This project has been launched in Zombo in April 2017. In 2016, CCFU embarked on an Oral History Documentation project to support the preservation of the oral history of three indigenous minority groups. The Lendu community in Zombo was selected as one of the three partners on this project.
A number of interventions have been made to understand and in some cases, address the concerns of indigenous minority groups, however these often tend to focus on their social and material needs. In 2012, the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda initiated a programme that aimed at enhancing cultural rights through heritage promotion in Uganda. This programme involved establishing the status of the right to enjoy, express and access their culture and strengthen the ability of indigenous minorities to exercise their cultural rights. CCFU’s interactions with indigenous minority groups revealed a constant fear of losing their identity and cultural heritage, which in most cases was at risk of disappearing due to the influence of neighbouring and dominant ethnic groups. In addition, the mechanisms of transmitting knowledge from one generation to the next were disrupted by displacement and a formal education system that does not favour minority languages.
Uganda’s Constitution recognises the existence of 65 ‘indigenous communities’, of which 21 are small ethnic groups, with fewer than 25,000 people. Numbers alone however do not adequately define an ‘ethnic minority’ group; rather, they share a number of common characteristics, including that of being marginalised, as they often include living in a remote geographical location, being poorer than the average population, lacking basic social services; often being at the receiving end of unfavourable government policies and being dominated by majority attitudes and practices. In addition to frequently suffering from the unequal distribution of national resources, many have lost land and other means to survive, due to civil strife or to government policies on forest and wildlife conservation, while very limited alternatives have been provided.