Building peace in the minds of men and women

Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage approves two International Assistance requests in Uganda and Zambia

08 December 2017


Bulgarian Chitalishte (Community Cultural Centre): practical experience in safeguarding the vitality of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
© Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria/Tsvetan Nedkov, 2013

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which is meeting in Jeju until 9 December, today approved two International Assistance requests. Uganda will be granted an amount of 232 000 US dollars and Zambia an amount of 334 000 US dollars to fund projects aimed at safeguarding their intangible cultural heritage.

The Committee also selected two projects in Bulgaria and Uzbekistan for the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices, which allows communities to share successful safeguarding programmes and activities.


The approved international assistance requests are:

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

The Empaako tradition of Western Uganda is a naming system whereby, in addition to their family and given names, a child is given an Empaako from a list shared by the entire community. In response to serious threats to its viability, the safeguarding plan aims to revitalize the practice and observance of associated ceremonies, enhance the communities’ capacity to transmit related knowledge, and mobilize practitioners to revive the practice. The communities concerned will be the main drivers of the project.


Zambia  - Strengthen the capacity for the safeguarding and management of intangible cultural heritage in Zambia

This project intends to develop and implement a degree programme in intangible cultural heritage at the University of Zambia. The objectives are threefold: to provide a critical mass of experts on the safeguarding of living heritage; to provide degree-level training to administrators and experts; and to establish a niche for critical research in this field. The programme is intended to inspire many people to take an interest in related issues and to have far-reaching benefits for people interested in the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.


The projects selected for the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices are:

Bulgaria - Bulgarian Chitalishte (Community Cultural Centre): practical experience in safeguarding the vitality of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

Bulgarian chitalishta (cultural community centres) are established by communities themselves and are open to everyone. The first chitalishta were set up in 1856 and they have been a key organizational unit of Bulgarian society ever since. Chitalishta perform cultural and educational activities aimed at safeguarding the customs and traditions of Bulgarian people, ensuring access to information and distributing knowledge. Their efficiency is demonstrated by their increasing numbers over the years and the growing numbers of participants in their activities.



Uzbekistan - Margilan Crafts Development Centre, safeguarding of the atlas and adras making traditional technologies

Historically, Margilan was the centre for making atlas and adras – vivid and fine traditional fabrics. Due to the acute need to revive and safeguard traditions at risk of disappearing, the local community launched the Crafts Development Centre in 2007. The Centre safeguards, develops and promotes Uzbek traditional atlas and adras making through training sessions, exhibitions and craft fairs, festivals, and the publication of safeguarding materials and manuals. Its success stems from its focus on partnership spirit and active community involvement.



The Committee is meeting at the International Convention Centre (ICC Jeju), Jeju Province, Republic of Korea.

For more information and live webcast:

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Media contacts:

Lucía Iglesias Kuntz, UNESCO press service,  +33 (0) 6 80 24 07 29.

Agnès Bardon, UNESCO press service, +33 (0) 6 80 24 13 56.

Follow the meeting on Twitter: @unesco, #IntangibleHeritage #12COM