Five communities in Western Uganda participated in documenting and revitalizing Empaako intangible cultural heritage

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Empaako naming system, Uganda.
© Tooro Youth Platform for Action (Engabu Z Tooro)

In 2017, the Tooro Youth Platform for Action (Engabu Z Tooro) started working with five communities in Western Uganda to revitalize and document ceremonies and practices associated with the Empaako naming system, inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List in December 2013, with the support of a UNESCO grant from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund. During the last three years, the comprehensive and community-driven process documented knowledge on ceremonies, rituals and practices associated with the Empaako naming system and the meaning, social values and philosophy of the practice for the practitioners who live with the reality of this heritage.

The Toro Youth Platform for Action produced the publication, Ceremonies and Practices Associated with the Empaako Naming System, which presents the outcomes of the project as well as associated activities and initiatives, such as the training of over 30 community-based cultural heritage researchers to document and promote the safeguarding of Empaako.

The tools used to promote knowledge about the ceremonies and practices associated with Empaako include five 30-minute videos (one for each of the Empaako naming system ceremonies performed in each of the five communities involved in the project), as well as the production of four films documenting the folklore of 10 communities in greater western Uganda, will be published on a dedicated website including audio recordings and pictures of the project.

The project was completed in August 2020 and produced numerous positive outcomes, most notably a desire among bearers to document their living heritage and transmit it to successive generations over the long term.

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