Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

Let’s Go 4 It! Development of Tourist Markets

February 3, 2015 Leave a comment

Our Crafts Section was chosen to participate in a training and networking programme run between 12th August and 6th November last year. This programme was part of the United Nations Development Programme and was facilitated by the Uganda Tourist Board and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

Our Operations Manager, George Kakonge, and our Crafts Administration Manager, Cleophas Asiimwe, attended the course which took place all day, every Thursday at Cephas Inn, Kabale.

Business links

George has written this report of his experience:

“The major expectations of the training were:

  1. A) Gaining Experience and knowledge sharing.
  2. B) Devising solutions for some of the current challenges and problems faced by our businesses
  3. C) Getting practical and workable ideas of improving and growing business.

Some of the Topics which were helpful to participants included:

  1. Business planning.
  2. Accounting and bookkeeping basics.
  3. Identifying and developing business opportunities.
  4. Marketing and Networking for success.

All this was aiming to: 

  • Business growth
  • Unlocking potential for tourism business
  • Business linkages and networking
  • And skills development.

The training was run in an interactive style and everyone was involved in contributing ideas or skills that you may have.

At one point I was chosen to talk about the importance of branding, I did some research and I presented it the participants.

Many other entrepreneurs were invited to talk about some topics or testimonies on how their businesses have developed.

In general the program was very good and inspiring. Personally I benefited and I got a new understanding of what the tourism industry is and its contribution to the economy of our society, country and the whole world in general.

However I felt like some of the topics were not given enough time or attention like, the business planning and skill development.  They put more emphasis on Business linkages and net working.”

Good feedback George – Thank you.

Here are George and Cleophas with their certificates!



Last year’s news and Happy New Year!

January 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Welcome to our first blog post of 2014!

2013 was a busy year and we are grateful to all our supporters for their generosity, to our staff in Uganda for their hard work and commitment and to the volunteers who have brought enthusiasm, ideas and energy and have undertaken a variety of tasks with relish.

Machine Maintenance

Machine Maintenance


Throughout the year we ran sewing workshops with the craftwomen’s groups in Bukinda and Rubona thanks to a grant from the Give a Hand Foundation.  The women learnt how sew and were taught useful skills for maintaining and fixing their sewing machines.

For many years now we have run our own craft shop at the Bunyonyi Overland Resort. It’s been steadily growing in popularity and recently outgrew it’s kiosk! Consequently, a new shop was built giving us much more room to display the beautiful products being made locally by the women in our craft groups.

Overland Shop

The New Overland Craft Shop

Overland Shop

Our New Overland Craft Shop

We also opened a brand new craft shop at the Lakeview Coffee House at Kachwekano which we are extremely pleased and excited about.


During the year our nursery school children enjoyed a variety of creative activities. They also received communication, in the form of scrap books, from their partner nurseries around the world who take part in our Circle of Friends programme, an initiative that is steadily growing. Our Circle of Friends links nurseries around the world to promote creativity and friendship through the sharing of information, cultures, ideas and friendship.

The children were also lucky enough to receive a shipment of story books from the charity Pelican Post who deliver books to disadvantaged children all over the world. The nursery children certainly enjoyed hearing the stories and looking at the colourful pictures.

Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends : a scrapbook arrives!


New Books from Pelican Post

Not to be left out, the teachers also participated in two nursery workshops organised by Alma Burciaga who was our Operations Manager up to September. She did a great job, ably supported by our Nursery Co-Ordinator, Ashaba Phionah. Teachers from our own 4 nursery schools were joined by teachers from the other 5 Ugandan nursery schools that are members of our Circle of Friends, it was a great opportunity for them to meet, share ideas and learn more about child centred methods of education. Alma left us to return to Mexico and we wish her all the best for the future.

Teaching Aids

Teaching Aids


The clinic on Bwama Island has been busy all year and the Slovenian Doctors have worked extremely hard getting everything organised. The maternity and overnight ward is almost finished and soon we will start constructing the new latrines and showers.

Maternity Ward East side

Maternity Ward East side

At Nyakasiru with a grant from Kitchen Table Charities Trust  we have built a new 4 stance latrine at the primary school together with a new water tank – they are not quite finished yet but will be before the new term starts.

Nyakasiru latrines

Nyakasiru latrines




In August we welcomed a new Operations Manager. This is George Kakonge, he is married with 2 daughters and we hope he will enjoy working with us.

In September we said goodbye to Kirsty, our Crafts Development Manager who spent a hugely successful year with Edirisa UK, and in her place we welcomed Antonia who joined us in December from England. Antonia will be assisted by Sheryl, who comes to Uganda from Australia with her seven year old daughter.

