Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 12.COM 11.D.2

The Committee,

  1. Recalling Chapter V of the Convention and Chapter I of the Operational Directives,
  2. Having examined Document ITH/17/12.COM/11.d+Add. as well as International Assistance request 01210,
  3. Takes note that Uganda has requested International Assistance for a project entitled Community-self documentation and revitalization of ceremonies and practices associated with Empaako naming system in Uganda (No. 01210):

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 are 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 will be developed, creating a network of promoters of community-based documenters of intangible cultural heritage. The communities concerned will be the main drivers of the project and ten selected community professionals will facilitate throughout the capacity-building workshops.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance concerns support for a project carried out at the national level aimed at safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, in accordance with article 20 of the Convention, and that it takes the form of the granting of a donation in line with article 21 (g) of the Convention;
  2. Also takes note that Uganda requested an allocation of US$232,120 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of the project;
  3. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the request responds as follows to the criteria for granting International Assistance, as set out in paragraphs 10 and 12 of the Operational Directives:

Criterion A.1: The request concerns the development of a practical guide regarding community-based self-documentation of intangible cultural heritage related to the local naming tradition. The request places communities in a central position and is based on a thorough study of community needs. Active community participation is ensured throughout the various stages of the project, and community members will be involved in the entire process, from collecting the data to disseminating the results and monitoring. Monthly clan meetings will be organized in order to mobilize bearers.

Criterion A.2: In light of the diversity and density of the activities planned within this project, which are aimed at enabling communities to document and revitalize a ceremony and its associated practices, the amount of assistance requested is appropriate, as demonstrated in the detailed budget breakdown provided. The budgetary items are clear and the sources of funding are well-defined.

Criterion A.3: The budget is well-conceived, reasonably structured and consistent with the planned activities. There is a a clear overview and precise timetable of the project, and the objectives are clearly specified and match the identified threats. The activities are planned in a logical sequence, from the development of the practical guide to the capacity-building workshops, the documentation of ceremonies associated with Empaako and the dissemination of the results.

Criterion A.4: The mechanisms established by the project will continue to function beyond the lifespan of the project. The documentation gained will feed into educational materials, with its multimedia formats being adapted for distribution through the mass media and for dissemination within and by cultural institutions and various cultural events. The project’s supervising committee will be responsible for integrating intangible cultural heritage-related issues into community programmes in general.

Criterion A.5: The Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund would ensure 80 per cent of the total project budget, while the State Party is committed to providing 13 per cent, with other partners contributing 7 per cent. The share of the State Party relates to logistics for monitoring, evaluation and reporting, as well as to the editing and translation of the practical guide.

Criterion A.6: The request for assistance is specifically aimed at reinforcing capacities to safeguard intangible cultural heritage. Practitioners of Empaako traditions from clans, community associations and cultural institutions will acquire documentation skills, as well as the specific skills needed to carry out research, fieldwork and training that will be introduced and developed through the project. Public awareness of the implications of the 2003 Convention will also be raised.

Criterion A.7: The State Party has so far benefited from International Assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund five times, for the following projects: 1) ‘Inventorying the intangible cultural heritage of four communities in Uganda’ (2013-2015; USD$216,000); 2) Preparatory assistance for ‘The male-child cleansing ceremony of the Lango people of North Central Uganda’ (2012-2013; US$8,570); 3) Preparatory assistance for ‘Madi bow lyre music, O’di’ (2013-2015; US$10,000); 4) ‘Safeguarding and promotion of Bigwala, gourd trumpet music and dance of Busoga Kingdom in Uganda’ (2015-2017; US$24,990) and 5) ‘Promoting intangible cultural heritage education in institutions of higher learning in Uganda’ (2017-2020; US$97,582).

Paragraph 10(a): The project is local in scope and would involve partners at the district and national levels, such as the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the UNESCO National Commission, the Ministry of Education and Sports, local governmental bodies and cultural institutions. The non-governmental organization responsible for the implementation of the project is funded by international partners.

Paragraph 10(b): A network of trainers and promoters of community self-documentation will be produced, thereby alllowing for the extension of programmes related to intangible cultural heritage. The project is likely to stimulate financial and technical contributions from other sources and stakeholders. In this respect, documentation is seen as a crucial tool for strengthening the transmission of the element to successive generations.

  1. Approves the International Assistance request from Uganda for the project entitled Community-self documentation and revitalization of ceremonies and practices associated with Empaako naming system in Uganda and grants the amount of US$232,120 to the State Party to this end;
  2. Invites the State Party to pay particular attention to the existing religious sensitivities in the region concerned both during and beyond the planning and implementation of the project;
  3. Recommends that the State Party strive to ensure the long-term viability of the ceremonies and practices associated with the element, given that the final assistance requested is limited to twenty-one months;
  4. Further invites the State Party to use Form ICH-04-Report to report on the use of the assistance granted.