The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) and UNESCO have launched the Aschberg program for artists and cultural professionals and the Open Digital Roadmap Project in Uganda.
The two projects which have been running simultaneously since February will be implemented within the frameworks of UNESCO’s internationally-renowned statutes and programmes on culture, notably the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
Naumo Juliana Akoryo, the Commissioner for Culture and Family Affairs the projects strengthen the process of data collection and analysis to provide evidence through comprehensive digital archives and studies on the status of the artists.
Upon implementation, the ministry will ensure that a new law is documented through consultations with a number of Government Agencies for artists to benefit from government programs. She Said artists are in most cases not recognized in the country.
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“These programs will raise awareness of Government Policy makers and other stakeholders on the status of the artists through five regional dialogues and National Dialogues and build the Capacity of 10 Government Agencies in Cultural programming through Policy briefs to inform the provision of measures in their annual plans, programs, and projects,” she said.
“Unfavourable regulatory frameworks, limited skills amongst practitioners, and limited access to the global market among a host of other challenges have long prevented the local sector from realizing its full potential,” she said.
The project activities will include; the development of principles for the new Law, capacity-building workshops for film practitioners, Community Screenings for the Promotion of Local Content digital platforms, regional Stakeholders Consultations, and capacity-building for MDAs.
She said the ministry will work with two Ugandan culture industry experts including Amos Tindyebwa, a cultural policy analyst, and Polly Kamukama, a film lecturer at Makerere University.
Rosie Agoi, the Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO said many artists find themselves falling out of the profession and therefore this particular project comes to address the culture of professionals, particularly women, vulnerable in the face of economic disparities. These projects will no doubt boost the sector.
“UNESCO has other opportunities that need to be exploited. The sector needs to be boosted because it takes time to put ideas together even if the frameworks are provided. It takes human resources, it takes financial resources to be able to do a good bankable sellable project. So if we do this, the opportunities are there,” she said.
She said the open digital Roadmap project in Uganda will offer concrete reference activities to protect the means of creation, production, dissemination, access, and exchange of cultural goods and services in the face of rapid, technological changes.
Aggrey David Kibenge, the Permanent Secretary for MGLSD said the government of Uganda is committed to promoting culture and creativity industries. The culture and creative industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy that cannot be ignored any longer. The sector presents the biggest opportunities for young people in terms of employment,”
“It must be acknowledged that the film plays a vital role in human life. It is one of the most effective arts of Communication, education, leisure, and promoting social interaction. It has a significant role in creating useful Life for the promotion of moral, social, and human departments,” he said.
Despite all the efforts to streamline the industry, Kibenge said the industry is facing challenges: inadequate infrastructure, lack of skilled manpower, limited training and capacity building, fragmented and inadequate legal and policy regimes as well as under the developed distribution and exhibition systems.