Traditions and practices associated with the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda

    

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Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding

© Department of Culture, 2009 :

The Mijikenda include nine Bantu-speaking ethnic groups in the Kaya forests of coastal Kenya. The identity of the Mijikenda is expressed through oral traditions and performing arts related to the sacred forests, which are also sources of valuable medicinal plants. These traditions and practices constitute their codes of ethics and governance systems, and include prayers, oath-taking, burial rites and charms, naming of the newly born, initiations, reconciliations, marriages and coronations. Kayas are fortified settlements whose cultural spaces are indispensable for the enactment of living traditions that underscore the identity, continuity and cohesion of the Mijikenda communities. The use of natural resources within the Kayas is regulated by traditional knowledge and practices that have contributed to the conservation of their biodiversity. The Kambi (Councils of Elders) acts as the custodians of these Kayas and the related cultural expressions. Today, Mijikenda communities are gradually abandoning the Kayas in favour of informal urban settlements. Due to pressure on land resources, urbanization and social transformations, the traditions and cultural practices associated to the Kaya settlements are fast diminishing, posing great danger to the social fabric and cohesiveness of the Mijikenda communities who venerate and celebrate them as their identity and symbol of continuity.

Periodic reporting

Periodic Report (USL)

A. Cover sheet

A.1.

State Party

Name of State Party

Kenya

A.2.

Date of deposit of the instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession

This information is available online.

2007-10-24

A.3.

Element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List that is the subject of this report

Name of element

Traditions and practices associated with the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda

Inscribed in

2009

Submitting State(s)

Kenya

A.4.

Reporting period covered by this report

Please indicate the period covered by this report.

15/12/2017 - 15-11-2021

A.5.

Other elements inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, if any

Please list all other elements from your country inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, together with the year of inscription; for multinational elements, please indicate the other States concerned.

Enkipaata, Eunoto and Olng'esherr, three male rites of passage of the Maasai community (2018)
Isukuti dance of Isukha and Idakho communities of Western Kenya (2014)
Rituals and practices associated with Kit Mikayi shrine (2019)

A.6.

Executive summary of the report

Please provide an executive summary of the report that will allow general readers to understand the current status of the element, any positive or negative impacts of inscription, the implementation of safeguarding measures during the reporting period and their possible update for the following years.

Kayas are fortified settlements inhabited by Mijikenda communities. The Mijikenda comprises nine (9) distinct Bantu groups who speak closely-related languages. They include the Chonyi, Duruma, Digo, Giriama, Jibana, Kambe, Kauma, Rabai and Ribe. Due to pressure on land resources, urbanization and social transformation, these communities at some point began moving away from the Kayas (sacred forests) while abandoning the traditions and cultural practices associated with the Kayas in favour of informal urban settlements. This was at the expense of the traditional social structures that have bound them to their cultural and social identity, in harmony with the natural environment for a long time. The ‘Traditions and practices associated with the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda’ were inscribed on 1st October, 2009 on UNESCO's List for Urgent Safeguarding.
Since inscription, the constant enactment of the traditions and cultural practices associated with the Kayas has strengthened the viability of this element. The element continues to play an important role, inter alia, as a symbol of identity, continuity and ultimate survival of the Mijikenda communities. Most practices associated with the Kayas have been embraced by a larger number of the members of the community today.
Among the safeguarding measures that have contributed to this success are; the revitalization of certain rituals using part of the income generated from the projects initiated; education of the youth on the importance of Mijikenda traditions and practices related to the Kayas; organization of community festivals and the inter-and intra-community cultural exchange programmes.

In addition, the council of elders has continued to play a significant role in the activities related to the safeguarding of these traditional practices. These roles include; management and conservation of Kaya forests and maintenance and strengthening of the councils by bringing on board new and younger members. These councils and other groups have worked very closely with the county administrative structures and local authorities to stop the destructive activities occurring within the Kaya forests. The establishment of community guards who have been working with the youth vigilante groups have acted as whistle blowers when the forests have been invaded. The economic gains so far made from the projects initiated have enhanced the spirit of ownership amongst the community members and the safeguarding measures.

The safeguarding measures put in place have empowered the Mijikenda communities and ensured viability and transmission of the element. The element is now more visibile through programmes such as increased school visits. With the involvement of the Mijikenda communities, the Department of Culture with the help of other key partners has updated the inventory and documentation related to the element.
A benchmarking programme has been initiated among the Kayas within Mijikenda communities. This programme is intended to reward the best preforming Kayas with regard to enactment of the traditional practices and rituals and the best conserved Kayas in relation to environmental conservation and regeneration.

A.7.

Contact person for correspondence

Provide the name, address and other contact information of the person responsible for correspondence concerning the report.

Title (Ms/Mr, etc.)

Dr.

Family name

Lagat

Given name

Kiprop

Institution/position

Department of Culture/ Director of Culture

Address

+P.O. Box 67374-00200, Nairobi, Kenya

Telephone number

+254 020 2727980-4 +254 020 2725329

E-mail address

roplagat@yahoo.com

Other relevant information

Cell Phone +254722853504

B. Status of element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List

Refer to the nomination file or to previous reports, if any, as the basis for reporting on the current status of the element, and report only on relevant changes since the date of inscription on the List or since the previous report. Nomination files, specific timetables and earlier reports, if any, are available at https://ich.unesco.org or from the Secretariat, upon request.

The State Party shall pay special attention to the role of gender and shall endeavour to ensure the widest possible participation of the communities, groups and, where applicable, individuals concerned as well as relevant non-governmental organizations during the process of preparing this report, and is asked to describe how it has done so in point D below.

B.1.

Social and cultural functions

Please explain the social and cultural functions and meanings of the element today, within and for its community, the characteristics of the bearers and practitioners, and any specific roles or categories of persons with special responsibilities towards the element, among others. Attention should be given to any relevant changes related to inscription criterion U.1 (‘the element constitutes intangible cultural heritage as defined in Article 2 of the Convention’).

“Kaya” means “home” in Mijikenda dialects. The Mijikenda are found in the coastal region between Kenya’s border with Tanzania in the south, and the northern limit of Kilifi County near the Tana River. The Kayas remain a valued cultural heritage for these communities because of their history. These forests are venues for many cultural and social events. There are myths and beliefs which relate to the sacredness of these forests. They are resting places of the ancestors; some communities still bury their dead in these places , and conduct other traditional cultural rituals and ceremonies. These groves bear the marks of human activity, particularly clearings and paths with cultural and historical significance. They are sacred trees, housing spirits, and providing links to the ancestors. The forest products are used for making masks (fingo) used in rituals and ceremonies; they represent the spirits of the forests and ancestors (who reside in forests) and thus express and evoke cultural links to the past. They continue to play a significant role within the framework of the traditions and cultural practices associated with the Mijikenda community. The Kayas are sacred sites where cleansing ceremonies and prayers are held to free the community from any calamities such as ailments, drought spells, pest and any other calamities. During the Covid 19 pandemic, special prayers and rituals were conducted. It is believed the community was spared from this calamity because of the invocation.
These traditional practices have bonded these communities and guaranteed them peaceful co-existence with nature and the entire ecosystem. In maintaining these cultural practices, the Kaya elders have endeavored to bridge the gap between their traditional beliefs and the
Christian and Islamic beliefs through holding meetings that ensure respect for each other.
The elders are not just custodians of the cultural traditions, but are also custodians of the forest diversity as they believe the forests are important for the sustainable well being of the community and humanity at large. These cultural spaces are sites for spiritual healings. They are important resources for medicinal plants and home to other biodiversity. During this Covid 19 pandemic, the elders have advocated for and created awareness on the use of traditional foods and medicines such as kavirira nyuma, mudungu and mutsomolo. “Chivuti” a medicinal plant, which for many years, has been used to treat respiratory diseases. It is what the community has been using to treat any Covid 19 related symptoms.

The Kambi (Council of Elders) is the highest traditional administrative organ. It is the custodian of the intangible cultural heritage of the Mijikenda. The Kambi holds meetings to resolve conflicts using the Mijikenda traditional conflict resolution systems, thus, creating order and peaceful coexistence. In the recent years however, the voice and authority of the Kaya elders is threatened by modern administrative structures, and in some cases, external interference that has disregarded traditional protocol.
These traditions and cultural practices nevertheless still enhance the community’s sense of identity and continuity through passing on knowledge, cultural and social values.

B.2.

Assessment of its viability and current risks

Please describe the current level of viability of the element, particularly the frequency and extent of its practice, the strength of traditional modes of transmission, the demographics of practitioners and audiences and its sustainability. Please also identify and describe the threats, if any, to the element's continued transmission and enactment and describe the severity and immediacy of such threats, giving particular attention to any strengthening or weakening of the element’s viability subsequent to inscription.

