Who we are
Tracing our roots: Interview with Alex Ruhunda, the ingenious brain behind KRC-UGANDA formation.
Alex, a stalwart in the realm of community development, assumes the pivotal role of the founding Director at Kabarole Research and Resource Centre Uganda (KRC-UGANDA). This esteemed organization operates at the grassroots level, forging meaningful connections with thousands of families and various entities across the expansive landscape of Uganda. As KRC-UGANDA commemorated an impressive two decades dedicated to the spheres of research, advocacy, and community development, John Murungi, the accomplished News Editor at KRC-UGANDA, seized the opportunity to engage in an in-depth interview with this multifaceted personality. With a wealth of experience as an NGO luminary, a shrewd entrepreneur, and now a dedicated politician, Alex graciously unraveled the tapestry of KRC’s history. The ensuing excerpts from this insightful conversation shed light on the significant milestones and transformative journey that KRC-UGANDA has traversed over the past twenty years.
John: Honourable, thank you for accepting to talk to us amidst your tight schedule. The KRC journey that began 20 years ago seems to be getting to fruition. How has the journey been?
Alex: When I look back 20 years ago (1996), I feel humbled that the casual meeting that began in a tiny room at Livingstone Hall, Makerere University, has now epitomised into a fully-fledged NGO operating in tens of districts in Uganda and supporting numerous community interventions in the Rwenzori Region of Western Uganda. It is a dream I harboured after seeing how marginalised our region was. When I called my other colleagues with whom I was serving in the leadership of Kabarole Students Association, we agreed to start a vocational centre, but when we approached our patron, Fr. Albert Byaruhanga (RIP), he advised us to start a research centre since there was a research gap in our region. My colleagues whom I started with included, John Rwibasira, Judith Bamuturaki, Tracy Kajumba and Sarah Murungi.
John: So, you started just like that?
Alex: Not at all. The journey was not simple. As young students just about to complete our studies, we didn’t even have a cent to our name. But with determination and modest facilitation from Fr Albert (RIP), we managed to come back home (Kabarole) upon completion of our courses and start-from scratch. Our patron (Fr Albert) guaranteed us at Fort Portal Diocese Social Services Department for us to be given rent on credit in one of the Diocesan Houses. We entered the office without furniture! It was until after sometime that we got some few chairs and a desk.
John: But with this kind of background how did you manage getting entrusted with bigger assignments?
Alex: As I told you, without Fr Albert, we wouldn’t have made any headway. It is through his vast connections that we got our first major research on girl child education from SNV. This was later followed by the MTN market research. As you know the rest is history. We went on to attract funding from donors like Hivos, DED, DFID, GTZ, GAA, Bread for the World, Obumu, Kwataniza, MC Knight Foundation, Broederlijk Delen, Rabobank. Later on, we got DFID, European Union and many others. On this note I would like to give mention to one Mr. Maurice Barnes whose European connections got us to partner with most of the donors.
John: What would you count as KRC’s biggest achievements during your leadership
Alex: As KRC, we pioneered the adaptation of Participatory Action Learning Systems and the Poverty Resource Monitoring Tool (PRMT) as sustainable and empowering systems for action learning. We also put emphasis on capacity building and training of grassroots communities for economic, social and environmental sustainability-as well as leadership mobilisation through engagements with leaders at various levels. I can also talk of the empowerment of staff as one of my biggest achievements when I was at KRC. That’s why when I decided to join politics, I was not worried on whom to leave as the director.
John: Your last word.
Alex: I am very happy that KRC is taking seriously the social investment aspect. As the Chairperson of the investment committee of KRC, I want to work with KRC management to make KRC 102 FM, one of the biggest radio stations in the Country. As we celebrate 20 years of KRC, I would also like to salute the KRC Alumni who despite moving on to other institutions they have kept raising the KRC flag high. These include; Mr. Richard Busiinge, Mr. Andrew Bahemuka, Miss Ednah Karamagi, Miss Lydia Muchodo and Mr. Asiimwe Robert. I cannot forget appreciating the KRC Board Members with whom I served both as ED and now a Board Member.
