Popular traditional games

Traditional sports and games teach many values, such as Solidarity, Fairness, Equality, Discipline, Inclusion, Respect and Diversity; they contribute to mathematical and civic education and the ability to think logically. Traditional games also reflect cultural diversity, fostering mutual understanding and tolerance among communities and nations. However, many traditional sports and unique games, expressions of indigenous knowledge and ways of life contributing to the common identity of humanity, have already disappeared; and those that survive are threatened by imminent disappearance and extinction under the combined effect of globalization, migrations, and demographic changes.

For many years now, The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) has been entrusted by its Member States to play a leading role in reinforcing global cooperation in preserving and enhancing traditional and indigenous sports and games. The creation of an openly accessible digital library as a repository of traditional games also corresponds to UNESCO’s mission to promote the innovative use of ICTs for digital preservation, as well as for the development of crowd-sourced information for educational, scientific and cultural benefit.

It was against this backdrop that the global pilot project “Creation of an Open Digital Library on Traditional Games - Innovative use of ICTs to Safeguard and Promote Indigenous and Local Knowledge for Learning, Development, and the Rapprochement of Cultures” was launched in 2015. With the financial and technical support by Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Company Limited, the project aims to innovatively use ICTs to preserve and disseminate information about traditional and unique games and sports, in order to safeguard such knowledge as living heritage in the public domain, narrow the digital divide, and promote mutual understanding among peoples of different cultures.

During 2015-2016, four countries have joined in the project, as pilot sites for data collection that allowed us to design and test this innovative digital library: Bangladesh in South Asia, Mongolia in East Asia, Brazil in Latin America, and Greece in Western Europe. With the support of the UNESCO Offices and National Commissions for UNESCO, information and data of a number of traditional games have been collected and shared in this digital library. In 2017, the project will also welcome content from Africa, making it truly global and diverse.

The Digital Library is open to the public. We encourage all project stakeholders, from educators, researchers, scholars, to apps and videogames developers, from communities and inhabitants in the project pilot countries to the public at large - regardless of socio-economic situation, ethnicity, culture or gender - to learn about, interact, share, contribute content, innovatively use and disseminate the content in the digital library.


The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) was founded on 16 November 1945. UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to building peace in the minds of men and women.

The Organisation is responsible for coordinating international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication. It strengthens the ties between nations and societies, and mobilizes the wider public so that each child and citizen:

About Tencent
Tencent Interactive Entertainment

Tencent Interactive Entertainment is a world-leading brand with an array of portals, including Tencent Games, China Reading and Tencent Animation & Comics, Tencent Pictures, etc. Collectively, we are dedicated to delivering quality interactive entertainment experiences in the forms of online games, literature, animation and comics, dramas, movie and TV series, etc. Based on our trans-media strategy, Tencent Interactive Entertainment consistently creates a “fans” economy by fostering quality intellectual properties with a massive fan base and high level of loyalty based on PC and mobile internet. Join us to embrace this exciting new era of interactive entertainment.


Develop an Interactive Entertainment platform with high competitiveness and solid business value, and offer global leading “pan-entertainment” products and services with diverse, advanced solutions.


The Open Digital Library on Traditional Games (ODL-TG) is a work-in-progress. UNESCO and Tencent make every effort to ensure that the information, documents and materials contained in this website is always accurate, complete or legally accessible in your jurisdiction but can not guarantee it, and shall not be liable whatsoever for any damages incurred as a result of its use.

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All content in the ODL-TG are openly accessible for everyone for free. Content about traditional games in the ODL-TG can be divided into 2 groups:

“Content in the Public Domain" refers to content that are believed to be out of copyright protection in most territories. ODL-TG is not aware of any copyright restrictions because the copyright protection has terminated, because the copyright holder has intentionally placed the content into the public domain or because no evidence has been found about copyright restrictions.

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