Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cultural village- Uganda museum






1.0 Introduction
The cultural village is located behind the Uganda Museum on Kira road. It was established in 2007 by the Ministry of Tourism Trade and Industry (MTTI) with the major aim of creating the living museum and creating awareness about the existing cultural biodiversity of Uganda. It has 16 houses for most of the cultures found in Uganda. Some of the houses found there include Bamba, Bunyoro, Tooro, Hima, Ankole, Kigezi, Busoga, Jopadhola, Bugishu, Teso, Karamoja, Lango, Acholi, Alur, Madi and Buganda houses.

1.2 State of conservation
The cultural village is still in a good shape as the museum is caking care of it in terms of cleaning and maintenance though some of the areas need more care and maintenance especially outside the houses as well as the objects that are found within the houses as some of the names of the objects have fallen off and other objects misplaced by the cleaners.

2.0 Site presentation, interpretation and visitor management
2.1 Site presentationThis looks at how the site is capable of enriching the visitors experience while at the place and looks at the aspects of accessibility, availability of the visitor facilities at the cultural village.

The Uganda Museum can easily be accessed as one moves from the city center on the Kira road where it is located. Its proximity can allow the bigger number of people to easily visit the area. However, the cultural village is can not be easily accessed as the entry gate is always closed and the few visitors who can access it have to pass through the museum.

The area has the designated paths that help the visitors can easily move around the cultural village and from one place to another without causing much trampling and damage on the grass cover. However the paths not well maintained as they have grown bushy because the stones were only used instead of concrete as shown in the picture below;

The place can not be easily accessed by the people with disabilities especially the ones that use the wheel chair because it becomes hard to use the wheel chairs on these kinds of pathways and no other alternative was provided for the people with disabilities.

The place has not been advertised both locally and internationally such that people can come to the area to fell the different ways of living of the people and even the people of those cultures to appreciate their cultures and know more about them.

There are some visitor facilities that are found in the cultural village that include the following;

There are toilet facilities for the visitors with two (2) toilets well distributed in the cultural village that have good maintenance. However the toilets do not show the signage for different people who are supposed to use them like showing the side to be used for men and women like the one shown in the picture below;

There is a car parking area located in front of the main entrance into the cultural village that was established on a specific place such that the visitor to the place do not have to park anywhere that may lead to the destruction of the environment through trampling. However this parking space is not used by the people to the cultural village because the entrance gate into the cultural village is not open to the visitors.

Though there are some facilities in the cultural village, there is a need for more facilities for the visitors including the following;

There is a need for seats for the visitors who visit the site for relaxation purposes which can be made permanent by the use of concrete of the use of wood to establish those seats under the trees which can provide shelter for shade and protection from rainwater and sunshine. There are some places which are proposed for such facilities like the space shown in the picture below (on left);

In addition to the tree shades that are found in the cultural village, there is more space that needs more trees to be planted there like the place indicated in the picture (on the right) above. Also some trees can be planted in the parking area for the purposes of shelter from sunshine.

There is a need for the waste/litter bins in the cultural village which can be located in different areas around the place especially the areas proposed for the seats. There is littering of the polythene bags, tins bottles of water and bottle tops that are thrown there by the visitors and the people who hold the functions from there.

The food and refreshment facilities like kiosks can also be established in the area to provide foods, snacks and soft drinks to the visitors who come to the cultural village and also the museum which may bring in some money from renting by the owners of which that money can help in the maintenance of he place.

Security and Safety
The area has little security provided against the damage by the visitors who enter into the houses. Therefore there is a need for constant security to look after the houses and the objects therein because most of the visitors may want to touch the objects other than seeing them. There is need for safety provided to the visitor while at the site in form of signs indicating the areas where they are supposed to be and the ones prohibited for the visitors.

2.2 Site interpretation
Site interpretation looks at how the visitors get information at the site including the use of the signage and other interpretive media that help in the provision of guiding information and also warnings to the visitors.

Information about the cultural village
There is need for the information about the place like what the cultural village is, when it was established, the aim of establishing the place and some brief introduction of what is contained in the cultural village. This kind of information would help the researchers and the tourists that may not have time to move all around the museum.

There has been some information provided in the cultural village though it talks about only the houses and not fully giving the details about the whole homestead for example some houses have granaries which are not included on the sign boards. Some examples of the information provided include the one shown below;

Though the area has some information signs (shown above), there is a need for more information like directional signs which may start from the main entrance to different areas which may be established along the pathways. This may help the visitors who may have come for specific features of a certain culture to locate it easily.

Warning signs are absent at the site. These signs would help in the protection and conservation of the objects in the houses. There should warning notes like “Please do not touch or disturb”, “Please d not go beyond this point” indicated on some objects that are likely to get damage from the visitors.

There is need for Welcome signs at the main entrance to show people that they are already in the cultural village. This also helps the visitor to feel comfortable and feel welcome to the site. There could be a note like “YOU ARE WELCOME TO THE CULTURAL VILLAGE –UGANDA MUSEUM, KAMPALA” and some small description on what one should expect to find in the cultural village.

