KCIU Launched the volunteer programme and managed to register 5 pilot skilled based enterprises and these include; Bungatera Cultural group with 40 Members mainly the former child soldiers, Karin women group with 5 Members doing paper beading, Anywade Teenagers’ group with 65 members, Wilitex art & Design with 3 Members and Story telling with 2 Members. The total number of members is 115
1. Wilitex Art & Design
This group consists of three members, and the proprietor is -Wilfred. Wilfred developed passion for art and design while in school where he used to perform well in fine art as a subject, his sculpture skills continued to develop after a long time volunteering for a skilled man who was making sculptures in the Laliya in Gulu District. Wilfred had completed advanced level in secondary school and was not able to continue with school. He one time decided to test his skills and made a sample which he took to his mentor for approval. He made adjustment to the sample according to the mentor’s advice, painted and sold it off. This was his first income. It was a very exciting moment for his career development. Wilfred perfected his skills and advanced in his career. He then started his own business. He has so far recruited two youth to support him. He is in return helping them to develop their skills since they are school dropouts with no hope of being in school again. He has a dream to become the best art designer/ sculptor in Gulu, and also compete at the national level. He hopes to help the youth interested in this field in future. He looks forward to making the best oracle/ statue in Uganda. He uses books to guide his work.
2. Paper bead making
This business is for five women with very minimal education. They live around Karin Community Health Centre (KCHC) locality. Led by Ms. Odong Beatrice, these women were once members of Karin Women Group who were earlier trained in beading during the time when Karin was called Childcare Development Organization, Uganda. They have since applied these skills through beading to earn a living and improve their livelihoods. They freely train anyone in the community who shows interest. They also visit other beading groups to improve their craft work for marketing and competitiveness. So far, they sell their products to only local markets.
3. Bungatira Cultural Group (traditional dances & cooking demo)
a. Cooking Demonstration
This group was formed by KCIU in the earlier years while it was still called Childcare Development Organization, Uganda. This group was formed to enable vulnerable women generate income through their various skills (cooking, dancing, craft making, etc.) and improve their livelihoods.
Among others, Rose Otto, a 63 year old though looking 30, a local peasant, widow and mother to 7 living in Agonga, Bungatira, has remained outstanding with her cooking skills. She specializes in Acholi traditional food.
Apart from cooking, Rose is talented in many aspects including; dancing, singing, and is very influential in the community.
You want to smile, try her!
You want an Acholi delicacy, give her a chance!
Some of the traditional foods Rose prepares include;
These foods are prepared and served in a typical Acholi way using cultural pots and dishes.
b. Traditional dancing
Bungatira Cultural group consists of 40 members all who are former child soldiers from vulnerable households. Karin Community Initiatives Uganda (KCIU) helped to put together these members and form social programs to promote the use of community interactive activities in order to reduce trauma, stress and tension among participating community members and increase solidarity and stability within the communities. Another positive effect is to create space for celebration, feasting and the revitalization of cultural traditions and practices that have heavily suffered during the war.
The program has empowered the group to provide cultural empowerment and education support initiatives to transition from cultural alienation to sustainable cultural heritage and development.
They perform traditional music, dance and drama in order to create public awareness and transform communities in Gulu district. The work closely with KCIU to sensitize the community on health issues. They also get invited to festivals, weddings and social events.
Their dances include; Bwola (performed to pay respect to the chief or king), Otole (warrior dance – a way to show when people are not satisfied), Dingi ding (friendly dance), Apiti (praise dance – motivates to do something), Lara karaka (the courtship dance for the youth), Ajere, Labaratero, Myel, Lyel, among others.
4. Story Telling – Mr. Kidega George
Mr. Kidega George a 79 year-old, a father to 13 and grandfather to 16, is a retired tutor and now an active community member living in Bungatira Sub-County. Retired in 1993, Mr. Kidega has since taken up different roles and responsibilities in diverse fields. Among others, he has worked with Vita Foam Uganda, World Vision and Red Cross. Currently he is the Chairman Child Protection Committee in Bungatira, Katikiro/chief head Bungatira, member of health committee Karin Agonga Health Centre, inspector of all COU schools in Bungatira, board member of secondary schools in Bungatira, among others.
His experience measured by age and roles in diverse fields, demonstrate the rich information he exhibits through his stories. These stories typically on Acholi culture and address different aspects within the culture.
Themes narrated about, among others, include; marriage, road development, migrations, chiefs and clanships, Christianity vs traditional religion, feasts and festivals.