Makerere Hill, off Bativa road, Kampala | +256 (0) 393 294 675/7
Makerere Hill, off Bativa road, Kampala | +256 (0) 393 294 675/7

Two facilities unveiled to serve as craft shops and offices for promotion of cultural enterprises in the Albertine region

The Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) in partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and financial support from TotalEnergies EP Uganda unveiled two facilities on the 23rd of May 2023 that will serve as craft shops and offices for communities neighbouring Murchison Falls National Park.

The beneficiary communities are Pakwach Art and Crafts Association (PACA), an association of handicraft making practitioner based in Pakwach District. This group will utilise the facility at Tangi gate. The other group is Mubaku Sound of the Nile Adungu Group, a traditional music group based in Mubaku village in Buliisa District but performs for guests in the park. This group will utilise the facility at Paraa, along River Nile, where tourist boats are launched from. The music group will use the facility to store their music instruments and costumes, for office purposes, changing room and also engage in selling souvenir products to guests.

The facilities are part of CCFU and TotalEnergies’ efforts to preserve and promote cultural heritage in the Albertine region by supporting music and handicraft groups through the Culture for Livelihood (CUL) project.

While speaking at the unveiling event, CCFU’s Executive Director, Ms. Barbra Babweteera noted that this builds on the Foundation’s efforts to promote cultural enterprises as sources of livelihoods and income. She added that CCFU’s hope is that the facilities will bridge gaps the cultural enterprises have been facing such as market linkages and will improve their credibility and professionalism by providing an address for the businesses.

“These facilities will go a long way in providing the market for our local traditional products. When tourists come to a place, they want to buy products authentic to the area. We thank TotalEnergies for the financial support that has enabled us to make this possible,” said Ms. Babweteera.

Mr. Kiiza Fredrick, the Murchison Falls National Park Chief Warden noted that the support rendered to the groups strengthens the efforts of the Uganda World Life Authority in positioning the Park as attractive to guests. He pledged to support the groups to ensure that the facilities are well utilised to generate income for the groups.

The LC5 Chairperson of Buliisa District, Mr. Fred Lukumu said that the culture of a community is very important to consider while implementing developing programmes because “development that is rooted into our culture is owned by communities and is sustainable”

The Chief Administrative Officer (CA0) of Pakwach District pledged to support the Pakwach Art and Craft Association to access government programmes at sub-county level to boost their enterprise.

The Culture for Livelihood Programme

The CUL project, which started in 2022, has so far supported four hand-craft making groups: Pakwach Art and Crafts Association, Tubbehamwe Women’s Group in Buliisa District, Boomu Women’s Group in Masindi District, and Can Ber Kimeyo in Nwoya District; and four traditional music groups: Bungungu Heritage and Information Centre Troupe and Mubaku Sound of the Nile Adungu Group in Buliisa District, and Wamito Kuc Women’s Music Group and Odokolit Music Group in Nwoya District.

The music groups were supported with capacity building to improve their stage performance and equipped with music instruments and costumes. The Project also conducted a research and produced a publication on “Endangered music heritage in the Albertine Region”. Similarly, the handicraft making groups were supported with capacity building to produce aesthetic products out of our traditional raw materials. They also received grants and were supported to participate in local and national exhibitions.

The CUL project is one of the four projects that TotalEnergies EP Uganda flagged off as part of the company’s ‘Action for Sustainability’ Campaign, which aims to showcase concrete actions that the company is taking towards sustainable development. The others are a) SafeWay RightWay (SWRW) for road safety initiatives in schools; b) Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to support Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) law enforcement activities in Murchison Falls National Park; and c) Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWT) to promote community, education and awareness around Budongo Forest Central Reserve.

Ms. Joy Muballe, TotalEnergies’ Social Performance Director noted that the Company “has made clear commitments towards ensuring that its activities are conducted in line with best environmental and social practices. We are committed to working with partners who are experts in implementing sustainable projects aimed at achieving positive outcomes for conservation, culture and communities.”

 “Culture is a catalyst for social and economic development and therefore we hope to play a vital role in promoting cultural income generating activities through skills development, creativity, and innovation, that will in turn empower communities for further development while preserving Uganda’s beautiful cultural heritage,” she added.

This year, TotalEnergies EP Uganda is supporting CCFU’s Heritage Education Programme to enable young people to learn, safeguard and promote their culture. Thirty heritage clubs in secondary and primary schools in Buliisa and Nwoya have so far been established and supported.

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