Our Story

Ken Goyer with kids in village

Founder Ken Goyer with children in a village outside Gulu, Uganda.

African Rural Development and Sustainability Organization had its beginnings under the name Aid Africa when Ken Goyer, its eventual founder, went to Southern Uganda in 2004 with an International Rotary Club project to teach more efficient cooking methods using the Six Bricks Rocket Stove.  While there, an encounter with the IDP camps in Lira, Northern Uganda inspired Ken to respond to the urgent needs of these poorest of the poor in the camps.

Beginning in Lira

Aid Africa logoAid Africa’s first project took place in 2005 with a stove project in the IDP camps near Lira. Eventually, we completed stoves for families in all of the urban camps there and started making stoves in more distant camps. During this first project we learned about the alarming rates of sickness and death among young children and started transporting babies to the hospital. When the International Lifeline fund took over our project, we moved up the road to Gulu.

Changing Circumstances, Continuing Needs

But things changed radically in the Spring of 2009 when the Ugandan government systematically closed the camps where tens of thousands of people had been living for 25 years and sent them back to their ancestral villages. They were sent back with nothing, and to nothing — no homes, no food, no water, no crops, no tools, and no money with which to purchase these things. Work was scarce. Hunger was widespread.

Aid Africa reacted quickly to address these new circumstances – adapting our methods and priorities to help people reestablish healthy and sustainable villages. We continued building stoves, saving babies, and planting trees, and developed a simple and inexpensive technique to dig bore holes and pump clean water – giving us the ability to provide new wells for a fraction of the cost charged by commercial well drillers.

Where We Are Now


View Larger MapWe have seen exciting changes in the last few years. But as Acholi people continue to resettle villages, search for water, raise crops, and reestablish their communities, the poverty and challenges seem unending. But not unsolvable. Aid Africa is working collaboratively with an army of organizations to bring help and hope to the poorest of the poor in Uganda, with a vision to rebuild 1,000 sustainable communities by providing clean water, stoves, life-saving health care, education, farming and reforestation, and other household necessities. We’re going to change the lives of 100,000 Ugandans, and generations of Ugandans to come…forever. Join us.