KUCHING: The Sarawak Development Institute (SDI) and sister organisation Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) have secured grants totalling RM110,522 from the United States Embassy to fund their projects this year.
SDI received RM58,242 from the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Restoration for its project on documenting Kenyah songs, music and traditional dances to make them available as teaching materials in schools.
Its acting senior research fellow Sim Ah Hwa said the two-year project beginning next month would be undertaken in six Kenyah settlements in the Upper Baram and Balui areas in northern Sarawak.
Although the sape instrument is already well known in Malaysia and overseas, there is a need to document and preserve the music and dances of the Kenyah community for the sake of future generations, she said after the cheque presentation ceremony here yesterday.
Sim said SDI had plans to introduce the documented music and dances to primary schools upon completion of the project as a means of preserving and promoting ethnic culture.
Azam received a US Embassy Grant to Support Civil Society worth RM52,280, which would be used to enhance its programme on Capacity Building in Voluntarism among Rural Women of Sarawak.
The programme focuses on equipping women volunteers with the knowledge, skills and facilities to boost community development in rural Sarawak.
US Embassy cultural attaché Jamari Salleh said the grants represented an opportunity for the US to work with local organisations in various fields.