Sensitive areas
The place is regularly cleaned especially outside the houses as there are people who are responsible for slashing the area, cleaning the toilets and looking after the objects in the houses. However the cleanliness of the area has not been maintained to the maximum as some areas have grown bushy and even the state of objects in the houses have been put in their order and arrangement. Some areas that are not properly maintained include the one indicated in the picture below;
There is still need for general information about the area in form of warnings on the objects that are sensitive to touch such that they can be avoided.

Some of the objects in the houses are not named and others misplaced while others have fallen down because of poor maintenance such as the objects in Karamoja house and Busoga house like the one shown below ( Busoga house)

2.3 Visitor management
This is concerned with the way how the visitors at the site are regulated and managed for effective conservation of the cultural village.

There is a wire fence that was constructed on the site to control the number of people and for the proper maintenance of the place and to control the other people from intruding into the cultural village.

Visitor information center
This is needed at the site such that when the people come to the site, they can be able to get more information about the site and the cultures. This will help in provision of enough information to the researchers and even the people who may have little time at the cultural village. There is the structure that can be the information center as shown in the picture below;

Site manager’s office is also needed at the site which will help in providing more security to the visitors and also the houses as well as the objects. The security for the visitor can also be easily provided. The house above (in the picture) can be partly used as the office.

There is a need for the cultural guides at the place where by the houses can have the guides from respective places to fully explain every detail in the houses and how different objects were used. This will help to enhance the authenticity of the cultural village as one feels as if he/she is in the real place and will make people become more proud of their cultures.

3.0 The summary of General SWOT Analysis of the cultural village

Strength-Regular maintenance
-Easy accessibility
-Availability of visitor facilities
-Space for social events
-Availability of researchers
-Legal protection
-Openness of the site
-Low charges

Weaknesses-inadequate signage
-inadequate information about the site
-Waste bins not available
-No site office
-No cultural guides
-Inadequate security
-Inadequate Government support
-poor state of some structures
-Insufficient visitor facilities
-Lack of marketing materials
-Lack of awareness by the communities

-Proximity to the city
-Donors’ willingness
-Tourist package
-Research potential
-Government support
-Revenue generation
-Potential to increase tourist numbers
-Structures are repairable
-Potential of employing more security personnel
-Formulation of a management plan
-Enhancement of security standards
-Far fro pollution

Threats-Inadequate funding
-Unavailability of maintenance staff
-Unpredictable public attitude
-Loss of authentic value
-Political interference

4.0 Conclusions and recommendations
4.1 Conclusions

The cultural village has faced a number challenges that range from, management and maintenance, poor funding, low visitor arrivals, inadequate advertising and marketing as well as publicity, inadequate visitor facilities to the low visitor arrivals.

The cultural village as mentioned above has a high potential of the visitor attraction because of the uniqueness and the authenticity it commends to the cultures that are being eroded in Uganda. Most of the people in Uganda who have their cultures disappearing would want to find their roots and even the international visitor have some interest in visiting the other culture to learn different ways of living of other people. This therefore gives the cultural village the higher chances of gaining from the increasing interest in cultural tourism which is the new way of alternative tourism.

4.2 Recommendations
There is a need for government support especially in form of funding of different activities and facilities as well as the manpower at the cultural village. The government can also help in preparation of the promotional materials like brochures, magazines, posters and through the internet by the diplomatic missions abroad and government websites.

Funding for the cultural village can also be generated through organizing fundraising campaigns. This can be done though the combined and increased effort by the government through the responsible ministries like the ministry of Tourism Trade and Industry, donors and other interested parties like the World Bank, tours and travel companies and local communities. More funds can also be mobilized through the introduction of the entry fees. This can be done if the entry gate is opened such that it appears be separate from the museum.
The funds can also be generated from the cultural village itself in the sale of souvenirs can be organized at the site.

Marketing and awareness can be created through conservation education of the public about the importance of the cultural village and the need for cultural conservation and protection. In addition, the magazines (both local and international) can be prepared for the people to be able to appreciate their culture and those of those of other people.

For the maintenance of the authenticity, the cultural guides should be employed as they can be the ones well versed with the objects in the houses and giving their names in specific languages. The guides can either be for each house or for the related like the Nyakitara (Ankole, Kigezi, Tooro and Bunyoro).

There is a need for more information especially in form of warnings and directional signage at the site. This will help in improvement in the safety and security of the visitors as well as the protection of the objects in houses. The information provided can also be about the cultural village.
Employing of more security officers can also enhance the protection of the materials against damage by the visitors. More information can be provided through the establishment of the information center at the cultural village with the photos and some literature provided to the visitors in form leaflets and brochures.

The structures that are spoilt and damaged can be repaired and proper maintenance needed for these structures. This can be done if the management can mobilize more funds for the maintenance and getting the materials for the repairs.

More tourist facilities are needed for the stay of the visitors at the cultural village. These facilities help in the provision of different services to the visitors like the toilets which are clearly marked for different groups of people. The pathways need to be put with concrete such that they can favor the movement of all the groups of people even the ones with disabilities who may be using the wheel chairs. The parking place needs to be clearly marked and demarcated such that the visitors do not have to park anywhere with clear directions of entry and exit.

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