Examine contemporary development with case studies on environment, health, gender, and civil society in the vibrant city of Kampala.
Examine the social, political, economic, and environmental issues of development through site visits and field activities in Uganda and Rwanda.
Case studies of environmental, health, gender, and human rights projects provide the context for exploring this development model, its successes and challenges. You will explore development projects in Uganda and Rwanda and use development theory to examine the assumptions that inform the design of these projects.
Experience the dynamism of contemporary Uganda.
After almost 30 years of World Bank/IMF-backed economic and political reforms, the public-private sector partnership and local and international nongovernmental organizations are now an important part of Uganda’s vibrant and expansive landscape. Microfinance programs have grown significantly; rates of HIV/AIDS have declined; and the movement for women’s rights has made progress in ways that are unparalleled in this region. An icon of the contemporary development model in the 1990s, Uganda has been praised for this progress, and has received significant financing from the World Bank/IMF and other multi- and bilateral donors. Yet, in the past few years this progress has slowed, even as foreign aid continues to flow and the government maintains this contemporary development model.
Uganda has also been internationally hailed as a country with the most progressive refugee policy and the third largest refugee hosting state. Insights into what makes Uganda’s refugee policy outstanding are reviewed with visits to refugee settlements.
These massive transformations raise many questions: What theories informed Uganda’s development? How has this reshaped access to resources and sustainability? How do gender, class, and rural/urban dimensions influence basic social services? How has civil society responded to these policies and how has this changed Uganda’s social and political landscape? How Uganda has positioned itself in the shift from Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals will also be examined.
You will hear many perspectives and insights on these questions from policymakers, managers of government and NGO development agencies, community activists, civil society organizations, university professors, students, homestay families and casual encounters with street vendors and small business owners.
Develop case studies with university peers.
After critically examining Uganda’s contemporary development model, you will split into small groups to work alongside Makerere University students and experts at partner institutions including:
- Makerere University School of Public Health, Business, and Women and Gender Studies
- The AIDS Support Organization
- Uganda Society for Disabled Children
- Reproductive Health Uganda
- Young African Refugees in Integral Development
- Sustainable Empowerment for Economic Development
- Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited
- Uganda Association of Women Lawyers
Past case studies have included:
- Policy and practice of public health
- Human rights, the state, and civil society
- Gendered norms, practices, and women’s rights
- Community development and microfinance
- The natural environment, livelihood, and society
- Development-induced displacement
Compare Ugandan and Rwandan development models.
Both Uganda and Rwanda have had difficult political pasts: Rwanda a genocide and Uganda a two-decade insurgency in the north. Rwanda has embarked on an aggressive development path that is visible in its spectacular infrastructure, universal healthcare, and exceptional progress in reducing rates of HIV/AIDS and malaria. A comparative excursion to Rwanda examines how the two countries’ unique histories and the role of multilateral and bilateral donors and leadership have led to different outcomes.
Study eco-tourism and natural resource management and conservation with visits to Murchison Falls National Park or Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Choose to complete a field-based Independent Study Project or a hands-on internship with a community-based, national, or international development organization.
Visit street children projects, rural water schemes, and health facilities addressing epidemics and disaster epicenters in eastern Uganda.
Visit sites of historical, cultural, and economic significance, such as Uganda’s Parliament, the Nakivale refugee settlement, and genocide memorials in Rwanda.
Spend time in Murchison Falls National Park during the program’s final week.
Critical Global Issue of Study
Development | Economy | Inequality
Although there are no prerequisites, a background in development studies or a related field is strongly recommended.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- History, politics, and geography
- Economic development, health, and society
- Gender, women’s empowerment, and development
- Natural resources, the modern state, and political conflicts
- Models of eco-tourism, conservation, and natural resource management
- Land rights and food security
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.
- Development Studies Seminar – syllabus
- (AFRS3000 / 4 credits / 60 hours)
- This integrative, interdisciplinary course engages students in concepts and current debates in development studies, with emphasis on their relevance to development approaches in Uganda and, more broadly, East Africa. With development in Uganda as its focus, the course articulates local history and geography, contemporary political developments, and development priorities and approaches. Lectures are held at Makerere University, the SIT Resource Centre, and related sites within and outside Kampala. Lectures are conducted by professors from Makerere University and experts from private nongovernmental organizations and cultural institutions. Assignments integrate readings, lectures, processing sessions, field trips, and/or in-class discussions. Educational excursions form a significant part of learning in the course. Site visits may include Millennium villages, the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (an organization working to stop female genital mutilation), and Uganda's parliament, a site of animated debates at the intersection of politics and development. Recent oil discoveries have come with their own challenges and add new dimensions to development discussions in Uganda. The uses and abuses of oil as a development strategy will be an additional focus of the program.
