Safeguarding strategy of traditional crafts for peace building

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Selected in 2019 on the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices

© Ministry of Culture of Colombia

The safeguarding strategy of traditional crafts for peace building addresses the weakening of traditional crafts through a system of intergenerational transmission of knowledge between master and apprentice based on the non-formal ‘learning by doing’ method. The safeguarding strategy aims to train different sectors of the population, create labour connections and foster cultural entrepreneurship. It establishes a link between bearers of traditional crafts and skills who are recognized by their communities for their empirical knowledge of the peculiarities of their region and apprentices aged between fourteen and thirty-five who become builders of peace by learning a skill or craft, seeking to transform their situation of vulnerability. The safeguarding strategy is therefore geared at: allowing for the qualification of traditional crafts, thereby improving employment opportunities; implementing a Traditional Crafts Policy to guide and ensure continuity in the transmission and practice of these crafts; and enhancing the Workshop Schools Programme. Priority is accorded to young people who are exposed to the effects of armed conflict, a lack of opportunities, school desertion and unemployment. Training is also combined with work, guaranteeing apprentices’ future employability. The strategy thus aims to foster the safeguarding of traditional crafts as a tool for social inclusion, employment and cultural entrepreneurship. In turn, the community can recognize the cultural and societal value of safeguarding different traditional skills and crafts.

Young musical instrument-building apprentice from the Pacific region of Colombia, a marginal area deeply affected by the armed conflict
Learning gardening, implles not only embellishing the city of Cali's public spaces, it strengthens the knowledge of traditional land use, care of nature and the use of medicinal plants
Delicate filigree jewelry like this grasshopper, from Mompox, represents a tradition of more than 400 years of goldsmithing and also an intimate relation with the surrounding environment
Traditional crafts such as ironsmithing, in workshop like that of master Ernesto Pupo, contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage in the historic centers
Master potter Herberto Ramírez, the last potter of Mompox, has dedicated himself to the transmission of his knowledge among the new generations, so this traditional craft does not disappear with him
The apprenticeship of traditional crafts is aimed at young people, as a means of social inclusion and opportunities, particularly of those exposed to armed conflict and lack of access to education and employement
Under the model of 'learning-by-doing', knowledge is combined with work, which allows to enhance and make visible the skills of apprentices, and provide tools to enter the labor market
In the traditional crafts programme, gender equality id promoted, by including women in areas considered exclusive for men, as in the case of woodwork and traditional building techniques
The programme favours intergenerational transmission, as demonstrated by Oswaldo Torres (in the middle), a riparian woodwork master who has inherited his jnowledge to his son Arnulfo Torres and his grandson Ronel Pacheco, maintaining the craft as part of their tradition
In learning traditional cuisines, young people not only attain skills and labour opportunities, but they also recognize their territory, their land produce, and contribute to food security and well-being of their communities
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