Major Achievements

a) Pioneering innovative cultural approaches

According to the Kampala-Based International Business Consultants, “FITUganda”, ‘Engabu Za Tooro’ is a pioneer mover in Uganda of the following culture-based development approaches;

Re-constructing ancient traditions in contemporary development practice.

Beginning with 2002, Engabu Za Tooro researched on the Batooro Culture and identified an ancient oral tradition built around a heroine called “Koogere” who is praised for her exceptional wisdom and enterprise that
made her the greatest leader of her time and richest person in the “world”. This oral tradition was revitalized and a project built around it to promote women leadership and entrepreneurship. This has been a mailstone in the
organisation’s career development.

Professionalizing Cultural services providers

Traditional cultural services at ceremonies and practices like marriage, burial, installing a heir and naming, continue to be relevant even in modern context. However as service delivery increasingly get professional and commercial, these cultural services remained informal and voluntary, a factor that was undermining them despite their essence remaining relevant.

Beginning 2004, Engabu Za Tooro introduced formal training, targeting
traditional cultural services providers, which aimed at applying modern business skills, professionalism and organization to the delivery of cultural services. As a result the cultural services got organized, accessible and
paid for, so that the providers can be facilitated to research and develop the services as they earn a living from them. Engabu Za Tooro was the first mover of this approach which has been adopted in many communities.

b) Accreditation to UNESCO

Engabu Za Tooro was the first Ugandan NGO to be recommended by UNESCO’S Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in its 5th Session sitting in Nairobi, Kenya, in November 2010 and subsequently accredited by the following General Assembly of State Parties in June 2012, sitting at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, France. This accreditation opened the doors for participating in UNESCO’S
International capacity building programme, in preparation for helping State Party to implement the convention and providing the expertise for UNESCO’s International Culture mechanisms. This accreditation was not
necessarily born of a huge programme lineup and a mighty institutional infrastructure, but the sustainable effects and innovative minds behind the humble cultural projects which the organization had implemented since 1999 and which were well documented and internationally published by Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda, Common Wealth Foundation and Scholars of Makerere University Department of Literature.

c) Successfully facilitating nominations for UNESCO inscriptions

By 2017, Engabu Za Tooro had facilitated Ugandan Communities to inventory and nominate two intangible cultural heritage elements that are inscribed by UNESCO on the World List of intangible Cultural Heritage in Needs of Urgent Safeguarding. These elements include;

  1. Empaako Tradition of the Batooro, Banyoro, Banyabindi, Batuku and Batagwenda of Uganda.
  2. Koogere Oral Tradition of the Basongora, Batooro and Banyabindi peoples.

By 2017 these constituted 50% of all elements inscribed by UNESCO from Uganda under 2003 UNESCO convention and Engabu Za Tooro, therefore had started facilitating long term safeguarding programmes supported by UNESCO for these elements.

d) Professionalizing traditional folklore dancers and formalizing and commercializing their performances, transforming them into consumable products in modern entertainment industry.

Before the introduction of the programme in 1999, folklore and traditional dances in the communities where Engabu Za Tooro operates, were informal, voluntary and spontaneous and their relevancy was drastically dying
away. Entertainment in social and public functions had been completely hijacked and dominated by expensive discos which have no educational, mobilizational, social and spiritual values for the audience. The practitioners
could only be given audience on voluntary and non facilitated basis, only appreciated by an offer of refreshment after an energetic performance. These terms in the context of modern economy, were killing the traditional
dance and music heritage with its rich spiritual and social values. Engabu Za Tooro mobilized and organized folk performers into professional groups, trained them to perform as a business, developed the market to a level that
traditional entertainment is demanded commercially.

Today the cultural entertainment has reclaimed its stage in all public and social functions and the service is being paid for competitively, to facilitate the practitioners to organize, professionalize, preserve the heritage and develop the service delivery systems. As a result many people are moving to traditional performance and forming professional groups as a way of earning a living and achieving modern development.

e) Grooming and promoting Artists up to winning International Accolades and Awards.

Engabu Za Tooro groomed, mentored and promoted artists up to winning National and International Awards as follows:

  • 2006 National Pearl of Africa Music Awards. ( Uganda’s Best cultural Artist)
  • 2007 National Pearl of Africa Music Awards (Best Western Uganda, Artist)
  • 2008 Kisima East African Award (Best Cultural Video)
  • Rotary International Vocational Award 2007
  • The Uganda Music Award (Best Western Region Artist 2017)

e) Grooming and promoting Artists up to winning International Accolades and Awards.

Facilitating and inspiring the founding of other organisations and social movements. Engabu Za Tooro facilitated, influenced and inspired the founding of other organizations and social movements as follows;

  1. Twerwaneho Listeners’ ClubThis emerged from Engabu Za Tooro’s Civic radio talk show in 2007/08 called “Twerwaneho” radio programme and it was later developed and sponsored by Engabu Za Tooro into an independent organization, focusing on promotion of civil and political rights.
  2. Koogere Foundation UgandaThis was founded by the then Engabu Za Tooro staff and member of Board of Directors who built it around the clout of Engabu Za Tooro’s Koogere of the year 2003 title holder Ms. Alice Basemera, to scale up the Koogere Programme coverage.
  3. Uganda National Coalition for Cultural Diversity (UNCCD)Engabu Za Tooro is the founding chair of the National Coalition and this was after being admitted as associate member of the “International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD)” in 2015 and then supported by the Federation to mobilize Ugandan Cultural Organisations for forming a Coalition.
  4. National Association of Folklore Groups and festivals (NAFGF)Engabu Za Tooro is the founding chair of this national network of Folklore groups and this was after being admitted in 2017 as an official representative in Uganda of the International Council of Organizations
    for Folklore and Folk Festivals (CIOFF).
  5. Youth Associations, groups and social movements around the region.Engabu Za Tooro programme and her philosophy built around social and human values which include; cultural identity, human creativity, open engagement and assertiveness, inspired emergence of youth movements and pressure groups across the region. These groups and movements among others include; Engabu Za Booga in Eastern DRC, Engabu Za Bunyoro in Bunyoro, Empagi Za Bunyoro in Bunyoro and Entagurwa za Busongora among the Basongora community.

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