The traditions and cultural practices associated with the Kayas are still very viable. There are weekly meetings by the elders on different days in the various Kayas. During the last four years, all the Kayas have held cleansing and prayer ceremonies (matambiko), at the beginning of the year before the planting season to invoke blessings on their crops and at the end of the end of the year as thanksgiving for the harvests. During these rituals, sheep and chickens are slaughtered to cleanse the community from any calamities such as ailments, drought spells, pest, and any other calamities. During these ceremonies, the commemorative funeral posts (vigango) are dressed. Women and men are involved in cooking rituals and traditional dances. The enactment was however slightly affected by the Covid 19 pandemic restrictions on gatherings. In some Kayas, the huts degenerated and the vigango were dishonored as they were not dressed as they should regularly be. Since the restrictions were lifted, the elders and other practitioners have resumed the enactment of these rituals.
Despite these challenges, the viability of this element has been strengthened by the inscription of the element into the Urgent Safeguarding List and on the World Heritage List for some Kayas. Its transmission from the older to the younger generation is now gradually being embraced. Transmission of knowledge is done through workshops, mapping of the cultural landscapes and making the traditional calendar.

These sacred groves remain significant to the community, not only for their cultural and social values, but also for the environmental, aesthetic, religious and economic values. They are still sites of ancestral burials and places where the community goes to communicate with their ancestors. In addition, they have become an important resource for sustainable development to the community through the income generation initiatives and the other materials like the herbal medicines, bee-keeping, tree nurseries among others that they provide.

The traditions and cultural practices associated with the Kayas have continued playing a central role in upholding a cohesive social order that has ensured sustainable internal peace and an all inclusive harmonious life amongst the community members. The elders have not only held prayers for peace but have spearheaded peace building initiatives and advocacy on the cultural benefits of the traditions associated with sacred Kaya forests of the Mijikenda. The sacred groves have been opened up to women, youth and any other interested groups. More women are now taking up leadership responsibilities in the management of the activities taking place in the Kayas. The very sacred places are nevertheless protected from unauthorized visitors.
A few Kayas have experienced conflicts between the elders and other interest groups regarding the management of these Kayas. Coastal Forest Conservation Unit (CFCU) of the National Museums of Kenya has initiated dialogue between the groups to resolve the impasse.
Other threats include allocation of some sacred groves outside the main Kayas for private development and lack of preparedness in the event of calamities like the bush fires particularly during this drought season.

B.3.

Implementation of safeguarding measures

Please report on the safeguarding measures described in the nomination file, and previous report, if any. Describe how they have been implemented and how they have substantially contributed to the safeguarding of the element during the reporting period, taking note of external or internal constraints such as limited resources. Include, in particular, information on the measures taken to ensure the viability of the element by enabling the community to continue to practise and transmit it. Include the following detailed information concerning the implementation of the set of safeguarding measures or safeguarding plan:

B.3.a. Objectives and results

Indicate what primary objective(s) were addressed and what concrete results were attained during the reporting period.

The primary objectives addressed in the safeguarding plan are as follows:-
i.To empower the Mijikenda communities with skills, knowledge and resources to promote viability and ensuring transmission of the element.

This was achieved through the income generating projects that facilitated the enactment of the element. Some Kayas initiated animals and poultry rearing (goats, sheep and chickens. they include Kaya Fungo, Rabai and Jibana in Kilifi County. Some Kayas have started a bead making project using seeds found in the Kaya forests and butterfly rearing. Others are engaged in brick making and fish farming. These projects enable the cleansing and prayer ceremonies (matambiko) to be continuously enacted thus keeping the element viable.
ii.To disseminate existing information related to the Mijikenda traditions and practices to the public with a view of raising awareness.
This was achieved to a reasonable degree through enhancing broadcasted content on the traditions and practices of sacred Kaya forest through media. The Kaya elders in collaboration with other stakeholders particularly Coastal Forest Conservation Unit (CFCU) have partnered with Radio Kaya, Msenangu FM and, Kenya Television Network to create awareness on the importance of the Kaya and the related traditional practices.
iii.To educate the youth and other community members on the importance and significance of the traditions and practices associated with the Kaya sacred forest.
One major activity towards achieving this objective was a training of teachers on Kaya traditions and an essay writing competition on the Kayas sponsored by UNDP. 1800 students participated in this competition. Besides, the students also participated in traditions performances related to the Kaya traditions. There were visits to the Kayas by Pwani University and Moi University students.
iv.To promote cooperation and networking amongst communities.
There have been inter-community dialogues among the elders from the different Kayas, like the visit by elders from the Rabai Kaya to the Gandini Kaya. in addition, the Kaya elders have initiated dialogue between themselves and the Christian and Islamic faithful.
v.To promote the management and environmental conservation of the sacred Kayas of the
Mijikenda.
The Kaya elders have spearheaded the protection of the forest diversity, firstly through their ritual of cleaning the forests paths. Secondly they have hired local guards to oversee any illegal misuse and encroachment on the Kaya forest, through synergy with Kenya Forest Services and Kenya Wildlife Services who have been incorporated in the management of the Kaya forests. in fact they are the eyes of the Coastal Forests Conservation Unit.
vi. To put in place favorable legislative and management framework in support of the safeguarding measures.
This role basically was under the custodianship of the National Government through the Department of Culture. Indeed the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions Act 2016 was passed. Sensitization and capacity building on the Act is ongoing among the different stakeholders including the communities. It is anticipated that it will give the required authority to cultural practitioners who are owners and custodians of their cultural heritage so that they can freely experience their cultural expressions.

B.3.b. Safeguarding activities

List the key activities that were carried out during this reporting period in order to achieve these expected results. Please describe the activities in detail and note their effectiveness or any problems encountered in implementing them.

1. Recreating and enactment of Kaya traditional ritual ceremonies:
Cleansing and prayer ceremonies (matambiko) were held. These rituals were conducted to protect the community from ailments, drought spells, pest and any other calamities. During theses rituals, a sheep and a chicken is slaughtered to cleanse the community from any calamities. These were particularly prevalent during the outbreak of the Corona virus pandemic and during the drought spell. The community believes that the Covid pandemic never affected it substantially due to the prayers and the lifestyle of the members. During the pandemic, the Kaya elders created awareness on the use of traditional foods that are medicinal such as Jikosho, Mnavu, Salakushe, Chishombo-mhogo mkunde Mrembeganga and Muturituri used for family planning. Various Kayas constructed traditional huts where cultural objects and instruments are kept. Other traditional rituals and ceremonies were held by the various Kayas particularly at the beginning of the year to open the planting season through supplication for rains and intercession for a bumper harvest. Special ceremonies were also held around September 2021 as a thanksgiving for the harvests.

2. Meetings, seminars and workshops where community representatives and other stake holders exchange ideas and share common challenges and way forward.
The voice and authority of the Kaya elders is threatened by modern administrative structures from the county and national governments. Towards this end, there have been meetings between Kaya elders and other interested parties including Christian and Islamic faithful. These meetings were intended to create awareness and a common understanding about the role of the traditions associated with the Kaya forests. They were meant to dispel any suspicions that these traditions are retrogressive. It was noted that these traditions have social, cultural, environmental, economic and political values. Meetings have also been held to resolve conflicts using the Mijikenda traditional conflict resolution systems. There were several peace building capacity workshops conducted to create awareness on the values and benefits of the traditions associated with the sacred Kaya forests of the Mijikenda. Above all, the Kaya elders have made these sacred groves more accessible to all people to dispel any fears about them being witchcraft hubs. The lockdown and other regulation imposed during this Covid 19 pandemic has slowed down the frequency of these ceremonies

3. Income generating activities
Some Kayas initiated animals and poultry rearing (goats, sheep and chickens. They include Kaya Fungo, Rabai and Jibana in Kilifi County. This initiative was sponsored BY Institute for Culture and Ecology. Some Kayas are still engaged in bee keeping though his project has been adversely affected by climatic change. The women from Kaya Kauma have started a bead making project using seeds found in the Kayas. In addition, there is the butterfly rearing. These programmes were sponsored by (UNDP) through Small Grants Programme. Some Kayas like Kaya Kambe, are engaged in fish farming. there are also other economic activities like brick-making in Kaya Duruma.

4. Broadcast programmes on traditions and practices of Kaya through national media and dissemination programmes on traditions and practices of Kaya through the media
The Kaya elders in collaboration with other stakeholders particularly Coastal Forest Conservation Unit (CFCU) of the National Museums of Kenya have used the media through Radio Kaya Msenangu FM and, Kenya Television Network to create awareness on the importance of the Kaya and the related traditional practices.

