoration, Development & Peace Building

Charlotte Karungi Mafumbo, PhD
Celine Mukamurenzi, MA

Discover the Possibilities


    SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.

    See Full Breakdown

    A Jean Pierre Tuyizere and Kayla Fertman film

  • Student presents his undergrad research on post-genocide coping in Rwanda

    The University of Notre Dame’s Human Development Conference is an annual, student-led conference that provides a platform for dialogue in which students from all different backgrounds and disciplines can share their development-focused research.