- Luganda – syllabus
- (LUGA1003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- The primary role of Luganda language training is to provide students with the principal tools needed to gain insight into Uganda's many cultures and Luganda-speaking communities. Given its location in Kampala, where Luganda dominates, the program focuses on Luganda as the primary local lingua franca to best facilitate interactions and cross-cultural communication. The course is organized by a language coordinator and taught by a staff of native speakers experienced in teaching Luganda as a foreign language, with an emphasis on cross-cultural communication. Language learning consists of 45 hours of formal instruction. Luganda study is reinforced through the homestay experience and various participatory and interactive assignments. Language instruction may also include simulations and field trips to supplement classroom learning.
- Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
- (ANTH3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- The Research Methods and Ethics course is designed to prepare students to undertake independent field-based research or a practicum experience within a development organization setting in Uganda. The course provides the theoretical and practical frameworks to facilitate successful adjustment to life in Uganda and to enhance student capacity to accomplish challenging tasks in new and unfamiliar settings, while conducting field research or engaging in a practicum that is ethically, methodologically, and analytically sound. The course prepares students for either a research- or internship-based ISP experience using readings or activities designed to build skills in qualitative research methods, including rapid rural appraisal and participatory methods, as well as project selection and refinement. Finally, students consider the norms and expectations of ethical field engagement and reciprocity, while reflecting critically on their role as “outsiders” in the development process.
In addition to taking the above courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following two courses:
- Independent Study Project – syllabus
- (ISPR3000 / 6 credits / 180 hours)
- Students may choose to pursue a research-based Independent Study Project (ISP) conducted in Uganda in an approved location appropriate to the project. In consultation with the academic director, the ISP can be completed in Kampala or other areas of Uganda, and helps to integrate the information gained through the Development Studies and the Research Methods and Ethics courses and, as appropriate, Luganda language studies. The ISP provides the opportunity to analyze development theories using data and reflections from field-based experience. Regular sessions are coordinated for students to share their progress, challenges, and experiences with each other and with faculty mentors in order to become more effective researchers and consultants. Sample topic areas: environmental conservation and development; rural finance self-help groups and poverty alleviation; decentralization, participatory processes, and community empowerment; health, education, and the effectiveness of the Millennium Villages Project.
- Internship and Seminar – syllabus
- (ITRN3000 / 6 credits / 180 hours)
- Popular discourse of the 1990s and early 2000s portrayed Uganda as a successful development case. Progress in the women’s emancipation, microfinance, democracy, human rights and civil liberties, HIV/AIDS awareness, and poverty reduction attracted attention of international development agencies and scholars. This internship experience is intended to place students in organizations that work on a myriad of these development issues as a way to enable them to appreciate the history, complexity, challenges, and opportunities of international development from the vantage point of their internship placement.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
See the work of nongovernmental organizations (including Uganda Women’s Efforts to Save Orphans and the Uganda Red Cross), explore Ankole cattle culture, learn about rural homestead appraisals, put research methods into practice, visit a Millennium Villages Project site, the Nakivale refugee settlement, and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Travel to Rwanda to study recent political history, how relations with international actors and leadership styles have inspired Rwanda’s fast-paced development, and how this compares to Uganda. You will visit genocide memorials to explore Rwanda’s recent history. The program makes site visits to Rwanda Governance Board, Rwanda Development Board, the Kigali Special Economic Zone, and a Millennium Villages Project site.
An excursion to eastern Uganda includes a three-day rural homestay during which you will study rural water schemes, health centers, schools, small farming, food security, and local governance. You will also practice participatory rural appraisal methods to learn about Uganda’s rural livelihoods.
The program includes single-day excursions to sites of historical, cultural, and economic significance such as Kasubi Tombs, Uganda Museum, Kabaka’s Trail, the Sezibwa Falls, a foreign-funded waste management utility that is responsible for part of Uganda’s carbon credits, Mwanamugimu nutritional clinic, Uganda’s Parliament, and Makapads.