5. Enhancing intergenerational linkages, knowledge transmission and learning between the elders and youth
In Kaya Kambe, the youth participated in a tree planting ceremony and in the cleaning rituals as a way of inducting them to the cultural expressions associated with the sacred Kaya forests. The elders of Kaya Jibana transmitted knowledge to the youth through a workshop and mapping of the cultural landscape. They were involved in making the traditional calendar. In Kaya Digo and Kinondo, youth helped in cleaning the paths and building the huts. Several youth groups have had an opportunity to visit the Kayas. Moi University students visited Kaya Digo. The students had an opportunity to walk around the Kaya and inducted to the Kaya traditions. Kaya Rabai equally hosted students from Pwani University.

6. Tree planting exercise
7. Inter-and intra community cultural exchange programmes
There have been inter-community dialogues among them, a visit by elders from the Rabai Kaya to the Gandini kaya. During these meetings, the elders resolved that before any Kaya elders approve anything in any one community; the matter must have the approval of elders from that community, thus, strengthening social cohesion among the Mijikenda community and other communities.
8. Education programmes in schools
The UNDP through Kilio cha Haki and the Coastal Forests Conservation Unit organized a workshop to breach the intergenerational gap. This workshop encompassed training of teachers and an essay writing competition on the kayas. 1800 students participated in this competition. Besides, the students also participated in traditions performances.
9. Recruitment of community guards
To strengthen the security within the Kayas and protect them from illegal encroachment and misuse various Kayas employed guards. They include Kaya Fungo, Ribe, Kambe, Jibana and Kaya Mlima Zombo. These guards protected the forests from illegal activities such as charcoal burning, grazing of domestic animals and tree harvesting.

B.3.c. Participation of communities, groups or individuals in the safeguarding activities

Describe how communities, groups or, if appropriate, individuals as well as relevant non-governmental organizations have effectively participated, including in terms of gender roles, in the safeguarding measures. Describe the role of the implementing organization or body (name, background, etc.) and the human resources that were available for implementing safeguarding activities.

The Department of Culture has played a coordination role to ensure there are suitable conditions for meaningful community and stakeholder participation in the management of this heritage. The Kaya elders have been central in ensuring the continued enactment of the cleansing and prayer ceremonies where men, women and youth are involved in the rituals and the traditional dances, thus ensuring the viability of the element. These groups participate in erecting of the traditional huts. These huts store the cultural objects and instruments used in the rituals.
The Kaya elders using the funds they secure from various donors have hired local guards from the community to protect these sacred groves from encroachment by people who want to graze their animals or cut trees for charcoal burning. The youth participated in the cleansing ceremony as a way of inducting them to the practices, therefore transmitting the cultural expressions associated with the sacred Kaya forests thus keeping the element viable. There have been many tree-planting exercises and nearly all the Kayas have established tree nurseries with the support of Coastal Forest Conservation Unit and the Kenya Forests Services. Without the forests, the element will have no home.

Some of the Non-Governmental Organizations that have supported the safeguarding measures include Action Aid through Worldwide Fund for Nature that facilitated a workshop to establish an overall council of elders that would coordinate and oversee the implementation of the safeguarding plans; Institute for Culture and Ecology that procured goats, sheep and hens for breeding to ensure that the instruments used in the rituals are sustainably available; UNDP through Kilio cha Haki organized a workshop to bridge the intergenerational gap. Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health (TICAH), which also sponsored a workshop to create awareness on the important role played by the rituals and practices associated with the element. Coastal Forest Conservation Unit has been instrumental in overseeing the general maintenance of the forests and ensuring that Kayas practices are protected. The institution has been very instrumental in mitigating on conflict of interests in the management of the Kayas. UNDP through Small Grants Programme has build capacity and supported income generating activities including butterfly rearing, beekeeping, pottery and bead making. Other than supporting the livelihoods of the practitioners, a percentage of the earnings are given to support the enactment of the element. UNDP has also supported brick-making in some Kayas. Other institutions that have supported the safeguarding measures are the Kenya Wildlife Services, the Kenya Forest Services, particularly for forests that have been gazette, and the County Governments of Kilifi and Kwale where these Kayas are domiciled.
The Department of Culture has worked with other relevant state agencies such as the Permanent Presidential Music Commission, the Department of Film Services, the National Museums of Kenya and Coastal Forest Conservation Unit that are key to the safeguarding programmes as they have the technical expertise and the capacity required to the implement the safeguarding measures.

B.3.d. Timetable

Indicate in a timetable when each activity was implemented.

1. Date: September 2017
Location: Kaya Fungo
Activity: The members initiated the erection of temporary signage;
2. Date: September 2017
Location: Kaya Kambe
Activity: A fish pond was established;
3. Date: April, 2018
Location: Kaya Rabai
Activity: Hiring of guards from the community to protect the forest;
4. Date: 28th June, 2018
Location: Kaya Rabai
Activity: Special cleansing ceremony conducted;
5. Date: 23rd July 2018
Location: Kaya Rabai
Activity: Establishment of an overall Council of Elders;
6. Date: July 2018
Location: Kaya Fungo
Activity: hire of guards to protect the forest;
7. Date: August, 2018
Location: Kaya Jibana
Activity: Construction and repairing of traditional huts;
8. Date: 21st August 2018-
Location: Kaya- Kauma
Activity: 100 students visited the Kaya to learn about the Kaya traditions;
9. Date: January 2018
Location: Kaya Digo
Activity: Cleaning of and repairing of the traditional huts;
10. Date: May 2019
Location: Kaya Mlima Zombo
Activity: Tree planting;
11. Date: 11th July 2019
Location: Kaya Duruma
Activity: Capacity building workshop on climate friendly crops;
12. Date: 23rd January, 2020
Location: Kaya Ribe
Activity: Cleaning and repairing of traditional huts by youth to induct them to the cultural expressions associated with the sacred Kaya forests;
13. Date: January, 2020
Location: Kaya Rabai
Activity: Construction and repairing of traditional huts;
14. Date: 3rd February 2020
Location: Kaya Rabai
Activity: Peace building capacity workshop and creation of awareness on the cultural benefits of the Kaya traditions;
15. Date: 12th March 2020
Location: Kaya Gandini
Activity: Intercultural exchange programme;
16. Date: March 2020
Location: Kaya Fungo
Activity: Tree planting;
17. Date: 24th March 2020
Location: Kaya Jibana
Activity: Transmission of knowledge to youth through a workshop, mapping of the cultural landscapes and making the traditional calendar;
18. Date: 5th April 2020
Location: Malindi
Activity: Workshop held on safeguarding culture during times of a pandemic;
19. Date: August 2020
Location: Kaya Jibana
Activity: Essay writing Competition on the Kayas by 1800 students;
20. Date: August 2020
Location: Kaya Kauma
Activity: Capacity building workshop on butterfly rearing, beekeeping, pottery and bead making;
21. Date: August, 2020
Location: Kaya Mlima Zombo
Activity: Stakeholders’ meeting to create synergy between the KFS, KWS, County administration and community forest association;
22. Date: 2020-2021
Location: Kaya Duruma
Activity: Census of the Colubus monkeys;
23. Date: February – march 2021
Location: Kaya Gandini and Mswakara
Activity: Transmission of knowledge about the Kaya traditions to 50 students;
24. Date: 4th September 2021
Location: Kaya Rabai
Activity: Capacity building workshop to create awareness in the significance of Kaya.

B.3.e. Budget expenditures

Provide the detailed amounts of the funds used for the implementation of each activity (if possible, in US dollars), identifying the funding source for each (governmental sources, in-kind community inputs, etc.).

