The Cultural Avenue staged a short performance and held a talk back session at Linneaus University, Växjö, Sweden. The Open University event was organised by Peace and Development Studies under the theme: “Reconciling Refugee and Host communities through the arts”
‘Home is Home’ is a collection of poems written about a place called Nakivale found in Isingiro district in western Uganda. It is a settlement camp for refugees. The poems are a dedication to the lease of life the place gave the inhabitants. The poems were written by youths most of whom were writing poetry for the first time. The book is a preservation of memories and experiences the place conjures up in the hearts of these young writers. ‘Home’ for the feelings it stirs was a theme close to experience of the writers. Subsequent publications of this kind will enable us document the progress made by the youths in this creative process.
Date: 7th May 2017
Venue: Nakivale Refugee settlement
Time: 11:00am – 1:00 pm
We are glad to announce that the organizers at DoaDoa– East African Performing Arts Market have offered us a platform to have a conference teaser to discuss refugees in Uganda’s Cultural sector. The conference is the first in a series of discussions aimed at developing a policy briefing paper in regards to refugee integration through different conceptualization and understanding of Culture.
Date: 11th May 2018
Venue: Uganda Museum, Kampala
Time: 12:00 -1:00 pm.
Moderator: Angella Emurwon
We collaborated with The Schools Theater Festival 2017 to ensure participation of some members from Naki One. The festival was preceded with a peace building training camp that ran from the 7th- 12th May 2017. The camp, according to the organizers, was billed as a cultural exchange exercise where students from different schools and backgrounds work with a selected group of youth out of school or in different communities to share experiences, and tell their stories. They worked together with professional directors, music coaches and choreographers to develop their personal stories into theater performances for the festival. The participants in the camp are expected to develop knowledge and skills in team building, dealing with difficult situations, building self esteem, public speaking, to mention but a few.
In 2018, we shall partner with the festival to have more refugee integration themes and participation.
Naki One is a networking artist group of young people of all the different nationalities living in Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda.
The group, later branded “Naki One” was originally composed of 20 youthful poets, singers and dancers chosen through an open competitive process to participate in the pilot artistic project “Speak, open the Conversation”.
At the end of the training exercise, the youths decided to stay together as a group thus the emergency of Naki One. It’s now open for membership to all youth artists in Nakivale Refugee Settlement upon registration.
Before Naki One came into existence, most of the individual artists did not know each other even though they lived in the same settlement. Through the group, artists continue to support each other beyond harnessing their talents and putting on performances to personal predicaments.
In the future, the group hopes to continue establishing artistic connections and participate in concerts and training outside the settlement.
SPEAK, OPEN THE CONVERSATION
GENERAL PROJECT INFORMATION
|Project Name||SPEAK YOUR MIND||Changed to ‘Speak, Open the conversation!’|
|Project description||Pilot artistic oriented project aimed at facilitating and aiding a route for refugee youths to the creative economy of their host country, Uganda.|
|Project objectives/Goals||Artistic empowerment||Main objective of the pilot was to test methodology.|
|Project activities||-Workshops in creating art, spoken word, movement, artistic e-marketing, performance.
|A number of workshops and one production carried out in Nakivale refugee settlement.
Themes: Democracy, human rights and gender equality.
|Project Implementation period||23rd Jan 2017 – 2nd Feb 2017
|Limited to activities in Nakivale Refugee settlement. Excludes activities such as preparatory meetings and TOT.|
|Funding sources.||Swedish Institute, Regina Theatre Uppsala, FRC|
|Additional project support.||Coca cola Sabco.||Provided tents and chairs during for the performance in Nakivale|
|Project Facilitating Organisations||Bonfire Uganda, Sophie Muwanika Institute for Social change, Regina theatre, Kitara Nation|
Out of more than 50 refugee youths that showed up for the selection process of the participants, 25 were selected. The open selection process adhered to principles of inclusion, consensus, gender equality, and ensured that majority of different nationalities in the refugee settlement were represented. However, the selection process did not tap into talent from the furthest areas from the base camp. We also noticed that young people of Somali descent were not present during the selection process.
- Gender Composition
Despite the efforts to have an evenly gender balanced group, there were slightly more males than females making up the final 25 participants. This accruing to the fact that males expressed more interest in the process than females. More corrective mechanisms are required to ensure equal participation of all genders.
The training lasted for two weeks minus the weekends. Worth observing is the fact that the young people drew on their differences (nationality, Language and others), their shared past experience, and present understanding of Nakivale as ‘home’ to learn, dialogue and work together in the course of the project. The result of which was a performance production at Nakivale base camp youth center.
The young people formed a performance group they called Naki one with a democratically gender sensitive elected leadership.
DEVIATION FROM PROJECT ACTIVITIES.
Bearing in mind the importance of a local audience in building the young peoples’ stage craft, we renovated a stage platform at the Youth center to act as a stage. We hope the young people will continue to use this platform to artistically dialogue, communicate and engage the Nakivale community.
With the exception of platform/stage construction instead of a performance in Kampala, no other deviations from the agreed project activities or budget allocations were undertaken.
- A few ‘official’ issues beyond our control arose in the course of the project. We noticed that they were mostly occasioned by communication gaps within and/or among other organizations working within Nakivale settlement. It was all a worthy learning experience.
- The training facilitators were in some aspects ill equipped to work with young people in the context of a ‘refugee’. It will be crucial in future engagements to have the facilitators receive advance instructions and training of how to handle displaced young people.
- Miscommunication around expectations and remuneration in the initial stages presented a few disciplinary cases that threatened to derail the training exercise. In consultation with the refugee youth leadership and FRC, the situation was amicably but firmly handled.
- For the next stage of the project, we shall take the ‘Naki one’ group into intense rehearsals in preparation for performances at different festivals. We are in contact with a number of festival organisers, for starters within Uganda to have the ‘Naki one’ perform at different platforms. Access to these platforms are important in building social and artistic networks.
- Namulondo Rashida, one of the facilitators and a director at the The Sophie Muwanika Institute of Art for change is part of the team which organizes the Schools theatre peace training camp and festival that took place at the National Theatre and Uganda Museum Kampala from the 7th- 14th May 2017. In consultation with the other facilitators, Rashida invited some young people from Naki One to participate in this event.
- We shall publish the young peoples’ work in a book form and do a performance tour showcasing their published work.
- We are exploring options for audio and video recording of material from the project.
- One of the artistic guests during the Nakivale production Performance-Mr. Phillip Luswata (Artistic Director at theatre Factory) is exploring options of filming a Tv series in Nakivale.
- Build a better structure to streamline organisation and coordination of future projects.