International Journal of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development

International Journal of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development ISSN 3254-5428 Vol. 5 (6), pp. 571-582, September, 2017. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Analyzing the roles and challenges of epicenter managers as rural transformation specialists: The case of greater Kibaale, Uganda

Mutekanga D*,  Najjuma R, Namubiru R, Ndibuuza F and Tusiime J

Department of Environment Management, Faculty of Rural Development, African Rural University, P. O. Box 24, Kagadi, Uganda.

Corresponding author. E-mail: dmutekanga@aru.ac.ug

Accepted 14 June, 2017

Abstract

Rural development approaches have been hinged on infusion of resources and expecting change to occur. This has not worked in most cases as expected. Recent innovations are using the visionary approach where local communities in rural areas are in charge of their own development. This paper introduces a new method called the Epicenter Strategy in integrated rural development using the visionary approach. The Epicenter Strategy is being implemented at sub-county level by Epicenter Managers. The study examined their roles and challenges while implementing this Strategy. This took place in greater Kibaale in mid-Western Uganda. Despite challenges common to new innovations, there is a change from problem solving orientation to visionary approach among these communities. It further showed that 62% of the strategy implementers were youth and this agreed with Uganda’s national data consequently increasing the potential for sustainability. The number of villages implementing this strategy was between 48 and 80, hence reliability of results in drawing relevant recommendations. 78% of the strategy implementers indicated lack of logistical support as their major challenge. All respondents reported that the Epicenter Managers have the relevant skills, knowledge and capacity to facilitate rural transformation. Data was used to develop recommendations enhancing integrated rural transformation.

Key words: Rural Development, Epicenter Strategy, Epicenter Managers, Integrated Rural Transformation, Visionary approach.