Makerere Hill, off Bativa road, Kampala | +256 (0) 393 294 675/7
Makerere Hill, off Bativa road, Kampala | +256 (0) 393 294 675/7

The North Karamoja Indigenous Minority Group platform expands to include other groups

The North Karamoja Indigenous Minority Groups (IMG) platform, initially constituted by five groups – Ik, Nyangia, Ngokutio, Katibong, and Napore – has expanded to include additional groups such as Ngikuliak, So (also known as Tepeth), Ethur, and Kadama. Established eight years ago and registered with the Kaabong district local government, the platform aims to support IMGs in advocating for their cultural rights concerns. These concerns encompass access to indigenous languages, preservation of cultural sites within protected areas like National Parks and Central Forest Reserves, expression of cultural identities in public spaces, political representation, and inclusion on district statutory bodies, among others.

The inclusion of the new groups occurred during a two-day planning and capacity-building event facilitated by the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) at Kaabong Resort Hotel from April 24th to 25th, 2024. The meeting’s objectives were to enhance IMGs’ understanding of cultural rights, assess the progress of previous advocacy interventions, equip representatives of new groups to advocate for their cultural rights, identify relevant duty-bearers, and review the platform’s leadership while developing an action plan to address identified cultural rights concerns.

During the meeting, IMGs evaluated the platform’s progress, highlighting successful initiatives such as the revival of shrines and exposure to other IMGs across Uganda. They have also documented some indigenous languages and established connections with support organizations like Minority Rights Groups International. Nevertheless, challenges persist, including limited capacity among IMGs for advocacy, pronounced marginalization and discrimination, prevalent gender imbalances in interventions, and restricted access to cultural sites.

In her opening remarks, the Secretary of the Kaabong District Land Board emphasized the interconnectedness of Karamoja people’s cultural heritage and land, which serves as their livelihood source. Dispossessing the Karamojong of their land equates to harming their existence. The district recognizes customary land rights rooted in clan and family structures, urging IMGs to educate youth about these rights. She advocated for zoning land in Karamoja to map and document areas designated for cultural heritage sites.

At the meeting’s conclusion, the platform developed an action plan and reviewed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with CCFU for the next two years. Additionally, the platform expanded its leadership to include representatives from the Tepeth and Ethur communities.

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