Not matter what technology brings to the table, the best way to meet, connect and understand people is through walking around your area and talking to them. Studio Edirisa’s Canoe and Trekking services helps you connect appreciate the culture and history of the people in South Western Uganda.
Edirisa breath Africa, see Africa provides a positive image for Africa. “It’s a window – window is the eye of the house. (Edirisa a muslim name, which sometimes brings confusion),” said Miha Logar the Founder of Edirisa.
He went on and said that to ” See Africa, breathe Africa meanings: one reaching out to Africa, as an encouragement for the continent to do what is good for it, or the second one, reaching out to attract tourist – come on, breathe Africa, experience it in full.”
According to Miha, Edirisa as an organisation looks at the critical need of Ugandans to believe in their own country and not to disrespect it forcing many to suffer from brain drain.
He explained and said that ‘”what keeps happening is the drain from villages to Kampala, which is not real Africa; it’s a western way, implanted in the middle of Africa. Edirisa is here to help with that.”
Edirisa as an organisation has four sub themes that work in Western Uganda, these include Edirisa Limited which is registered in Uganda, Edirisa Society Slovenia under the support of the Slovenian government , Edirisa UK an NGO based in United Kingdom and Studio Edirisa LLC.
Studio Edirisa is a multimedia social enterprise based in Bufuka village at Lake Bunyonyi. They believe that everyone needs to see and breath Africa. They are about respecting, understanding, believing in Africa on a local level.
One of their biggest project so far is the award-winning Gorilla Highlands Interactive eBook under their sub theme Studio Edirisa that gathered all that available information about the south western Uganda and offered it attractively packaged to local and international audiences. The Ebook is an economic and cultural transformation of the area through branding and promotion, multimedia products and cultural tourism development.
The multimedia team includes local and international specialists in multimedia production Edirisa under it sub theme Edirisa Limited works towards changing the image of Africa, strengthening cultural and self-respect of indigenous people. It works more with the Batwu people who are well versed with the western Uganda heritage in Kabale and Kisoro.
“Our presence here gives us a better image among people, who are more prone to supporting and appreciating. Edirisa Limited helps find a sustainable global ways of living. We strive to boost a positive image of Africa in the gist of Africa, with our non-profit, social enterprise.”
Trekking through the hillsides of Kabale and Kisoro, you will find tourists walking with Batwu hand made walking sticks that are mostly promoted by Edirisa.
In middle of Kabale Town you find the Home of Edirisa which houses the local museum in Kabale that Edirisa decided to support to protect the cultural heritage of Karvemera the original idea owner.
You can actually see his face on the side of the building. The building also houses a cosy hostel for tourists. This is where most of Edirisa’s activities are advertised. Studio Edirisa was created at the Heart of Edirisa around Lake Bunyonyi which was to be a camping site but because there were the team decided to turn it into a local cinema.
“It aimed to be innovative to keeping new things, which means we sometimes fail dramatically – sometimes we invent the wheel, but are at least left with new experiences thinking outside the box brings.”
Before you venture in to the South West of Uganda you can still enjoy the Edirisa experience at the Soul of Edirisa in Nkozi next to Uganda Martyrs University. Its of the sites the team is working on as a creative center or “camping sites, it will depend on what ideas our team will come up with”
Addition to that Miha said that they are now involved in video mapping which is a promising project aimed at mapping the Gorilla highlands with an overlay of short video clips – trying to show the region and its activities through video production. These videos include accommodation places, activities to partake in, areas to see and prices.
They are also working on trails which aim to get the region stories listened to by local guides as they provide guided tours from 5 hours to 5 days. Then there are also farm trips supported by Uganda tourism board and the World Tourism Organisation for media people and tour operators plus big end lodges supported by owners.
All this is aimed to attract people who like hiking because these routes lead far away from classical tourism and involve the Batwa people who know these routes.
Miha said the way forward for is a very interactive Gorilla Highlands website including Queen Elizabeth gorillas, savana as a perfect package, to convince people to fly to Uganda to experience it, expand this experience to Rwanda and Congo and develop an app on Andorid for the Gorilla Highlands Ebook.
“This year we will try to be available on as many gadgets as possible – Kindle, create an app, we have an amazing photolibrary – how to profit from it now? So we are thinking about what to do next – how to make it beneficial to everybody -high quality images can be used for postcards”
In blog post on the Tumblr Studio Edirisa will be retired by the end of 2014 but with a possibility of resurrecting it for a future TV/radio show or a similar project and they will reclaim the “Edirisa” brand name and stop the other Edirisas that is Edirisa UK and Edirisa Slovenia who have failed to cooperate and coordinate with the original framework of the organisation. The whole Edirisa will then be a social enterprise doing multimedia and tourism, with two charity-oriented offshoots.