Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 17.COM 7.d

The Committee,

  1. Recalling Article 23 of the Convention as well as Chapter I.4 of the Operational Directives relating to the eligibility and criteria of International Assistance requests,
  2. Having examined document LHE/22/17.COM/7.d as well as International Assistance request No. 01897 submitted by Malawi,
  3. Takes note that Malawi has requested International Assistance for the project entitled Safeguarding of ludodiversity in Malawi through formal and non-formal education:

The objective of this three-year project, to be implemented by the Malawi National Commission for UNESCO, is to contribute to the safeguarding of the ludodiversity of Malawi through informal learning and transmission of nine traditional games within practicing communities. The nine games were identified by practitioners in three regions of Malawi and included in an inventory of ludodiversity of Malawi in 2013, but the number of practitioners continues to decrease each year. The project thus aims to produce reference materials in the form of a guidebook and audio-visual documentaries with descriptions, rules and social functions for each of the nine traditional games. The materials will be based on consultations with communities that practice the games and with sports-development experts to achieve consensus on the rules to apply to each game. Furthermore, a draft curriculum will be developed to improve the Expressive Arts and Physical Education curriculum for teacher training, and the project will facilitate apprenticeships to allow 270 teachers and youth to acquire traditional game skills and to create their own teams, providing the appropriate tools and spaces for playing the traditional games. Other activities include the creation of seven national traditional games organisations and awareness-raising on the project and traditional games through media activities and festivals in the three regions of the country.

  1. Further takes notethat this assistance is to support a project implemented at the national level, in accordance with Article 20 (c) of the Convention, and that it takes the form of the provision of a grant, pursuant to Article 21 (g) of the Convention;
  2. Also takes notethat Malawi has requested assistance in the amount of US$305,144 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of this project;
  3. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the request responds as follows to the criteria for granting International Assistance given in paragraphs 10 and 12 of the Operational Directives:

Criterion A.1: The file explains the communities' role in preparing the proposed funding request through two local organizations (Nsikwa Foundation and Mbalika Association) whose objectives are to popularize the games. These non-governmental organizations were involved in the preparation of the request and used their networks to reach areas where some traditional games were still being practiced. The safeguarding plan issued from the inventorying exercise reflected the aspirations of the communities, which included traditional authorities, youth, teachers, audio-visual technicians, researchers and traditional game practitioners of all ages and genders. The file also provides information on how the communities will participate in the implementation of the proposed activities.

Criterion A.2: The State Party has specified the expenses for the activities mentioned in the request with sufficient details. The requested budget appears to be high for some items (i.e. the organization of consultative meetings, the festivals as well as travel costs for officials) or low for others (i.e. activities meant to directly benefit communities). The budget details need to be reviewed and may be adjusted against the objectives of the project, before and over the course of the implementation of the project.

Criterion A.3: The purpose of the proposed project is to safeguard nine traditional games through the implementation of activities, such as undertaking studies, documentation, curriculum improvement, apprenticeship, creation of groups and awareness-raising. The file elaborates the three major objectives, which include: (a) ensuring accessibility to information and knowledge; (b) promoting formal and non-formal transmission; and (c) raising awareness about the nine games and the project's expected results. Activities under each of the objectives are clearly elaborated in the file. However, it may be challenging to implement the proposed activities within the project timeframe. The State Party may consider reviewing the timetable before and over the course of the implementation the project.

Criterion A.4: The programme involves various awareness-raising and capacity-building activities, including the training of teachers and students. The results and benefits of the project are expected to last beyond the project duration. For example, the communities will be able to access the documentation that will result from the project through the chiefs, community libraries and schools. The university-based researchers will gain knowledge of methodologies for the documentation of cultural elements which can be replicated in future research or taught to university students. This will also encourage institutions to conduct more research in other areas of intangible cultural heritage that exist in the country.

Criterion A.5: The State Party is to cover 12 per cent of the total amount of the project for which International Assistance is requested from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund. The contribution by the State Party is expected to complement travel costs as well as staff/advisory services.

Criterion A.6: The project will contribute to building the communities' capacity in several ways, including by involving them in an in-depth field study of the nine games, in the development and distribution of the manual on traditional games, in conducting informal trainings, and in establishing teams. Furthermore, the activities will enhance the capacity of researchers, audio-visual technicians, the media and government officials to document ICH and the capacity of communities to manage and implement ICH safeguarding projects.

Criterion A.7: Malawi benefited from International Assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for three projects: (a) ‘Development of an inventory of intangible heritage of Malawi’ (file no. 01060, US$24,947, September 2012 – March 2013); (b) ‘Safeguarding of Nkhonde, Tumbuka and Chewa proverbs and folktales’ (file no. 00609, US$90,533 , June 2016 – June 2017); and (c) ‘Safeguarding ICH in Malawi through non-formal learning and transmission’ (file no. 01530, US$91,860, July 2019 – February 2022). The projects were carried out in compliance with UNESCO regulations and were successfully completed.

Paragraph 10(a): The proposed project is national in scope and involves the participation of communities from three regions in Malawi, with a key role to be played by the UNESCO National Commission for Malawi. It also foresees collaboration with several national institutions in the field of culture with clearly defined responsibilities. Moreover, important components of the project will be undertaken under the coordination of national authorities in charge of Sports and Education.

Paragraph 10(b): The project will have multiplier effects, as the universities and communities concerned will be encouraged to use the project outcomes to raise more funds to continue practicing the traditional games as well as to implement safeguarding measures for other games and elements. The introduction of a curriculum on traditional games and teacher training will have a lasting effect on the transmission of the traditional games after the end of the project. In addition, television and radio stations will use the project outcomes to develop more programmes on traditional games.

  1. Decides to approve the International Assistance request from Malawi for the project entitled Safeguarding of ludodiversity in Malawi through formal and non-formal education and grants the amount of US$305,144 to the State Party to this end;
  2. Requests that the Secretariat reach an agreement with the requesting State Party on the technical details of the assistance both before and over the course of the implementation of the project, paying particular attention to ensuring that the budget, timelines, and work plan of the activities to be covered by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund are detailed and specific enough to provide sufficient justification of the expenditures;
  3. Invites the State Party to use Form ICH-04-Report to report on the use of the assistance granted;
  4. Commends the State Party for the submission of an improved request following the decision of the Committee to refer the request in 2020.