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Iowa State University Development Workshop in Uganda

Indoor Collaborative Facilities - Winterhof Commons
The workshop will be held in the Winterhof Commons at the Mpirigiti Rural Training Center.

The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) established in 2003 in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University (ISU) works side-by-side with Kamuli District residents to discover and implement sustainable solutions to meeting the community’s most urgent needs. Starting with farmer training, the center has evolved into programming that touches every stage of the life cycle.  During this time, CSRL has designed, developed, and managed sustainable rural livelihood programs in Eastern Uganda, which assist in furthering the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals. Day-to-day operations in Uganda are managed by a successful team of nearly 50 staff in the NGO named Iowa State University-Uganda Program (ISU-UP).

The ISU-Uganda Program operates primarily in the Kamuli District. It provides a unique opportunity for students and practitioners to learn about good practices in development by engaging with a successful NGO.  Beginning in 2024, ISU will offer an annual Development Workshop made possible by generous donors from the USA. At the ISU Development Workshop, students and NGO practitioners will attend lectures by development experts, visit high-impact programs in the field, gain experience working in high-performing teams, and complete a project design guided by ISU-UP staff and Iowa State University faculty. 

At the end of the Development Workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe and explain components of high-impact activities used in sustainable rural livelihood programs.
  2. Examine good practices used in rural development programs and integrate these into project designs.
  3. Create a new project design for use in a sustainable rural development program.

2024 ISU Development Workshop Theme: “Designing and Managing Sustainable Rural Livelihood Programs”

January 3-13, 2024

Garden demonstration in Uganda
Participants can visit garden demonstration beds that showcase a variety of plants using different growing methods, new and familiar plant varieties, and a shaded pavilion for training meetings. Photo credit: Brian Nonnecke

The opening session will begin at 1:00 pm in Kamuli on January 3. The workshop will finish at the final recognition lunch in Kamuli on Saturday, January 13. For international participants arriving by air, transportation will be provided from Entebbe to Kamuli departing Entebbe at 9:00 am on January 3. For those departing by air at the close of the program from Entebbe International Airport, transportation will be provided on Saturday, January 13 leaving Kamuli at 3:00 pm with an anticipated arrival at the airport by 7:00 pm.

Location: The ISU Development Workshop will be held at the Mpirigiti Rural Training Center (MRTC) located 1 km south of the town of Kamuli in Eastern Uganda. MRTC is a residential training center designed to host groups and includes guest accommodations, meeting areas, library, cafeteria, laundry, livestock and crop demonstrations, and sports facilities. For further information: 

Eligibility: Advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, and early career NGO practitioners from East Africa, the U.S. and Europe are eligible to apply to attend the ISU Development Workshop. Participants from outside East Africa must be able to pay for and obtain an Ordinary Ugandan Visa. All participants must be able to satisfy all Ministry of Health entry requirements in effect at the time of arrival. 

Language of the Workshop: The language of the workshop will be English. All participants must be sufficiently capable in English to read, write, and speak at a professional level. 

Entry requirements: Participants from outside East Africa must be able to pay for and obtain an Ordinary Ugandan Visa or satisfy all Ministry of Health entry requirements in effect at the time of arrival. Currently, yellow fever virus vaccination certificate is required for all travelers aged 1 year or over.

Recruitment Target: ~6 participants from Uganda and East Africa & ~6 participants from ISU/U.S./Europe

Wintersteen Lounge
The Wintersteen Lounge in the training center will provide participants a space for gathering and relaxing.

Scholarship Funding: Participants will receive a scholarship that covers the program costs in Kamuli, including registration fee, sleeping accommodations, full board (all meals), and all ground transportation for field visits. It also includes round-trip ground transportation between Entebbe and Kamuli.

  • Participants from African countries other than Uganda will be reimbursed up to $350 on arrival for actual transportation expenses (air, bus, taxi) and actual transit expenses for hotels and meals. Participants from Uganda will be reimbursed for actual ground transportation expenses (taxi or bus) up to $50 to either Entebbe or Kamuli.
  • EU citizens traveling from an EU country will be eligible for reimbursement on arrival in Kamuli of 50% of their international airfare to Entebbe or $1,200, whichever is less. Receipts and bank account information will be collected on arrival and reimbursements made via electronic transfer. 
  • For U.S. citizens, contact Sofia Fernandez at for more information on the scholarship funding and participant fee amount.

Workshop Leaders:

  • Dr. David Acker: Co-Leader, Director, Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods
  • Dr. Gail Nonnecke:  Co-Leader, Associate Director for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods
  • Dr. Gideon Nadiope: Co-Leader, National Director of ISU-Uganda Programs
  • Ms. Sofia Fernandez:  Workshop Coordinator
    • Sofia is a recent graduate of Iowa State University, where she earned a degree in Global Resource Systems and Agricultural Studies and is currently pursuing her M.S. in Agricultural Education. In 2022, Sofia traveled to Uganda, where she worked as a service learner and intern and conducted research on Food and Nutrition Security Support Groups.

To apply: Submit a letter of interest detailing what your career goals are and how this workshop will help you meet those goals. Submit your letter of interest, resume, and names/ contacts of 3 references by email to

Deadline to apply for the 2024 ISU Development Workshop is October 30, 2023.