Program in a minute-ish
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
Charlotte Karungi Mafumbo, PhD, Academic Director
A Ugandan national, Charlotte obtained her PhD from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She also holds an MA in international studies from the University of Sydney, Australia; a postgraduate certificate in gender and conflict studies from Hannover University, Germany; a postgraduate diploma in social conditions and policies from Copenhagen University; and a BA of history and international organization from Makerere University in Kampala. She has just completed her fellowship as a 2012 Global South Scholar at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. She first worked with SIT as a student advisor and became an academic director in 2007.
Her research investigates why states adopt interventionist foreign policies. She has analyzed Uganda’s interventions in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
During the past decade, Charlotte has worked at Makerere University as a lecturer in history, development, peace and conflict studies, and program management. She has extensive experience in program management and has provided students with practicum and career guidance. She has strong relationships with government and nongovernmental agencies and academic institutions and rich perspectives on culture and development in Uganda.
Hellen Lwemamu, MA, Student Affairs Coordinator
Hellen coordinates lectures and site visits. She holds a BA in development studies from Makerere University and an MA in social planning and administration from the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Her recent book, Gender and Work Challenges in the Informal Sector of Uganda: A Study of Disabled Men and Women in Uganda, examines the lives of people with disabilities in Uganda and the various interventions the government has undertaken for them. A former scholar at SIT Graduate Institute’s CONTACT program, Helen will complete a fellowship on ethnicity, conflict, and inequality in global perspective at the Brown Institute of Advanced Research Initiatives at Brown University.
Paul Musungu, MA, Office Manager
Paul joined SIT Uganda in fall 2010. He manages the SIT resource center, which includes the SIT Uganda program library, and he serves as an excellent resource to the students on intercultural and personal issues. He holds a master’s degree in management science from the University of Glamorgan in the United Kingdom and an undergraduate degree in business administration from Makerere University.
Jackson Sekiziyivu, Language Coordinator and Instructor
Jackson has worked with the SIT Uganda program since 2002. He earned a diploma in secondary education from the National Teachers College, Nkozi, in 1997. He also holds a certificate in adult literacy from the Kampala City Council Community Development Programme and has completed language and cross-cultural training at the City Language Centre.
Angella Male, Language and Cross-Cultural Instructor
Angella joined the SIT Study Abroad Uganda program in 2006. She holds a bachelor of arts in education from Makerere University and has completed training in language and cross-cultural instruction at the City Language Centre in Kampala.
Florence Nakiwala, Language and Cross-Cultural Instructor
Florence joined the SIT Study Abroad program in Uganda in 2004, the same year that she earned her diploma in education. Florence has completed training in language and cross-cultural instruction at the City Language Centre in Kampala.
Alice Tebyasa and Sam Lumonya, Homestay Coordinators
Alice is one of the longest-serving local staff members on the SIT Uganda program. Using her experience as a former homestay parent, she vigilantly seeks out the most suitable homestay families. She is assisted by Sam, the program’s rural homestay coordinator, who is responsible for placing students in homestays during the eastern excursion. Solome Katusabe and David Mukhwana serve as additional rural homestay coordinators in Kasese district and Kapchorwa, respectively.
Godfrey Sebitengero, Transportation
Godfrey has been with SIT since the Uganda program’s inception and is an invaluable member of the SIT Uganda team. He is responsible for the transportation of students to study sites, health centers, and all other program activity venues.
Lecturers for this program typically include:
George B. Batte, PhD candidate
George is a lecturer in the Department of Entrepreneurship at Makerere University Business School, Nakawa. He teaches courses on entrepreneurship development, small business management, creativity and innovation, and social entrepreneurship. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship and small business management. His research interests are in energy and entrepreneurship. He is pursuing a PhD in technology entrepreneurship with a focus on the diffusion of energy technologies in rural Uganda. He first joined the SIT Uganda: Development Studies program in 2009.
Betty Ezati, PhD
Betty is a senior lecturer at Makerere University’s School of Education. Her areas of expertise include curriculum design and education administration. She is a senior advisor to the university council on curriculum design and is engaged in numerous research projects aimed at quality assurance in the education sector.