1. Activity: Erection of temporary signage
Approximate amount used: US$ 890
Source of funding (SoF) : Kenya National Commission for UNESCO (KNATCOM)
2. Activity: Establishment of a fish pond
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 15100
SoF: Community initiative through Coastal Forests Conservancy Unit
3. Activity: Hiring of guards from the community to protect the forest
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 890
SoF: (KNATCOM)
4. Activity: Special cleansing ceremony
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 265
SoF: Institute for Culture and Ecology
5. Activity: Establishment of an overall Council of Elders
Approximate amount used: Kshs Kshs US$ 265
SoF: Action Aid through Worldwide Fund for Nature
6. Activity: Hire of guards to protect the forest
Approximate amount used: US$ 890
SoF: (KNATCOM)
7. Activity: Construction and repairing of traditional huts
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 800
SoF: Ministry of Culture
8. Activity: Students visit to learn about the Kaya traditions
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 700
SoF: Kiko net
9. Activity: Cleaning of and repairing of traditional huts
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 450
SoF: Privately sponsor
10. Activity: Tree planting
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 265
SoF: Kenya Forest Services
11. Activity: Workshop on climate friendly crops
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 450
SoF: Kilimo na Biashara
12. Activity: Cleaning and repairing of traditional huts by youth to induct them to the cultural expressions associated with the Kayas
Approximate amount used: Kshs. US$ 890
SoF: (KNATCOM)
13. Activity: Construction and repairing of traditional huts
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 300
SoF: Community initiative
14. Activity: Peace building capacity workshop and creation of awareness on the cultural benefits of the Kaya traditions
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 530
SoF: Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health
15. Activity: Intercultural exchange programme
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 530
SoF: UNDP through Small Grants Programme
16. Activity: Tree planting
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 200
SoF: Kiko net
17. Activity: Transmission of knowledge to youth through a workshop, mapping of the cultural landscapes and making the traditional calendar
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 200
SoF: UNDP through Kilio cha Haki
18. Activity: Workshop on safeguarding culture during times of a pandemic
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 13300
SoF: UNDP
19. Activity: Essay writing Competition on the Kayas by 1800 students
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 22150
SoF: UNDP
20. Activity: Capacity building workshop on butterfly rearing, beekeeping, pottery and bead making
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 225
SoF: UNDP through Small Grants Programme
21. Activity: Stakeholders’ meeting to create synergy between the KFS, KWS, County administration and community forest association
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 225
SoF: Kenya Forest Services
22. Activity: Census of the Colubus monkeys
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 22150
SoF: Kenya Wildlife Services
23. Activity: Transmission of knowledge about the Kaya traditions for 50 students
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 450
SoF: Ministry of Education
24. Activity: Workshop to create awareness in the significance of Kaya
Approximate amount used: Kshs US$ 265
SoF: Plan International Coastal Program

B.3.f. Overall effectiveness of the safeguarding activities

Provide an overall assessment of the effectiveness of the activities undertaken to achieve the expected results and of the efficiency of the use of funds for implementing the activities. Please indicate how the activities contributed to achieving the results and whether other activities could have contributed better to achieving the same results. Also indicate whether the same results could have been achieved with less funding, whether the human resources available were appropriate and whether communities, groups and individuals could have been better involved.

Cleansing and prayer ceremonies have sustained the viability of the element and provided the practitioners with a sense of identity, pride and ownership. Peace building capacity workshops have created respect and better awareness on the cultural significance of the traditions associated with the Sacred Kaya Forests. The funds from income generation activities have enable the frequency of the enactment of this element. The use of the media through radio and TV stations, billboards and printed T-shirts have enabled the dissemination of information and created better understanding on the element. The Kayas have now been opened up to members from all spheres of life, including Christian and Islamic faithful. This is in view of the fact that there was suspicion about these traditions and most of the practitioners had been branded witches to a point of endangering their lives.

Information on the element has not only been transmitted through the visits by students at the lower level up to the university level. The youth from the community have been actively involved in the cleaning activities and in the building of the traditional huts, thus gradually transmitting over these traditions to the younger generation. This will ensure the continuity of these practices for future generations. The involvement of women in the rituals and management of the Kaya through leadership positions has resulted in an increase in the number of practitioners. The synergy between the practitioners and the Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, County administration and Community Forest Association has given the practitioners easy access to the sacred site, even for gazatted forests, as the practitioners have become part of the forest management and protection.

The funding is limited and most of the leadership in various Kayas was not able to break down the budgets to indicate how the funds were used. There is need to build capacity on book keeping. Other than the funds used for the rituals and ceremonies within the Kayas, the various sponsors met the costs of the activities they undertook. In addition, the funds are not available on a regular basis and are used on a need be basis. Better results could probably be achieved if a bottom up approach was used when identifying activities to be funded by the various sponsors.
There is limited human resource, particularly for the members of the local community, hired to guard the forests. This is particularly because there are limited funds to appreciate their work and to buy them the necessary protective gear effective enough during the dry or wet seasons. In addition, the Coastal Forests Conservation Unit, which is the main link between the Kayas and other stakeholders, is limited in human resource, infrastructure, and basic working tools, including transport facilities.

These activities are adequate but are scantly implemented because of limited human resource in the above mentioned areas, coupled with limited funding to effectively implement the activities. The effectiveness of these activities were also adversely affected in the last two years by the Covid 19 pandemic regulations and restrictions.

C. Update of the safeguarding measures

C.1.

Updated safeguarding plan

Please provide an update of the safeguarding plan included in the nomination file or in the previous report. In particular provide detailed information as follows:

  1. a. What primary objective(s) will be addressed and what concrete results will be expected?
  2. b. What are the key activities to be carried out in order to achieve these expected results? Describe the activities in detail and in their best sequence, addressing their feasibility.
  3. c. How will the State(s) Party(ies) concerned support the implementation of the updated safeguarding plan?

The primary objectives addressed in the safeguarding plan are as outlined:-
I. To empower the Mijikenda communities with skills, knowledge and resources to promote viability and ensure transmission of the element;
1. Bench marking programmes to evaluate and assess what particular activities suit each Kaya given the individual uniqness and challenges faced by each. There are projects that have been initiated in some Kayas like the brick making at Kaya Duruma and the butterfly-rearing at Kaya Kauma. These will be replicated in the other Kayas given that the climatic conditions are basically the same. ;
2. Strengthening the existing projects. These projects include the bee keeping initiative. Institute for Culture and Ecology donated (goats, sheep) and hens to Kaya Fungo, Rabai and Jibana. This ensured the viability of the rituals associated with the Kaya traditions. These animals and birds were donated for breeding. Through appeal to other stakeholders, it is anticipated that the other Kayas which missed out will be offered the same to ensure sustainability of the rituals
ii. To disseminate existing information related to the Mijikenda traditions and practices to the public with a view to raising awareness.
1. Engaging Radio Kaya, Msenangu FM and other media channels to disseminate information on the Kayas.
2. Create a website on the traditions associated with the sacred Kaya forests of the Mijikenda
3. Enhance the inter and intra cultural exchange programmes;
4. Give the Kayas more visibility through nominating Kayas elders for national honours and awards;
5. Open up the Kayas for more visitors within the framework of the restrictions layed out by the traditions on respect for places that cannot be accessed for unauthorised persons.
iii. To educate the youth and other community members on the importance and significance of the traditions and practices associated with the Kaya sacred forest.
1. Open up the Kayas to students and younger persons.
2. Organize annual community festivals;
iv. To promote cooperation and networking within the communities and with stake holders.
1. Enhance inter-and intra community cultural exchange programmes;
2. Hold meetings, seminars and workshops where community representatives can exchange ideas and share common challenges with other stake holders and design a way forward.
v. To promote the management and environmental conservation of the sacred Kayas forests.
1. Recruit more community guards;
2. Procure operational resources for maintaining the forest
vi. Put in place favorable legislative and management framework to support the safeguarding measures through Create awareness on:

1. The Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Act, 2016.
2. The National Museums and Heritage Act 2006
3. The National Culture and Heritage Policy
It is anticipated that the State through the Department of Culture will work in collaboration with other stakeholders including, Kaya Elders, Civil society, Coastal Forests Conservation Unit, the Kenya Forests Services and the Kenya Wildlife Services, Ministry of Education, County Governments of Kilifi and Kwale to raise the required funds. The State will also seek for international partnership where necessary.

C.2.

Timetable for future actitivies

Provide a timetable for the updated safeguarding plan (within a time-frame of approximately four years).

Timetable for updated safeguarding plan
i. Empowering the Mijikenda communities with skills, knowledge and resources to promote viability and ensuring transmission of the element.
1. 2022 - 2023 – Income generating activities for Kaya Kambe, Ribe and Kauma
2. 2023 – 2024 –income generating activities for Kaya Chonyi, Digo, Kinondo,Duruma;
ii. Disseminating existing information related to the Mijikenda traditions and practices to the public with a view of raising awareness.
1. 2022 – Nominate at least three Kaya Elders for nomination at the National honours and awards;
2. 2022 – 2025: Continued awareness through different medium including printed messaging on T-shirts and billboards;
3. 2022 – 2025: Hold at least 5 major cultural festivals if the Covid 19 pandemic regulations and restrictions are relaxed;
4. 2024 - Establishment of a website;
iii. Educating the youth and other community members on the importance and significance of the traditions and practices associated with the Kaya sacred forest;
1. 2022 – 2025: Each Kaya to be to visited by two student groups each year;
2. 2022– 2025: Hold five major Community festivals;
iv. Promoting cooperation and networking within the communities and with stake holders
1. 2023 – 2024: One cultural cultural exchange programme;
2. 2023 – 2024: One seminar/workshop each year to evaluate the progress made and the challenges being experienced;
v. Promoting the management and environmental conservation of the sacred Kayas forests.
2021 – 2025: Recruiting of community guards and procuring equipment for forest maintenance
1. 2021 – 2023: Putting in place favorable legislative and management framework to support the safeguarding measures

C.3.

