Jinja Chess Center
The Jinja chess program started in 2014,
It was in April 2013 when Coach Robert and Phiona were invited to speak at the Women in the World Summit in New York, On the pannel, they were to present with Merisa Van Der Merwe and Gm Garry Kasparov. When teacher Ann Fantauzzi heard that Coach Robert was in New York, she flew in with her husband to meet Coach Robert. Ann requested Coach Robert to initiate a Chess program for the School she was supporting in Jinja Kakira in a community known as Kagoma. Coach Robert later introduced Merisa to Ann. It was during this meeting that Coach Robert took up the Challenge to go to Jinja and connect to this impoverished community.
Merisa requested Ann to use the Mini Chess curriculum since Kagoma was a school setting. This led to Coach Robert travelling to South Africa for Mini- Chess Training.
In February 2014, Coach Robert started traveling to Jinja every week to introduce and teach Chess to the Children and teacher of Kagoma Gate School.
After a few months, Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) decided to support the the program financially because it was requiring a lot of logistics especially the weekly travels. The program continued to thrive in that the children even got an opportunity to represent their school for National Primary schools Chess competitions. Incidentally, at the end of 2014 KCF pulled out due to financial constraints.
Coach Robert continued with the program until the end of 2015 when KCF came back on board and sponsored two school teachers for the mini Chess training in Kenya. It was assumed that the teachers would run the program but it was the case!
In February 2017, the Giving the circle Africa made an office visit to meet Coach Robert Katende. And he was requested to comeback on board and lead the programs under his philosophy because that is what would benefit the less privileged children enrolled in the schools.
The program is fully back under Som Chess Academy and supported by both Robert Katende Initiative and the Giving Circle Africa.
The pioneers from Katwe travel to Jinja every week to conduct chess sessions and Coach Robert travels with them often.
This will see the children that excel in their primary school exams possibly supported for high school education as resources permit.