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UNESCO and Ikirenga forge paths of Artistic Freedom in Rwanda

On March 20, 2024,  Judy Ogana, the National Programme Officer – Culture at UNESCO, Regional Office for East Africa, embarked on an inspiring journey into Rwanda’s burgeoning arts scene during her recent visit to Ikirenga Arts and Culture Promotion (ACP) offices in Kigali. The visit, part of the collaborative Ikirenga Artistic Freedom Initiative with UNESCO, heralded a new chapter in fostering artistic expression and cultural empowerment.

As part of the Ikirenga Artistic Freedom Initiative, Judy Ogana immersed herself in the heart of creative vitality, engaging directly with project beneficiaries. Through candid conversations, she gained invaluable insights into the transformative impact of the initiative, hearing firsthand accounts of how it has equipped artists with vital skills, from marketing to legal frameworks and financial management.

The beneficiaries, grateful for the support provided by Ikirenga and UNESCO, expressed their heartfelt appreciation for the opportunities afforded to them to nurture their talents and passions in the vibrant creative sector.

Following the enlightening session with project beneficiaries, Judy Ogana convened with the dedicated Ikirenga team spearheading the initiative. Together, they delved into the project’s progress, celebrating milestones achieved, discussing challenges faced, and brainstorming recommendations for further enhancement to ensure the initiative fulfils its objectives with even greater impact.

In a momentous meeting, Judy Ogana, alongside Ikirenga’s Executive Director, Mr. Pierre, and key team members [Isaac Odhiambo, the Projects Manager, and Mazimpaka Jones Kennedy, a mentor and trainer in the program], engaged with the Rwanda Arts Council team led by Mrs. France Marie Niragire.

The dialogue centered on potential areas of collaboration stemming from the Ikirenga Artistic Freedom Initiative. Mrs. Niragire commended the initiative’s progress and emphasized the importance of ongoing collaboration between international partners and local NGOs within Rwanda’s arts and creative ecosystem. Mr. Pierre reaffirmed Ikirenga ACP’s unwavering commitment to supporting artists and creatives in Rwanda through its transformative initiatives.

As Judy Ogana bid farewell to Ikirenga ACP, she left behind a legacy of collaboration, empowerment, and creative resurgence. Ikirenga ACP, UNESCO, and partners stand poised to continue nurturing Rwanda’s rich and diverse artistic landscape, enriching lives, and building bridges of cultural understanding and appreciation.

Judy Ogana paid courtesy visit to Rwanda Arts Council[ iSmartHouse]
Marie Iragire France, who is in charge of RAC, stressed to Judy Ogana the challenges artists faces in Rwanda [iSmartHouse]
Ikirenga Team bids farewell to Judy Ogana [iSmartHouse]

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