Budget for future activities

Provide the estimates of the funds required for implementing the updated safeguarding plan (if possible, in US dollars), identifying any available resources (governmental sources, in-kind community inputs, etc.).

Estimated budget
1. Empowering the Mijikenda communities with skills, knowledge and resources to promote viability and ensuring transmission of the element.
Income generating activities for Kaya Kambe, Ribe, Rabai, Fungo and Kauma at US $ 7000;
income generating activities for Kaya Chonyi, Digo, Kinondo,Duruma at US $ 5,600;
Total cost US $ 11,200.
1. Nominate at least three Kaya Elders for nomination at the National honours and awards at US $ 5,00;
2. Creation of awareness through different media including printed messaging on T-shirts and billboards at US $ 2700;
3. Hold at least 5 major cultural festivals if the covid 19 pandemic are relaxed at US $ 14,400;
I. Hire of tents and chairs;
II. Hire of a public address system;
III. Provision of lunches and refreshments;
IV. Hire of buses to transport the performing teams;
V. Distribution of ICH materials;
VI. Hire of equipment and exhibition materials;
VII. Facilitation of interpretation;
4. Establishment for a website at US $ 6,500
Total cost US $ 24,600
iv. Educate the youth and other community members on the importance and significance of the traditions and practices associated with the Kaya sacred forest.
1. Each of the 9 Kayas to be to visited by 100 students each year at US $ 2000;
I. Hire of buses;
II. Provision of lunches and refreshments;
III. Distribution of ICH materials;
IV. Token for cleansing the Kayas;
Total cost US $ 18,000.
v. Promote cooperation and networking within the communities and with stake holders.
1. One cultural cultural exchange programme at US $ 3000;
I. Provision of lunches and refreshments;
II. Purchase of stationery;
III. Fare reimbursement for 30;
IV. Hire of hall;
V. Hire of equipment;
VI. Distribution of ICH materials;
2. One seminar/workshop at US $ 6550;
I. Provision of lunches and refreshments;
II. Purchase of stationery;
III. Fare reimbursement for 30;
IV. Hire of hall;
V. Hire of equipment;
Total cost US $ 9550.
vi. Promote the management and environmental conservation of the sacred Kayas forests.
1. Purchase for protection gear @ US $ 3000
2. Procuring equipment for forest maintenance @ US $ 7000
Total cost US $ 10000
vii. Put in place favorable legislative and management framework to support the safeguarding measures.
2017 - 2018– at US $ 6000
Total cost US $ 6000

C.4.

Community participation

Please describe how communities, groups and individuals, as well as relevant non-governmental organizations have been involved, including in terms of gender roles, in updating the safeguarding plan, and how they will be involved in its implementation.

In line with article 15 of the Convention, community participation has been foregrounded in all activities that have been undertaken to safeguard the Kayas. The Kaya elders hold weekly meetings to discuss about the status of the Kayas. Each Kaya has its own day for these meetings. Besides, there are inter-community dialogues to harmonize the activities in each Kaya. These meeting have also been used as forums to strengthen the safeguarding measures and address any threats. It is during these meetings that strategies on how to safeguard the individual Kayas and how to address the challenges are discussed. They are coordinated by the Coastal Forest Conservation Unit.

Other than transmitting knowledge on the traditions associated with the sacred Kaya forests, through workshops and mapping of the cultural landscapes, the youth, have been involved in guarding the Kaya forests from illegal encroachment so that these sacred groves can remain secure for future generations. The Kayas are now not only more accessible to women and youth, but they now have slots in the leadership, management and decision making about the rituals and other activities conducted in the Kayas. Women and youth participate in the cleaning ceremony, rituals and associated dances, as a way of inducting them to the cultural expressions associated with the sacred Kaya forests. This has worked well as a strategy that enhances the viability of the element.
Workshops sponsored by institutions like Action Aid through Worldwide Fund for Nature have been held to strengthen the role of the Council of Elders as a strategic plan to enhance the safeguarding measures.

In an endeavor to strengthen the safeguarding measures, the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO, in collaboration with the Coastal Forest Conservation Unit and other stakeholders initiated a biannual programme of assessing the Kaya and rewarding them on the basis of how they have been maintained and kept active through the enactment of the element. This programme that involves cash and material rewards has proved to very effective in supporting the safeguarding measures.

There are various institutions that have supported the income generating activities including the butterfly rearing, beekeeping, pottery, brick and bead making. These institutions include UNDP and Action Aid that have funded these programmes through national NGOs. A percentage of the earnings from these activities has been channeled to activities that support the safeguarding measures. In addition, synergy between the Kenya Forest Services , Kenya Wildlife Services, the County administrative institutions and Community Forest Association have been part of the long term plans to support the safeguarding measures.

C.5.

Institutional context

Please report on the institutional context for the local management and safeguarding of the element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, including:

  1. a. the competent body(ies) involved in its management and/or safeguarding;
  2. b. the organization(s) of the community or group concerned with the element and its safeguarding.

The Department of Culture in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage is the competent body involved in the management of the element and in charge of safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Department of Culture collaborates with Coastal Forest Conservation Unit, the National Museums of Kenya, Kenya National Archives and Documentation Services, Permanent Presidential Music Commission, Centre for Heritage Development in Africa and the County Governments of Kilifi and Kwale.
At the community level, the Kaya Council of Elders, Kaya community Forest conservation groups, women groups, youth groups, traditional dance troupes, National Traditional Herbalists Practitioners Association (NATHEPA) Coast branch, and the local administration are involved in the safeguarding of the element.

D. Participation of communities in preparing this report

Describe the measures taken to ensure the widest possible participation of the communities, groups and, where applicable, individuals concerned as well as relevant non-governmental organizations during the process of preparing this report.

Within the framework of Article 15 of the Convention and Article 157 of the Operational Directives, the Department of Culture organized a series of consultative meetings with representatives from the Chonyi, Duruma, Digo, Giriama, Jibana, Kambe, Kauma, Rabai and Ribe who form the nine major Mijikenda communities. Members of the community were involved in the preparation of this report in the widest manner possible. They included the Council of Elders, women and youth representatives and for some cases individuals who have been involved in safeguarding activities were also involved. In addition, relevant stakeholders including the National Museums of Kenya through the Coastal Forest Conservation Unit, the Centre for Heritage Development in Africa, Kaya Conservation Groups, the Department of Forestry, County administration and other stakeholders participated broadly in the preparation of this report. The final meeting to validate and adopt on 24th November 2021 in Kilifi County.
In the process of preparing this report, due respect for customary practices governing access to the element or aspects were adhered to.

E. Signature on behalf of the State Party

The report should be signed by an official empowered to do so on behalf of the State, and should include his or her name, title and the date of submission.

Name

Dr. Kiprop Lagat

Title

Director of Culture

Date

09-12-2021

Signature

Upload signed version in PDF


Periodic Report (USL)

A. Cover sheet

A.1.

State Party

Name of State Party

Kenya

A.2.

Date of deposit of the instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession

This information is available online.

2007-10-24

A.3.

Element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List that is the subject of this report

Name of element

Traditions and practices associated with the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda

Inscribed in

2009

A.4.

Reporting period covered by this report

Please indicate the period covered by this report.

15-12-2013 - 15-12-2017

A.5.

Other elements inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, if any

Please list all other elements from your country inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, together with the year of inscription; for multinational elements, please indicate the other States concerned.

Enkipaata, Eunoto and Olng'esherr, three male rites of passage of the Maasai community (2018)

A.6.

Executive summary of the report

Please provide an executive summary of the report that will allow general readers to understand the current status of the element, any positive or negative impacts of inscription, the implementation of safeguarding measures during the reporting period and their possible update for the following years.

