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By Kristi Eaton
By the end of the year, a new Institute focused on honoring and disseminating cultural knowledge and cultural heritage in Kyotera, Uganda, and East Africa at large will be open in a small community in Uganda.
The Institute of Cultural and Performing Arts is part of the Tat Sat Community Project in Kasasa, Uganda. Also known as ICPA, the Institute will allow students and community elders to explore and share knowledge and traditions important to the community in conjunction with the standard curriculum offered by the project’s secondary school.
Community members, students, and community artists will also be able to exchange knowledge and share cultural experiences with visitors from across the region and world.
New Institute shares culture in East Africa
The ICPA also envisions a guest house that will allow for immersive, long-term exchanges with students within and beyond Kyotera and Uganda, as well as artists from across the world who want to engage through experiences of dance, music and other art forms and community cultures.
The community of Kasasa, Uganda, partnered with The InteRoots Initiative to develop the project. InteRoots is a Denver, Colorado-based nonprofit working both domestically and internationally on projects that are designed by and sustainable to local communities.
The Institute is expected to be up and running by the end of the year.
M. Scott Frank, co-founder and executive director of the InteRoots Initiative, said he is excited for the cultural immersion that will be able to take place at the Institute.
“The ICPA will be a place for old and young to come together and exchange knowledge among themselves to honor the vital role cultural activities like dance, music and other art forms play in East Africa,” he said.
Tat Sat Community Project
The Tat Sat Community Project also includes a school for students and a savings and credit cooperative. The Tat Sat Community Secondary School (TaSKA) opened in February 2023 with over 120 students already, 57 students in the boarding section, and 63 in day school, all coming from Kasasa and nearby communities.
“It is very interesting that there are more girls than boys in such a rural school – it is usually the opposite,” said Ronald Kibirige, co-founder of InteRoots and chairman of the Board of Directors.
“There is a progressive attitude and equal opportunities for all not only with student enrollment, but also within the confines of the project. With Obuntubulamu at the center of the whole endeavor, coexistence at all levels is ignited. It is amazing to see a community with people of different ethnicities, religious, and cultural backgrounds coming together to solve their own challenges, and engraving solution finding mechanisms within their community endeavors. It has existed before, they just needed a binding force to rekindle it. It is amazing to witness.”
Interoots accepting donations
To help pay the necessary school fees, families can process and sell their grains at the project’s local, community maize mill as part of the project.
Over 100 tons of grain is expected to have been bought and milled from the community and made available to the community and beyond to the wider Kyotera- Masaka-Kampala market by the end of the next grain season.
A total of 10 acres of maize grain is planned for the season to supplement the community maize production capacity, all coming to a total of over $25,000 of investment (approximately $70,000 when purchasing power parity is taken into account) in community grain production – empowering families to subsidize their children’s education.
“The maize mill is revolutionary,” Frank said. “The community is part of the committees that discuss the school fees structure, and with the maize mill, they are able to help cover the costs associated with the student attending. It’s a holistic approach, and we are excited to see what the future holds for this project and the many new ideas the community will bring to life. ”
People who wish to learn more or donate to the cause can visit Interoots.org.