The Development Studies Centre and AIDTS

Willy's Story

“Afrinspire listens to the ideas of Africans and builds on them, not shaping but supporting the agenda of partners. We share in the values and vision of Afrinspire. Together, we can achieve a lot.” 

Willy spent 20 years as a development and planning officer for grassroots Ugandan projects. He then formed The Agency for Integrated Development and Training Services (AIDTS). He has acted as a consultant to share his expertise with many international aid agencies, ploughing back his fees into the Development Studies Centre where he now teaches.


With the causes of poverty in Uganda entangled in a complex web, a holistic approach is needed for development. The Development Studies Centre in Mbarara is supported by Afrinspire to run research and training programmes for this purpose.

The factors driving and maintaining Uganda’s poverty are socioeconomic, political and environmental. It is insufficient to tackle just one issue in isolation: there is currently an increasing emphasis on integrated approaches to development, but such methods require a deeper understanding of the situation and more resources, which communities often lack.

What we do

It became increasingly clear that there was a need for a resource centre to aid East Africans interested in abolishing extreme poverty in their communities. After a major fundraising effort in the UK and also in Uganda, £160,000 was raised to build a Development Studies Centre in Mbarara, which opened in January 2008. 

The Resource Centre has a comprehensive library with a reading capacity of 30 people, training rooms including a computer training centre, and accommodation for students. Internet is also available – a rarity in remote areas of Uganda – allowing crucial communication and ideas exchange with the rest of the world.

It is also used regularly for conferences and seminars, including the Afrinspire IT Technicians' Workshop and the Afrinspire Women’s Conference, attended by delegates from across the region.

Development Studies Centre

What you can do

- £250 covers the cost of a course delegate's studies. Any contribution towards these is always greatly appreciated.

- The Development Studies Centre’s newest course was set up to train church leaders in essential finance management. It costs £100 to train a leader of one of the hundreds of churches in which it is now being implemented.

Visit our donations or fundraising pages to see how you can help


An important part of the Centre’s work involves research about development, leading to the publication of training manuals on agriculture, human resources, management and development to be used as a resource for Ugandans planning to start their own business.

The centre offers more than 40 short courses on development, teaching a solid theoretical base with practical work, designed to especially suit the development challenges of Central Africa. They include programmes in book-keeping, business planning, organisational development, stewardship for small organisations, project planning and project writing. The DSC has also hosted courses in the use of knitting machines and in small entrepreneurship, assisting people in becoming self-employed and earning a living.

One of the most important skills being taught is account keeping, a vital skill needed for successful development ventures at every level. All courses are tailored to suit the students, allowing them to apply the knowledge they gain in their communities and tackle local issues.