Dixon Kamukama, PhD candidate
Dixon is a professor in the Department of History at Makerere University and is pursuing a PhD at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He lectures SIT students on the management of decentralization. His publications include Rwanda Conflict: Its Roots and Regional Implications and “The Development and Consolidation of Extremist Forces in Rwanda: 1990–1994,” coauthored with Joan Kakwenzire and Eustace Rutiba, in The Path of a Genocide: The Rwanda Crisis from Uganda to Zaire, edited by Howard Adelman and Astri Suhrke.
Ogenga is the leader of Uganda’s main opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change. He holds a PhD in agriculture and has lectured at Makerere University. He is originally from northern Uganda.
Norbert Mao, MA
Norbert has a bachelor of laws from Makerere University, an associate BA in democracy and development and an MA in development studies from Uganda Martyrs University, and a post-graduate diploma in legal practice from the Law Development Centre. He was a fellow with the Yale World Fellows Program in 2003-04. Norbert is president of the Democratic Party, the oldest political party in Uganda. He served for 10 years as a member of the Ugandan parliament. He initiated the peace talks between the government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army that yielded the current peace in the region. Norbert’s lectures on this program include “Reconstruction, Recovery, and Rehabilitation: Post-Conflict Gulu’s Development Path” and “Constitutionalism and Constitutional Reforms.”
Fred Muhumuza, PhD
Fred holds a PhD in development economics from the University of Manchester in the UK, and serves as economic advisor to Uganda’s minister of finance, planning, and economic development. Before this appointment, he worked as a senior researcher at the Economic Policy Research Centre at Makerere University. He has been associated with this program since 2008, serving as a student advisor and teaching the Crisis of Development in Uganda class. Since 1998, he has been teaching at the Faculty of Economics and Management at Makerere University. His research includes macroeconomic policy, public sector policy processes, budget and budget execution frameworks, trade policy, health, Uganda’s financial sector, agriculture, and education.
Andrew Mwenda, PhD candidate
Andrew is a Ugandan journalist and has been a visiting scholar at many universities. He is currently pursuing a PhD at Stanford University. He lectures on Uganda’s crisis of development from the perspective that foreign aid does not lead to development but, rather, deepens the development crisis. He is the author of high-profile articles on foreign aid including “Patronage Politics, Donor Reforms, and Regime Consolidation in Uganda” in African Affairs (2005), published with Tangari Roger. His pieces have been published in the International Herald Tribune, The Times, The Economist, the Washington Post, and The New York Times. He is founder and editor of The Independent, one of Uganda’s premier current affairs news magazines.
Frank Nabwiso, PhD
Frank holds a PhD in history. A former lecturer at Kyambogo University, he has taught for the SIT program since 2008. He is involved in Ugandan politics, having served as a member of parliament in Uganda’s sixth parliament. He lecturers SIT students on Uganda’s geography and ethnic communities.
Stella Neema, PhD
Stella received her PhD from Copenhagen University in Denmark. She teaches ethics and research in Uganda. She sits on the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology Board and the SIT Local Review Board for Human Subjects Review. She advises SIT Study Abroad students on research procedure and supports their application for internship permits and ethical clearances in the respective districts where they do their work.
Christopher G. Orach, PhD
Christopher is senior lecturer and head of the Department of Community Health and Behavioral Sciences at Makerere University. He holds a PhD from Vrije Universiteit Brussels, a master of public health from Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, a master of medicine in public health, DPH, and bachelor’s degrees in medicine and surgery from Makerere University. He teaches courses on sexual and reproductive health; disaster preparedness and response management; public health in complex emergencies; and health systems, including health services organization in emergencies. He lectures SIT students on Uganda’s healthcare systems and advises students during their ISPs.
The SIT Uganda program is a transforming experience that sets the ultimate direction for so many people’s lives.
The SIT Uganda program is a transforming experience that sets the ultimate direction for so many people’s lives. Uganda has always been and always will be intertwined through my life and soul. Everything I do comes back to lessons that I learned during this semester.
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.
The urban homestay is six weeks with a break in the middle for a two-week educational excursion. Kampala is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city representing a diverse range of ethnic groups. Luganda is the dominant language spoken in and around Kampala; therefore, efforts are made to place students within Luganda-speaking families. You will become immersed in social life, form relationships with families and the wider community, participate in household activities, and attend traditional ceremonies. This exposure offers local perspectives and insights on a wide range of social, political, and international issues. Homestay families live in the suburbs of Kampala and are carefully selected to represent diverse social and economic characteristics. This creates a diverse learning experience when you and your group share your homestay experiences with one another through weekly processing sessions.