We wish Kirsty well and hope our new arrivals Antonia and Sheryl enjoy their time with Edirisa UK.

THAT’S just a few of the things we’ve been up to this year.  Christmas was celebrated with a lunch at the Lakeview Coffee House attended by 48 people – Edirisa UK’s 36 local staff, the District Education Officer, 2 of our local priests and other local partners. 

Staff Christmas lunch

Staff Christmas lunch


Amazing work at Special Needs Centre by Carpe Diem Groups

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

We recently hosted 2 groups from Carpe Diem Education, Portland, Oregon at SNEC – our Special Needs Education Centre at Kitanga. Their Program Director, Adam Fischer, suggested that on this visit they should get involved in something a little more physical – as well as doing something with the kids. We hope they forgive him for the suggestion as we set them the task of creating a concrete pathway from the dormitories to the classroom so the kids who use wheelchairs can move about more easily. It was a tough task!



The first group with Edirisa UK Operations Manager George Kakonge

The first group with Edirisa UK Operations Manager George Kakonge

Here’s what George said:

“For us here what we thought was going to be a busy and stressful time turned out to be an enjoyable time. Both groups the Nkula and the Kifaru were all nice, hard working people. The first group were able to interact with the children more and painted the T.shirt for them. The work to dig the path was also done successfully. The length of the path that was made is 103 meters.”

New T Shirts!

New T Shirts!

“The second group however had a big challenge because mixing concrete became a really hard job. In Kabale town you can see a machine mixing those things but at SNEC those machines are not available.So the 2nd group members did their best and one thing I noticed was that both girls and boys were very strong and that surprised me!”



Path making

“The path is very important to the children as some of them really need it for wheel chairs and others now have a better place to walk. Some have to crawl on it which is better than using a muddy path.”

After their busy time at SNEC the groups had more physical activity – canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi and trekking through the mountains with Edirisa Canoe Treks – – we hope they enjoyed themselves.

Huge THANKS to all the Carpe Diem students and their leaders – you make such a difference to the lives of the children at SNEC and we look forward to more groups next year!

Island Experience at Tom’s Homestay

March 3, 2013 Leave a comment
Tom's Homestay

Tom’s Homestay

Tom’s Homestay is a community overnight visit hosted by the family of Tom Karemire on Habukomi Island (Lake Bunyonyi) and organised by Edirisa Uganda. It has to be booked in advance, as it includes much more than sleeping on a remote island – it is a full-blown cultural tour into the traditional life of the Bakiga.

Tom was born on the lake, as was his father, he has been the Night Watchman at the Heart of Edirisa in Bufuka for almost 10 years.  A former prison guard he has many interesting stories to tell.  He is 68 and has 6 children, all boys, one unfortunately died on the lake returning from an election polling station late at night. Very few of the locals swim and the lake does claim many lives during the course of a year. This drives home the importance of swimming lessons for the children, which we try to provide every day at the Heart.



Edirisa has been bringing trekkers to Tom’s since 2005 and during these years he has developed a brilliant campsite. In 2013 it is finally being made accessible to those guests who might not opt for hiking but still crave for a unique island experience. For those more active  you have a choice of  combining it with a 5-hour Lake Bunyonyi trek, a 1-day Kabale-Bunyonyi trek or a 1-day Canoe Trekking.

View of Habukomi Island

View of Habukomi Island

The full-board homestay experience includes a professional guide, a dugout ride to the island and back, a tour of the island by Tom, camping near his house in spacious tents, a great local dinner enriched by crayfish, a performance of an enanga (traditional string instrument) player and the island dance troupe, stories near the campfire, breakfast with local honey, bananas and chapatis.



In case camping isn’t your cup of tea a night boat ride back to your lodge an be arranged – but then you will miss the beautiful, relaxed Habukomi morning.

For bookings call the Edirisa Home in Kabale on +256 75 2558 222 or send an email to .

We’re looking forward to celebrating Tom’s 10th Anniversary with him next year!

Challenge Africa Cycle Ride – Conquer the Virunga

June 12, 2012 1 comment

Early in the morning of Saturday June 16th twelve intrepid cyclists will fly out of Heathrow Airport bound for Rwanda. After months of training and raising sponsorship they are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime.

Back in late 2010 Edirisa UK  signed up with Classic Tours to run a “Charity Challenge” fundraiser giving willing participants an unforgettable experience plus the opportunity to raise money for Edirisa UK through sponsorship.

The challenge is to cycle 300km starting from Rwanda’s capital city Kigali and finishing at the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda where some of Edirisa’s projects are located.