Tracy C. Kajumba
“When we started KRC, we were young without any experience but we had a will to go back home and cause a change where other graduates shunned working upcountry. It was not easy to start from scratch, but we always had the support and encouragement of Fr. Albert Byaruhanga (RIP). To date, KRC is one of the most vibrant research and development institutions in the region, and it’s such a pleasure to see it create solutions to development challenges but also creating employment in the region. The capacity and credibility of KRC should be able to advance its influence to national and international levels”.
Mohammed Ahmed Shariff
Deputy ED / Head of Programs
Head of Governance and Policy Advocacy Unit
Head of Food security and Agribusiness unit
Finance and Administration Manager
Our Mission, Vision, Values and Ideologies
To build a dynamically strong research, advocacy and community development organization that enables policy makers, academia, CSOs, private sector and rural communities to respond to development needs for a peaceful, equitable and economically sustainable development”.
A leading research, advocacy and community development organization in Uganda.
- Love for humanity: We believe in the superiority of human life over anything else and so, human beings come first. So, we defend humans and their dignity. Poverty robs people of living in dignity and so, we wage war on poverty of all forms.
- Service above self: We exist to serve others. We undertake actions which primarily are about others as opposed to our own self-preservation. It is worth doing if someone is being helped out.
- Tolerance: We embrace the diversity in our environment and know firsthand that there will always be different viewpoints and therefore, we train ourselves to listen and be lifetime students.
- Empathy: We trade places so we can understand the impact of our actions on other people. We place ourselves in the lives of the poor and marginalized and feel their pain and desire the more to do something to bring their suffering to an end.
- Respect for self and others: We accept all people for who they are, even when they’re different from us or we don’t agree with them.
The KRC-Uganda development ideology embodies KRC’s holistic approach to community development. It stresses the thematic integration of food security and agribusiness, climate resilience, human rights, good governance supported by Action Oriented Reflective Research (ARR) and Evidence Based Information (EBI) in an evolving process of improvement. Out of this, comes practical knowledge and motivation leading to increased household incomes, civic competence and improved livelihoods.
The ideology is built on the belief that improvement in the household livelihood which is the ultimate focus of this strategy is derived from the consolidated socio-economic interventions that focus on access to knowledge, favorable financial services, markets, increased productivity, food security, freedom of choice, civic competence and private sector development.
The ideology also builds on the following assumption that:
- when small holder farmers with the right attitude in the region are given practical knowledge and skills in sustainable agricultural production, agro business, climate change adaptation and are facilitated to access favourable savings & credit services and market opportunities they will then increase their productivity, food security, capital, business confidence and have reliable and favourable markets for their produce and this will ultimately increase household.
- when economically empowered small holder farmers are facilitated with knowledge about their human rights including electoral rights, informed about critical leadership and governance issues in their constituencies and informed about their domestic accountability roles; they will then actively participate in LG planning and advocate for the attainment of their human and economic rights, effectively engage leaders on developmental issues at group, community, district and national levels for improved accountability and transparency, . This will ultimately result in greater civic competence, improved service delivery and holistic enjoyment of human rights.
- When communities are involved in action-research they will then have a deeper reflection and understanding of their operating environment which will ultimately help them make informed social-economic choices about different business enterprises to undertake, micro finance services, markets, leadership and governance.
We are proud to collaborate with a diverse network of partners who share our commitment to positive change and community development. At KRC-UGANDA, our NGO’s impact is amplified through meaningful partnerships with various organizations, governmental bodies, and community stakeholders. Together, we work towards creating sustainable solutions and fostering a brighter future for the communities we serve. Our partners play a crucial role in supporting our initiatives, contributing valuable insights, and collectively addressing the multifaceted challenges that impact the well-being of local populations. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our partners for their unwavering dedication and collaborative spirit, as we continue to make a lasting impact on the journey toward positive and inclusive development.