We are off to Uganda on Wednesday with our MSc International Development students as part of their Fieldwork course at IDPM at the University of Manchester! Students will be carrying out their own research projects within a range of pathway themes, including: Development as an Environmental Project; Rural Development for Sustainable Livelihoods; Exclusion to Empowerment: Overcoming Structural Inequalities; and State-in-society? Service Delivery.
I am coordinating the pathway theme on Rural Development for Sustainable Livelihoods in Uganda. Our interest is to understand how the Rural Space Economy in Uganda works and what opportunities and challenges the rural environment presents for building sustainable livelihoods. Within this theme our students will be carrying out fieldwork on a diverse range of topics, for example, ‘Collaborative Forest Management: The Role of Women’s Participation in Improving Livelihoods in Masindi District’, ‘Uganda National Land Policy: Livelihood Impacts on Women in Rural Uganda’ and ‘Agricultural Extension Services: Impact on Practices and Access to Information in Uganda’.
We will be spending some time in Kampala, Buliisa, Hoima, Masindi and Entebbe, visiting a range of communities and projects, including: Collaborative Forest Management communities; community meetings on oil and deforestation; meeting sugar cane and horticultural farmers; and visiting a revenue sharing bee keeping project, to name but a few. We will also be attending panels and meetings at the institutional level, such as Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture Secretariat and the UK Department for International Development.
Of course there will be some time for fun with a trip across the Nile, a game drive around the delta and a visit to the falls in Murchison National Park!
I will be adding photos over the next couple of weeks!
It seems fitting to end with the beautiful words of Ugandan poet, Okot P’Bitek (Song of Ocol, 1970)
‘And the leaves
Of the olam tree
That fall off
At the start of the droughts,
Did you dream
That the leaves
Would become banknotes
And be scattered by the wind
Among the villagers?’