Eighty percent of Uganda’s population lives in rural areas, so this one-week homestay is aimed at exposing you to the agrarian way of life experienced by most Ugandans. The rural homestay alternates from semester to semester between Busia district among the Abasamia ethnic group, Kapchorwa district among the Sabinyi ethnic group, or Kasese district among the Bakonzo ethnic group. You and one other student will live with a rural host family for three days and three nights. You will learn how data may be collected in rural settings and how rural people support their livelihoods in an era of privatization and economic liberalization.
Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project
You have the option to spend the last six weeks of the program engaged in an Independent Study Project (ISP) with the opportunity to pursue original research on a topic of particular interest to you. The ISP allows you to analyze development theories using data and reflections from field-based experience. Regular sessions are coordinated for students to share their progress, challenges, and experiences with one another and with faculty mentors to become more effective researchers and consultants. The ISP is conducted in Kampala or in another approved location in Uganda appropriate to the project.
Sample ISP topics:
- Environmental conservation and development
- Rural finance self-help groups and poverty alleviation
- Healthcare systems and management of epidemics
- Refugee education, health, and food security
- Decentralization, participatory processes, and community empowerment
- Health, education, and the effectiveness of the Millennium Villages project
Students on this program represent different colleges, universities, and majors. Many of them have gone on to do academic and professional work that connect back to their experience abroad with SIT. Recent positions held by alumni of this program include:
- Development consultant at the World Food Program, Lilongwe, Malawi
- Graduate student in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Princeton in Africa fellow at the International Rescue Committee, Kampala, Uganda
- Intern, Clinton Foundation, New York, NY
- Various positions within government organizations and international nongovernmental organizations
Costs and Scholarships
Costs and Scholarships
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.
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
- Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
- Development Studies
- Economic and Political Reforms
- Civil Society
- Nongovernmental Organizations in Uganda
- Independent Study Project preparation and Human Subjects Review training
- Intensive language instruction in Luganda
- All educational excursions to locations such as western Uganda, Rwanda, and eastern Uganda, including all related travel costs
- Independent Study Project or internship (including accommodation and food)
- Health insurance throughout the entire program period
Room & Board: $2,665
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
- All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Kampala), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project or internship, and during the final evaluation period. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.
- All homestays (six weeks in Kampala and one week in a rural area of eastern Uganda)
- All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.
Estimated Additional Costs:
International Airfare to Program Launch Site
International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
Visa Expenses: $130
Books & Supplies: $100
International Phone: Each student must bring a phone with them to their program.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.
You may choose to complete an internship during the final six weeks of this program. You will be placed with a Ugandan organization where you will gain work experience related to the program’s theme and develop professional skills you can use in your career.
In addition to completing the internship, you will submit a paper in which you describe, assess, and analyze learning. The paper will also outline the tasks you completed through the internship, professional relationships you developed, and challenges you encountered and how you overcame them.
SIT will use its extensive network in Kampala and throughout Uganda to place you in a governmental, national, or international organization working in the broad area of international development. The academic director may also grant approval for you to find your own internship placement. The six-week internship period will allow you to delve deeply into the working environment of an NGO under the tutelage of a working professional in the field while engaging in critical reflection on a regular basis with an SIT advisor.
- Promoting social accountability, equality, and democratic governance at Foundation of Human Rights Initiative
- Working in refugee settlements or transitional camps or providing support to urban refugee populations through the Office of the Prime Minister’s Department of Disaster Preparedness or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
- Supporting efforts to provide humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers at UNICEF
- Working in departments on wetlands, forestry, and environmental services at the Ministry of Water and Environment
- Assisting an immigration and anti-human-trafficking task force at the Ministry of Internal Affairs
- Participating in constructive, creative, and cooperative approaches to conflict resolution at the Centre for Conflict Resolution
Other potential internship sites:
- Amnesty International
- Uganda Red Cross
- The AIDS Support Organization
- Care International
- Association of Uganda Women Lawyers
- Ministry of Gender and Social Development
- Slum Aid Project
- International Alert
- Akina Mama wa Africa Reproductive Health Uganda
- Kapchorwa Association of Civil Society Organizations