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Engabu Za Tooro (Tooro Youth Platform for Action)

Stephen Rwagweri Atwoki facilitating during a workshop

Working with clan leaders to adapt cultural values, practices and expression to supporting promotion of principles of sustainable development Engabu Za Tooro (Tooro Youth Platform for Action) has a mission of enhancing the vitality of culture through indigenous knowledge research, safeguarding heritage, development of youth talents and creative enterprises and application of culture based approach to promotion of gender balance, rights of indigenous peoples, peace building, good governance, environmental sustainability and responsible tourism for achieving a holistic social change.

Cultural Troupe perfoming

The organization helps the culture bearers to re-claim and revitalize endangered oral traditions and expressions and adapt cultural values and practices to promotion of principles of sustainable development. Engabu Za Tooro since 2012 has been accredited to offer advisory services to UNESCO’s Intergovernmental committee for safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage. It has facilitated 7 out of 65 indigenous Uganda communities (tribes) to have their oral traditions and expressions inscribed by UNESCO on the world list of intangible cultural heritage which has resulted into a long term programme of documentation and revitalization of cultural values and traditions with a series of UNESCO co-funded projects.

Through these programmes, Engabu Za Tooro has mobilized and closely works with a network of critical bearers of cultural heritage and who determine cultural values in communities namely; the clan leaders, ritual leaders, folk performing groups and artists. EZT networks folk groups and festivals and represents Uganda on the International Council of Organizations of Folklore festivals and Folk Art and Festivals (CIOFF). The background programme which now is co-funded by UNESCO aims at first re-claiming the disappearing cultural expressions, traditions and values through research, comprehensive documentation and revitalization. In the process of revitalization and with the support of other development partners, these bearers can adapt the cultural values, expressions and practices to supporting promotion of sustainable development and hence the cultural approach to development issues.

Getting the child out of the house

Culture is often blamed as a roadblock in implementation of modern laws, policies and programmes of promoting good practices for sustainable development. But there are rarely any efforts of working with and through culture in order to understand it better, promote compatible cultural values and negotiate for change on in compatible cultural values from working within. With the support of Hivos and Commonwealth Foundation among others, the organization has piloted the culture based approach to promotion of women participation in leadership and entrepreneurship with success that need to be scaled up.

Activities Research, documentation and publication which involves identifying cultural values and folk expressions which positively support the values or practices of sustainable development and therefore they need to be documented and promoted and those cultural values and practices which don’t support and therefore negotiations for adjustment is needed. Sensitization workshop targeting the critical bearers of cultural heritage who include ritual leaders, clan leaders and folk performers on the need to adapt cultural values and practices to the promotion of values of sustainable development. The workshops will also develop strategies of promoting those cultural values that positively support and adjusting those that negatively affect promotion of values of sustainable development. Advocacy activities involving clan leaders and ritual leaders making statements in their clan assemblies and community media. Community education activities using music, dance and drama and radio programmes. Publications

Year of accreditation: 2012

Main Domain(s): oral traditions and expressions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events.

Main countries where the NGO works: Uganda

Local, national or international level of the NGO:  local

Staff of ICH Documentation Unit

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