Community-self documentation and revitalization of ceremonies and practices associated with Empaako naming system in Uganda

  • Financial assistance:
    • US$ 232,120 granted in 2017
  • Dates of implementation:
    • 23/02/2018 - 10/02/2020
  • Documents:

Benefitting country(ies): Uganda


Inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List in December 2013, Empaako is a traditional naming system whereby, in addition to their family and given names, a child is given an Empaako from a list of twelve shared by the entire community. The practice is associated with rituals and ceremonies whose meaning is central to the identity and belief systems of the communities concerned. However, Empaako is faced with serious threats to its viability and the language of the Empaako tradition is declining even among its traditional communities. Empaako is threatened by religious groups, the reduced performance of its ceremonies and a drastic loss of knowledge about these ceremonies. In response to this situation, the general objectives of this safeguarding plan were to revitalize the practice and the observance of associated ceremonies, enhance the capacities of the communities concerned to transmit knowledge and skills to successive generations and mobilize practitioners to revive the practice. The capacity of eighty-seven stakeholders to document their own intangible cultural heritage was developed, creating a network of promoters of community-based documenters of intangible cultural heritage. The communities concerned were the main drivers of the project and ten selected communities professionals facilitated throughout the capacity-building workshops.

News and activities:

17/02/2017 - 12/02/2020 – Safeguarding of Enkipaata, Eunoto and Olng'esherr, three male rites of passage of the Maasai community01/11/2017 - 01/12/2019 – Strengthening capacities in the Comoros for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage for sustainable development