Birungi Nabasanira lives in Kasasa, Uganda, a community becoming the site of the Tat Sat Community Academy. This will include a secondary school, savings and credit cooperative and performing arts facilities. All facilities will reach completion in 2021 as the TaSCA project aims to even the education field in Uganda. Also known simply as TaSCA, the project is part of the InteRoots Initiative. The InteRoots Initiative is a Denver, Colorado-based nonprofit that works on local, national and international projects. The communities where investment occurs have a prominent voice in InteRoots, making sure that community members direct project priorities, methodologies and timelines.
The Importance of Education
In an interview with The Borgen Project, Kasasa community member Nabasanira said that education is important to move ahead in life today. She believes TaSCA will help progress the education field in Uganda. Nabasanira said the question that many have proposed has always been how to best afford education. She also mentioned that TaSCA and InteRoots are implementing working relationships with community members.
Including the insights of local community members in the school curriculum through the Institute of Indigenous Cultures and Performing Arts (ICPA) aids the efforts of TaSCA and InteRoots greatly. The ICPA will engage the larger community in the cultivation and preservation of common heritage. Community members also receive support with access to micro-lending through the Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO), which will provide community financing, student/family financial support and economic education.
Putting Skills into Practice
Scott Frank, executive director and co-founder of the InteRoots Initiative, told The Borgen Project that one of the innovative programs of the TaSCA project is the Graduate Enterprise Fund. “A brilliant part of what the community has envisioned is that a majority of student tuition, which really is affordable, goes toward an account set up for each student at the credit union. Once they graduate, they are able to use the money that was put aside to continue studies, start a business or pursue other ventures.”
He says students will be able to use the skills they learned in school, which goes far beyond a traditional curriculum through the incorporation of skill-based training and financial literacy training. Additionally, students will have the resources necessary to apply these skills and follow their dreams after graduation.
The Return of Indigenous Traditions
Ronald Kibirige, the co-founder of the InteRoots Initiative and board chair, noted that Uganda has lost many indigenous traditions due to Western-style schooling. As such, TaSCA aims to incorporate local culture into secondary education. Furthermore, according to UNICEF, just one in four children in the country attend secondary school.
In an interview with The Borgen Project, Kibirige said that most secondary schools in Uganda are private and they cost too much money to attend, making them off-limits for many families who lack the financial security for such endeavors. TaSCA aims to even the education field in Uganda by creating a model that not only supports students but also creates a net positive for the community’s investment.
– Kristi Eaton