Kayas are fortified settlements inhabited by Mijikenda communities. The Mijikenda comprises nine (9) distinct Bantu groups who speak closely-related languages. They include the Chonyi, Duruma, Digo, Giriama, Jibana, Kambe, Kauma, Rabai and Ribe. Due to pressure on land resources, urbanization and social transformation, these communities at some point began moving away from the Kayas (sacred forests) while abandoning the traditions and cultural practices associated with the Kayas in favour of informal urban settlements. This was at the expense of the traditional social structures that have bound them to their cultural and social identity, in harmony with the natural environment for a long time. The ‘Traditions and practices associated with the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda’ were inscribed on 1st October, 2009 on UNESCO's List for Urgent Safeguarding.
Since inscription, the constant enactment of the traditions and cultural practices associated with the Kayas has strengthened the viability of this element. The element continues to play an important role, inter alia, as a symbol of identity, continuity and ultimate survival of the Mijikenda communities. Most practices associated with the Kayas have been embraced by a larger number of the members of the community today.
Among the safeguarding measures that have contributed to this success are; the revitalization of certain rituals using part of the income generated from the projects initiated; education of the youth on the importance of Mijikenda traditions and practices related to the Kayas; organization of community festivals and the inter-and intra-community cultural exchange programmes.
In addition, the council of elders has continued to play a significant role in the activities related to the safeguarding of these traditional practices. These roles include; management of the conservation of Kaya forests and maintenance and strengthening of the councils by bringing on board new and younger members. These councils and other groups have worked very closely with the county administrative structures and local authorities to stop the destructive activities occurring within the Kaya forests. The establishment of community guards who have been working with the youth vigilante groups have acted as whistle blowers when the forests have been invaded. The economic gains so far made from the projects initiated have enhanced the spirit of ownership amongst the community members and the safeguarding measures.
The safeguarding measures put in place have empowered the Mijikenda communities and ensured viability and transmission of the element. The element is now more visibile through programmes such as increased school visits. With the involvement of the Mijikenda communities, the Department of Culture with the help of other key partners has updated the inventory and documentation related to the element.
A benchmarking programme has been initiated among the Kayas within Mijikenda communities. This programme is intended to reward the best preforming Kayas with regard to enactment of the traditional practices and rituals and the best conserved Kayas in relation to environmental conservation and regeneration.

A.7.

Contact person for correspondence

Provide the name, address and other contact information of the person responsible for correspondence concerning the report.

Title (Ms/Mr, etc.)

Mr

Family name

Kiprop

Given name

Lagat

Institution/position

Director of Culture Department of Culture Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts

Address

P.O. Box 67374-00200
Nairobi

Telephone number

+254-020 2727980-4; +254 722 853 504 (mobile

E-mail address

roplagat@yahoo.com

Other relevant information


B. Status of element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List

Refer to the nomination file or to previous reports, if any, as the basis for reporting on the current status of the element, and report only on relevant changes since the date of inscription on the List or since the previous report. Nomination files, specific timetables and earlier reports, if any, are available at https://ich.unesco.org or from the Secretariat, upon request.

The State Party shall pay special attention to the role of gender and shall endeavour to ensure the widest possible participation of the communities, groups and, where applicable, individuals concerned as well as relevant non-governmental organizations during the process of preparing this report, and is asked to describe how it has done so in point D below.

B.1.

Social and cultural functions

Please explain the social and cultural functions and meanings of the element today, within and for its community, the characteristics of the bearers and practitioners, and any specific roles or categories of persons with special responsibilities towards the element, among others. Attention should be given to any relevant changes related to inscription criterion U.1 (‘the element constitutes intangible cultural heritage as defined in Article 2 of the Convention’).

The Kayas remain a valued cultural heritage of the Mijikenda communities. These forests are venues for many cultural and social events. They continue to play a significant role within the framework of the traditions and cultural practices associated with the Mijikenda of the coastal region. These roles are reflected in the traditional legal systems associated with the Kayas, beliefs, rituals, kinship ceremonies and other cultural practices that continue to promote peaceful coexistence among the members of the community. The practices have protected the Mijikenda communities and guarantee them harmonious co-existence with nature and the entire ecosystem. These traditions and cultural practices have reinforced the community’s sense of identity and continuity through passing on knowledge, cultural and social values.
The Kambi ((Council of Elders) the highest social and political organ in the community has stood out in its role as a traditional institution that oversees the management of the Kaya forests and the day to day traditional and spiritual activities of the community. The Kambi is the custodian of the intangible cultural heritage of the Mijikenda. The Council of Elders has stood out as a strong pillar in advocating for sustainable peaceful coexistence. This was exemplified by their role in advocating for peace in the just ended general elections in the country. The inscription of the Kayas on the UNESCO List for Urgent Safeguarding and the safeguarding measures put in place have not only given the element visibility and viability, but has also strengthened the role of the Kayas within the Mijikenda communities and beyond.
The Kayas have regenerated as significant spiritual spaces for religious ceremonies and other rituals by the community. They are sites of ancestral burials and places where community members communicate with their ancestors. These groves are viewed as sacred trees housing spirits and providing links to the ancestors. The forest products are used for making masks used in rituals and ceremonies; they represent the spirits of the forests and ancestors (who reside in forests) and thus express and evoke cultural links to the past.
Many leaders from the Mijikenda communities and even beyond have visited the Kayas seeking for blessings from the Kaya elders. These cultural spaces are site for ritual healings and an important resources for medicinal plants and home to other biodiversity. Other traditional rituals and religious ceremonies still practiced within these cultural spaces include the kuhasa koma (praying) to invoke peace with God, the living dead and nature, burial of dead community members within the Kayas and oath taking (kurya chiraho) aimed at instilling the virtues of truthfulness and justice amongst community members.

B.2.

Assessment of its viability and current risks

Please describe the current level of viability of the element, particularly the frequency and extent of its practice, the strength of traditional modes of transmission, the demographics of practitioners and audiences and its sustainability. Please also identify and describe the threats, if any, to the element's continued transmission and enactment and describe the severity and immediacy of such threats, giving particular attention to any strengthening or weakening of the element’s viability subsequent to inscription.

The traditions and cultural practices associated with the Kayas are now more viable and constitute an important basis for the identity and ultimate survival of the Mijikenda communities. This visibility has been strengthened by the inscription of the element into the Urgent Safeguarding List, and its transmission from the older to the younger generation is now gradually being embraced. The traditions and cultural practices associated with this element have continued to grow among the Mijikenda communities and are now pivotal to the sustainable development of the community. These sacred groves are site for a myriad of rituals and other traditional practices. They are a locale where social and political values, morals, secrets, and laws are passed on to the younger generation. The Kayas are still important to the Mijikenda because of their religious significance and house important ritual relics. They are still sites of ancestral burials and places where the community goes to communicate with their ancestors.
The traditions and cultural practices associated with the Kayas have now taken on a more central role in upholding a cohesive social order that has ensured sustainable internal peace and an inclusive harmonious life amongst the community members. The practices are central to the identity of the Mijikenda communities.
The significant role played by the council of elders in overseeing a transparent governance system cannot be understated. This council has consolidated itself as an instrumental institution in conflict resolution and decision making within the community.
More people from within the Mijikenda communities and beyond have now began appreciating the important role of the cultural practices and spiritual spaces associated with the Kayas through creation of awareness campaigns on the importance of these practices. The younger generation from the communities has gradually developed greater interest in these traditional practices and is now more eager to be admitted to the elder’s councils.
The Kaya forests continue to be venues for many cultural practices. Some members of the community now live within the Kayas, volunteering to maintain and protect them.

B.3.

Implementation of safeguarding measures

Please report on the safeguarding measures described in the nomination file, and previous report, if any. Describe how they have been implemented and how they have substantially contributed to the safeguarding of the element during the reporting period, taking note of external or internal constraints such as limited resources. Include, in particular, information on the measures taken to ensure the viability of the element by enabling the community to continue to practise and transmit it. Include the following detailed information concerning the implementation of the set of safeguarding measures or safeguarding plan:

B.3.a. Objectives and results

Indicate what primary objective(s) were addressed and what concrete results were attained during the reporting period.

The overall objective of the project was to conserve and enhance the unique cultural and natural heritage of the Kaya forests as well as increase the incomes of the Mijikenda community and empower them in order to ensure viability and transmission of the traditions and practices associated with the Kayas of the sacred forests of the Mijikenda.

The primary objectives addressed in the safeguarding plan are as follows:-

i.To empower the Mijikenda communities with skills, knowledge and resources to promote viability and ensuring transmission of the element.
ii.To disseminate existing information related to the Mijikenda traditions and practices to the public with a view of raising awareness.
iii.To educate the youth and other community members on the importance and significance of the traditions and practices associated with the Kaya sacred forest.
iv.To promote cooperation and networking amongst communities.
v.To promote the management and environmental conservation of the sacred Kayas of the
Mijikenda.
vi. To put in place favorable legislative and management framework in support of the safeguarding measures.

B.3.b. Safeguarding activities

List the key activities that were carried out during this reporting period in order to achieve these expected results. Please describe the activities in detail and note their effectiveness or any problems encountered in implementing them.