The countryside they will be cycling through is some of the most spectacularly beautiful in East Africa. The route takes them through the Virunga Mountains into Uganda and on to Lake Bunyonyi. At Bwindi they will spend a day tracking the mountain gorillas through the forested slopes of the Virunga Mountains,  a magical experience and something they will never forget.

mountain gorillas

mountain gorillas

When they arrive in Kabale, Uganda they will visit the Home of Edirisa and see the small Cultural Museum of the Bakiga (local tribe).

Edirisa staff in Uganda will show the cyclists around the volunteer accommodation at Teach Inn Bufuka (The Heart) followed by a tour of the Edirisa Nursery School and a traditional Ugandan lunch at the Teachers Centre.  Later they will visit the clinic being built on Bwama Island, have refreshments in the afternoon on Bushara Island and then take the motor boat back to the Overland Camp. After cycling through the mountains they will be glad to relax at the Lake.Lake Bunyonyi

We would like to thank all the cyclists for their support, for all the fundraising and training they have done and we wish them a fantastic time.

Happy International Women’s Day

March 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Here at Edirisa UK we love the Ugandan culture and we’re working hard to promote and preserve it. Scattered right across the country are groups of hard working women creating beautiful traditional crafts to sell to both locals and, of course, tourists. One thing people always notice about the people of Uganda are the brightly coloured clothes and beautiful fabric prints, or Kitengye, as they are called in Uganda. We’ve been working with various women’s craft groups across the Kabale region in South West Uganda in an effort to boost their sales, shake up the products on offer and improve quality…and why? To give these women a sense of pride, a sustainable income and to promote the diverse and colourful culture that Uganda has to offer.

Vian and Rose working together

Vian and Rose working together

In February we welcomed Rose Tushabe as our new resident tailor. She took over from Vian (a student tailor doing an internship with us over the Christmas period) in February and has recently held workshops with women’s craft groups in Rubona (Lake Bunyonyi) and Ryabirengye (Bukinda) teaching sewing skills. Although proficient in traditional basket making these women had never sewed before and had difficulty even getting the needle to move! But Rose had everything in hand and by the end of the workshop they had picked up the basics are were able to make purses and simple bags.

“Going to the women in the villages and teaching them in sewing was a great experience for me. The women were very welcoming, interested and eager to learn new things. This workshop was very good for the community but also for the women’s personal development.“ (Tailor Rose Tushabe)

Learning to Sew

Learning to Sew

During the workshop the women also had the opportunity to improve their basket making skills and were introduced to new woven products and taught how to improve the quality of their goods.

We place great importance on the role of women in African communities. Besides being responsible for domestic work and raising children, women are often the main provider of the family. With two sewing machines currently at Rubona and one at Ryabirengye (donated by Edirisa UK) the women’s groups in rural communities are getting the opportunity to develop a new source of income for themselves and their families.

This is just the beginning for these workshops and we plan to continue introducing craft women to different kinds of Kitengye products and encourage them to realise their own potential.

Rubona Women sewing training

Rubona Women sewing training

Edirisa UK? Ooo what a “crafty” charity.

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment
Ugandan crafts - Backpack

Ugandan crafts - Backpack

As a charity working on development initiatives in Uganda, rather than just handing out money, one of the first local projects that Edirisa got involved in was Women’s Crafts Groups. Over the years the Edirisa Society has worked with them to develop and sell their crafts and are always looking for new and innovative ideas that will help the women’s crafts stand out from the crowd.

How many people go on holiday and come home with a local carving, traditional musical instrument or woven nicknack? Tourists are captivated by African crafts but the issue of suitcase space always poses a problem. Recently, one of our Austrian volunteers, Nicole, sat down with our Ugandan tailor, Rosette, to develop some different kitenge (regional local fabric craft) products, small enough to be packed up and flown home.

Ugandan crafts - Apron

Ugandan crafts - Apron

Next Nicole travelled to Uganda’s capital, Kampala, with Phionah (the head mistress of our Nursery Schools, who also heads up crafts with Rosette) to source new and interesting fabrics and materials. Nicole is also working with 2 of the Bufuka village basket makers on some new basket ideas and different weaving techniques and patterns. This will give the woman more diverse product and hopefully drive their sales.

Proceeds from the sale of these goods is funded straight back into their community where it is needed most. It also gives these women a sense of achievement, pride and self worth.

Lastly, Edirisa UK will soon be receiving donated sewing and knitting machines from the charity ‘Workaid’ in the UK. May we say a great big thank you to them. These machines will be given to the Women’s Crafts Groups that we work with.

Watch a video about Edirisa crafts here

Learn more about the crafts made in southwestern Uganda here