The Women's Vocational Training Center, Abundi: A Case Study of the Development of a Rural Vocational Training School in Uganda

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Patricia A. Watkins


Richard Gray


Dorothy Ettling


The purpose of this ethnographic case study was to gain insight into the expectations and perceptions of indigenous partners in emerging nations as well as exploring how Western donor organizations, particularly faith based organizations (FBOs), can effectively collaborate in projects initiated in those nations. The Women’s Vocational Training Center in northern Uganda has had its starts and stops. This ethnographic case study examined the collaboration between an African church diocese and its Western partner as well as factors that have created the struggle for the Center’s survival and its impact on stakeholders. Structural functionalism and liberation theory provided the theoretical framework in the study undertaken to gain insight into the expectations and perceptions of indigenous partners in emerging nations as well as to explore how Western donor organizations, particularly faith-based organizations, can effectively work in those countries. Qualitative inquiry utilized interviews, observations, formal meetings, informal gatherings, and journal notes. Twenty-four participants, 12 from each diocese, were chosen from a convenience sample. Semi-structured interviews provided rich data which were subsumed into themes for the study: resources, relationships, education, leadership, change, viability, and culture. The researcher concluded that unrealistic expectations, contrasting views of accountability, the lack of locally generated income, and cultural dissimilarities were root causes of problems in this cross-cultural project. Possibilities for further research include examining the method by which world missions are currently conducted; exploring a new paradigm for teaching illiterate rural women; and the challenge of institutional governance in hierarchical societies as well as enhanced training for cross-cultural projects.

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