The safeguarding activities implemented in the period 2014 – 2017 include:
1. Kaya forests site restoration and enrichment:
The maintenance of tree nurseries has been a continuous activity. These tree nurseries have been established to ensure an adequate supply of seedlings for reforestation and site enrichment. The seedlings have also been available for sale. The income earned has supported cultural practices and the conservation programmes in the Kayas. At Kaya Chonyi, Gandini, Kinondo, Kauma and Rabai, over sixty thousand (60000) seedlings were raised. Three thousand (3000) seedlings were planted at Kaya Chonyi, four thousand (4000) at Kaya Rabai Mudzimwiru and one thousand (1000) seedlings were planted at Kaya Ribe. These activities were intended to enhance the aesthetic and environmental values of the Kaya forests.
2. Recreation and enactment of kaya traditional ritual ceremonies:
Major cultural prayer ceremonies were held at Kayas Kauma, Ribe, Kambe, Fungo Giriama, Rabai Mudzimwiru and Mudzimuvya, Gandini, Mutswakara, Kinondo and kaya Jibana. These ceremonies were meant to invoke spiritual intervention from the ancestors following the extended drought and to quell the volatile environment during the just concluded general elections.
3. Enhancing intergenerational linkages, knowledge transmission and learning between the elders and youth:
Students from schools around Kaya Kauma, Tsolokero and Rabai visited the Kayas and spent time with the elders discussing about the activities that take place in the Kayas. The students were enlightened on how these activities support the safeguarding of the Mijikenda cultural and natural heritage. In addition, a few youth were admitted into the Kaya Councils of Elders at the junior level and continue to undertake the apprenticeship programme. Six (6) are from Rabai, three (3) from Kauma, four (4) from Ribe, two (2) from Jibana, six (6) from Fungo, six (6) Duruma, three (3) Kinondo and two (2) from Kambe. The number of women in the kaya committees has also increased. The new entrants are as follows: six (6) Kaya Chonyi, fifteen (15) Kaya Rabai, three (3) kaya Ribe, two (2) kaya Fungo, two (2) kaya Kinondo and eight (8) kaya Duruma.
4. Cultural festivals:
An intercultural festival for the nine (9) Mijikenda sub-communities was held at kaya Kambe. The event was attended by members of community, the general public and high profile dignitaries.
5. Educational awareness for youth and general public:
Talks were given in twelve (12) primary schools neighbouring kaya Kauma, Tsolokero, Rabai and Fungo on the value and role of the Kayas in the protection of the cultural and natural heritage of the Mijikenda community. An essay writing competition was held for the school children and prizes were given to the students who excelled.
6. Regeneration of cultural sites:
Cultural structures, artefacts and cultural spaces in a number of Kayas were rehabilitated. Cultural huts were rebuilt on some sites. On other sites, the entrances and pathways were cleared off vegetation and sacred alters were cleaned. At Kaya Kauma, vigangos and koma (memorial grave posts) were reinstalled.
7. Competition to reward the Kayas that best ensured the viability of the element:
This activity that was supported by the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO involved a six month evaluation of the Kayas with regard to enactment of the traditions and practices associated with the Kayas and the conservation activities taking place in each kaya. The Kayas that excelled in these two categories were rewarded with cash prizes and materials to enhance the enactment and conservation programmes.
8. Income generating activities:
Beekeeping and nursery establishment suffered a setback because of the extended drought between 2015 and 2016. Since the rains are now consistent, it is anticipated that this will enhance honey production and tree planting activities in the Kayas.
9. Kaya Visits:
The Kayas continued to play host to local, regional and international visitors. Access to certain sacred sites is still restricted. The cash tokens offered for cleansing the sites after the visits and for elders’ appreciation tokens support the committees to buy requirements for the rituals.
10. Conservation and conflict resolution programmes:
Capacity building workshops and meetings were held with the Council of Elders, community representatives, and a diversity of stakeholders to lay strategies for conservation activities. Among the stakeholders involved were; Kenya Forest Service, Nature Kenya, National Museums of Kenya, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, World Wide Fund (WWF), Kenya and County Governments of Kilifi and Kwale. Conservation activities included site protection measures and patrols by community guards and other state agencies.
With regard to conflict resolution, several meetings were held to create awareness on the need to respect and protect the elderly members of the community against accusation and abuse by some youth over allegations of witchcraft. These meetings achieved the intended goals.
11. Publicity:
The Kaya forests and the traditions and practices associated therewith have been a centre of focus for different print and electronic media at national and international levels. This has helped to create awareness on the significance of this element nationally and globally. Creation of awareness has also been through production of posters on the Kayas. It is a continuous process.

B.3.c. Participation of communities, groups or individuals in the safeguarding activities

Describe how communities, groups or, if appropriate, individuals as well as relevant non-governmental organizations have effectively participated, including in terms of gender roles, in the safeguarding measures. Describe the role of the implementing organization or body (name, background, etc.) and the human resources that were available for implementing safeguarding activities.

Participation of community, groups and individuals in the safeguarding activities:
The Department of Culture has made efforts to create suitable conditions for meaningful community participation in the management of this heritage. The Kaya Project Committees have been holding constant consultative meetings to identify challenges and possible solutions to the safeguarding measures currently adopted. Besides, these meetings have been instrumental as a strategy to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the safeguarding measures in place and also assess the success of the income generating projects, as well as look into the possibilities of initiating newer projects. These meetings have served as important forums for identification of elements to be inventoried. They have also been used as an opportunity where the elders from the different Kayas exchange ideas on how best to safeguard the traditions and practices of the Mijikenda.
Kaya elders have been giving talks and conducting visitors and students into the Kayas. Occasionally, during these visits, traditional dance troupes are given an opportunity to perform some of the dances associated with this element.
Community representatives have participated in capacity building workshops. The Department of Culture and other stakeholders including the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO and the National Museums of Kenya have been holding frequent workshops and meetings with representatives of the Mijikenda communities. These workshops focused on how to involve the community in the identification, documentation, preservation, protection, promotion, transmission, and revitalization of the various aspects of this element as defined in Article 2, paragraph 3 of the Convention.
Kaya elders and community representatives participated in the filming, recording and photographing the traditions associated with this element. Other stakeholders involved in this activity were the National Museums of Kenya Coastal Forests Conservation Unit, the Department of Culture, Permanent Presidential Music Commission, school students and teachers.

The Department of Culture is the lead competent body for the implementation of the safeguarding measures. The department plays a coordinating role by identifying experts where necessary to support the safeguarding measures. The department has also coordinated the contribution from other relevant state agencies such as the Permanent Presidential Music Commission, National Museums of Kenya and Coastal Forest Conservation Unit that are key to the safeguarding programmes as they have the technical expertise and the human resource capacity required for the implementation of the safeguarding measures. Sometimes the department has financially augmented the funding of the activities that support the safeguarding measures.

B.3.d. Timetable and budget

Indicate in a timetable when each activity was implemented and the funds that were used for its implementation, identifying the source of funding for each (governmental sources, in-kind community inputs, etc.).

28 and 29th January 2014
Visit by 70 students to Kayas Giriama and Kinondo.
I. Hire of buses;
II. Provision of lunches and refreshments;
III. Distribution of ICH materials;
IV. Token for cleansing the Kayas;
Source of funds: The activities cost Kshs 103,612 from UNESCO with Kshs.77,200 being the contribution of the Government of Kenya.

24th April 2015
Community intercultural festival at Kaya Fungo Giriama. The festival involved participants from Kaya Digo, Chonyi and Giriama communities.
I. Hire of tents and chairs;
II. Hire of a public address system;
III. Provision of lunches and refreshments;
IV. Hire of buses to transport the performing teams;
V. Distribution of ICH materials;
VI. Hire of equipment and exhibition materials;
VII. Facilitation of interpretation;
Source of funds: The activities cost Kshs 765,654 from UNESCO with Kshs. 577,200 being the contribution of the Government of Kenya.
25th - 26th April 2016
Intercommunity cultural exchange visits between elders from Kaya Kinondo, Giriama and Chonyi.
I. Provision of lunches and refreshments;
II. Purchase of stationery;
III. Fare reimbursement for 30;
IV. Hire of hall;
V. Hire of equipment;
VI. Distribution of ICH materials;
VII. Recording, photography and filming of elements;
Source of funds: The activities cost Kshs 144,600 from UNESCO and Kshs. 100,000 being the contribution of the Government of Kenya.
18th - 21st December 2016
Community training workshop on monitoring and evaluation ICH income generating projects for kayas Kambe, Jibana and Ribe.
i. Hire of hall;
ii. Hire of equipment;
iii. Purchase of stationery;
iv. Monitoring and evaluation of income-generating activities of beekeeping;
Source of funds: The activities cost Kshs 985,962 from UNESCO and Kshs. 210,350 being the contribution of the Government of Kenya.

10th - 11th May 2017
Workshop with representatives from the nine Kayas on inventorying and consolidating information on the status of the Kayas for the quadrennial report 2014 - 2017.
I. Provision of lunches and refreshments;
II. Purchase of stationery;
III. Fare reimbursement for 30;
IV. Hire of hall;
V. Hire of equipment;
VI. Distribution of ICH materials;
Source of funds: The activities cost Kshs 1,265,654 from UNESCO and Kshs. 677,200 being the contribution of the Government of Kenya.

