Uganda Community Museums Association (UCOMA)
In all the four regions of Uganda that you may visit, you will be pleasantly surprised to find a community museum. Community museums are initiatives by individuals, families or groups who have collected artifacts, oral history, and other elements of the local culture. The museums have made an effort to link past and future through their collections, which are accessible to schools, researchers, local residents and foreign tourists. Community museums play an important role in preserving and presenting the diversity of Uganda’s cultural heritage and provide spaces for accessing, enjoying and expressing Uganda’s diverse cultures. Community museums have isolated themselves as important niches for cultural tourism in Uganda.
In 2010 Community Museums agreed to form an association which was to be owned by the museum owners themselves and be called Uganda Community Museums Association (UCOMA). In 2011, with support from the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) UCOMA was registered as a Non-Governmental Organisation with the then National NGO Board.
UCOMA exist to bring together all member community museums, to enhance their professionalism and protect their interests, so that communities in Uganda value and promote their culture.
UCOMA’s activities are guided by six objectives:
- To preserve artifacts and cultures throughout the country through community museums.
- To expose to all generations, especially the youth, Uganda’s culture artifacts and traditions.
- To come together under one umbrella organization and share experiences, knowledge, skills, and resources, both within and outside Uganda
- To advocate for the common interests of the members and for a conducive policy environment for their work
- To promote members’ professional growth in managing their individual museums
- To carry out relevant documentation and research on African / Ugandan artifacts, cultures and their evolution
UCOMA’s Programmes and Activities
Professional Development and Capacity building for UCOMA members
Under this area UCOMA promotes professional development and capacity of museum managers in different ways:
- Develop Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) and mentor managers to ensure that they adhere to basic for community museums in Uganda
- Monitor performance of each museum
- Provide social media platforms through which individual community museum managers exchange ideas and learn from each other
- Organise annual meetings through which members share success stories and challenges which then inform the development of UCOMA’s annual interventions
- Encouraging each museum to have a museum management committee
Research, documentation and policy advocacy
To ensure that there is a conducive policy framework for community museums in Uganda:
- UCOMA participates in regional and national dialogue meetings to share information about community museums in Uganda
- UCOMA targets to influence the content of all relevant legal and policy documents at local and national level
Developing Cultural entrepreneurship and positioning community museums as cultural tourism centres
To ensure financial and sustainability of community museums, UCOMA encourages:
- Individual museums to invest in cultural entrepreneurship initiatives such as craft making, marketing and selling
- Develop individual publicity materials such as sign posts and brochure
- Link up community museums with potential sources of support such as Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda Tourism Association, Uganda Museum and Uganda National Commission for UNESCO, among others
- Develop common publicity materials such as a brochure and banners
- Hold regular media engagements
- Fundraise for museum activities
The Uganda Community Museums Association (UCOMA) is an umbrella organization
for community museums in Uganda. The idea of a community museum association
was first mooted during an exhibition by 15 community museums in May 2010.
Thereafter, the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) supported UCOMA to
be register as a Non –Governmental Organization. UCOMA came into being as a
result of the need for members to be heard as one strong voice while articulating
matters concerning community museums in Uganda to Government and other partners.
The objectives of UCOMA are to: preserve artifacts and cultures throughout the country
through community museums; expose to all generations, especially to the youth,
Uganda’s culture, artifacts and traditions; share experiences, knowledge, skills and
resources within and outside Uganda; advocate for the common interests of members
and a conducive policy environment for their work; provide members with professional
growth in managing their individual museums and, carry out research and
documentation on African/Ugandan artifacts, cultures and their evolution.
Currently the Uganda Community Museums Association has 33 members (See Annex 1
for the full list) from the five regions of Uganda.
1.2. Vision: To inspire, nurture and sustain community museums in Uganda.
The mission is: To bring together all member community museums, to enhance their
professionalism and protect their interests, so that communities in Uganda value and
promote their culture.
2.0. ASSESSING THE SITUATION
Since its inception, the activities of the Uganda Community Museums Association
have been carried out in yearly. In each a work plan is drawn in line with the needs of
the members and then the activities are carried out accordingly.
2.2. Reviewed performance:
In first three years 2010 -2013, the main activities were; putting in place a steering
committee to spearhead the running of the association. The committee embarked on
the registration of the Association as an NGO, mobilization more members to join the
association and in order to share important information on how to improve on the
running and management of communities museums; a monthly “Community Museums
Newsletter” was produced by UCOMA. There was also the production a common
UCOMA brochure that contained all the member museums a cross the Uganda.
The second phase ran from 2014 -2015. In this period, UCOMA carried out the following
activities: Production of flyers, postcards, exhibitions of museum artifacts, designing and
hoisting UCOMA website, publications on museum management handbook and
community museums in Uganda.
In collaboration with the Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda some of the community
museum curators and managers were taken for an exposure visit to the peace
museums in Kenya. Other community museums were trained in basic principles in
In September/August 2015, a consultant was contracted to evaluate UCOMA and report
on how to make UCOMA more vibrate in carrying out its mandate as an umbrella body
of Community Museums in Uganda. The report was produced; it outlines a number of
aspects that is needed to be put in place to enable the Association to realize its