12th - 15th June 2017
Tree planting at Kaya Chonyi
Cultural festival at Kaya Kambe to reward the best conserved Kaya forest.
Source of funds: The activities cost Kshs 1,780,500 from Kenya National Commission for UNESCO.

B.3.e. Overall effectiveness of the safeguarding activities

Provide an overall assessment of the effectiveness of the activities undertaken to achieve the expected results and of the efficiency of the use of funds for implementing the activities. Please indicate how the activities contributed to achieving the results and whether other activities could have contributed better to achieving the same results. Also indicate whether the same results could have been achieved with less funding, whether the human resources available were appropriate and whether communities, groups and individuals could have been better involved.

The safeguarding measures that have so far been put in place have generally ensured the viability of the element. The evaluation and monitoring programmes were important as they enabled the identification of challenges and corrective measures to be put in place to improve the currently safeguarding measures.
School visits provided an effective forum for greater appreciation and understanding of the significance of the Kayas by the younger generation. It was also an opportunity to transmit traditional knowledge from the older to the younger generation. These visits also guaranteed the viability of the element and appropriately captured the spirit and intends of Article 14 (I –IV) of the Convention where planned educational programmes are meant to raising awareness and transmit information to the younger generation on the ICH of the Kayas.
The Kayas continue to play an important role as significant cultural sacred sites, not just for their cultural and aesthetic value but also for the contribution they make to the conservation of the environment and the biodiversity.
In line with Article 2(3) of the Convention and Article 1.13(42) of the operational objectives, the video recordings and films were very effective. A permanent record of the activities that take place in the Kayas is now available as learning material and for future reference.
Community training workshops on safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and income generating initiatives (bee-keeping) for Kayas Kambe, Jibana and Ribe has enhanced the frequency of enactment of the rituals and other practices. These achievements have given the community a greater sense of identity and ownership of their heritage. In addition, they have strengthened the involvement of the community in the safeguarding activities through the different roles each member has played when these activities have been undertaken .
The programmes have been slowed down because of limited funds. The communities have nevertheless received some support from NGOs, Government agencies, the Civil Society Groups and other partners to keep the practices associated with the Kaya forests viable. There is no doubt that there is need for enhanced funding to ensure viability of the element.
Overall, the traditions and practices associated with the sacred forests of the Mijikenda have survived internal and external challenges to continue being viable as sacred cultural spaces and exemplary models for the conservation of the biodiversity. Moreover the safeguarding measures put in place, in particular, the constant enactment of the element through different cultural rituals and practices has realized increased involvement and participation of the communities. There has too been increased local and international interest in the Kayas.

C. Update of the safeguarding measures

C.1.

Updated safeguarding plan

Please provide an update of the safeguarding plan included in the nomination file or in the previous report. In particular provide detailed information as follows:

  1. a. What primary objective(s) will be addressed and what concrete results will be expected?
  2. b. What are the key activities to be carried out in order to achieve these expected results? Describe the activities in detail and in their best sequence, addressing their feasibility.
  3. c. How will the State(s) Party(ies) concerned support the implementation of the updated safeguarding plan?

The primary objectives addressed in the safeguarding plan are as outlined:-
i.To empower the Mijikenda communities with skills, knowledge and resources to promote viability and ensuring transmission of the element.
Expected results
One more income generating activity implemented for each Mijikenda community and those already initiated strengthened.
Activities
1. Design an income generating activity taking into account the specificities of each Mijikenda community. Two or three communities will be targed per year;
2. Organise rituals using a part of the income generated.
State support for the updated safeguarding plan.
The Kaya Council of Elders will coordinate the identification of the income generating activity and be responsible for the organisation of the rituals. The State through the Department of Culture will coordinate and facilitate the workshops to induct the communities on their role with regard to this objective.
Estimated budget and timeframe
2018 _ 2019 – Three income generating activity at US $ 5825;
2019 – 2020 – Three income generating activity at US $ 5825;
2020 – 2021 – Three income generating activity at US $ 5825;
Total cost US $ 17475.
It is anticipated that the Department of Culture will seek partnership to meet some of the costs.

ii.To disseminate existing information related to the Mijikenda traditions and practices to the public with a view of raising awareness.
Expected results:
1. Existing information from past fieldwork and research compiled.
2. Information integrated in the national inventory of Kenya on the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
3. Information disseminated to the public through media campaigns at least twice every year.
4. Public awareness raised on the Mijikenda traditions and practices associated through the production and dissemination of brochures.
Activities
1. Cultural festivals to be held to promote the Mijikenda traditions and practices to a wider audience;
2. Cultural exchange programme through representatives from one Kaya visiting the other Kayas;
3. Visits to Kayas by young people.
State support for the updated safeguarding plan
The State through the Department of Culture will be responsible for the designing and the implementation of this component, in close collaboration with the Kaya Councils of Elders and the County Governments of Kilifi and Kwale. The department will endeavour to incorporate other partners to support this objective.
Estimated budget and timeframe
2018 _ 2019 – Two cultural festivals at US $ 2427;
2019 – 2020 – Two cultural festivals at US $ 2427;
2020 – 2021 – Two cultural festivals at US $ 2427;
Total cost US $ 14563
It is anticipated that these events will be organised in collaboration with other stakeholders who could meet some of the costs.

iii.To educate the youth and other community members on the importance and significance of the traditions and practices associated with the Kaya sacred forest.
Expected results
1. Young people acquinted with traditional practices, rituals and knowledge associated with Mijikenda Kayas;
2. Community festivals held showcasing traditional practices, rituals and knowledge on the Kayas;
Activities
1. Visits to Kayas by young people;
2. Organize annual community festivals;
State support for the updated safeguarding plan
This objective will be achieve through support from the County Governments of Kilifi and Kwale, the Kaya Council of Elders, Department of Culture, schools and Mijikenda communities.
Estimated budget and timeframe
2018 - 2019 – Three student groups to visits three Kayas at US $ 485;
2019 – 2020 – Three student groups to visits three Kayas at US $ 485;
2020 – 2021 – Three student groups to visits three Kayas at US $ 485;
2020 – 2022 - Three student groups to visits three Kayas at US $ 485;
Total cost US $ 1940.
The festivals have already been captured in the previous objective. This costs will cater for the cleansing of the Kayas in line with the rituals associated with this practice.

iv.To promote cooperation and networking amongst communities.
Expected results
1. Inter-community relations strengthened;
2. Common challenges facing the communities in terms of safeguarding their traditions solved;
3. Best practices from one Kayas will strengthen the safeguarding of the other Kayas facing challeges.
Activities
1. Organize inter-and intra community cultural exchange programmes;
2. Organize meetings, seminars and workshops where community representatives can exchange ideas and share common challenges and design a way forward.
State support for the updated safeguarding plan
These activities will be coordinated and facilitated by the Department of Culture in collaboration with other stakeholders. The Kaya Councils of Elders will implement the programme.
Estimated budget and timeframe
2018 - 2019 – One cultural cultural exchange programme at US $ 3000;
2019 – 2020 – One seminar/workshop at US $ 6550;
2020 – 2021 – One cultural cultural exchange programme at US $ 3000;
2021 – 2022 – One seminar/workshop at US $ 6550;
Total cost US $ 19100.

v.To promote the management and environmental conservation of the sacred Kayas forests.
Expected results
1. Enhanced conservation of the Kaya forests;
2. Increased income to the communities through bee- keeping and eco- tourism.
Activities
1. Recruitment of community guards;
2. Procure operational resources for conservation;
3. Initiate other income generating activities and strengthen the existing ones such as bee- keeping and eco- tourism.
State support for the updated safeguarding plan
These activities will be coordinated and facilitated by the Department of Culture in collaboration with other stakeholders and implemented by the Kaya Council of Elders.
Estimated budget and timeframe
2018 - 20122– This is a continuous process at US $ 10000
Total cost US $ 10000

vi.To put in place favorable legislative and management framework in support of the safeguarding measures.
Expected results
Conducive legislative framework in place.
Acitvities
Implement the provisions in ‘the Protection Of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Act, 2016 and the Culture Bill.
State support for the updated safeguarding plan
This activity will be coordinated by the Department of Culture in collaboration with the communities, Kaya Council of Elders, Civil societies and other stakeholders.
Estimated budget and timeframe
2017 - 2018– at US $ 6000
Total cost US $ 6000

C.2.

Community participation

Please describe how communities, groups and individuals, as well as relevant non-governmental organizations have been involved, including in terms of gender roles, in updating the safeguarding plan, and how they will be involved in its implementation.

In line with article 15 of the Convention, community participation has been foregrounded in all activities that have been undertaken to safeguard the Kayas. The council of elders has been in charge of the strategic management of the Kayas and the day to day activities that are integral to the safeguarding measures. These elders have continuously passed on knowledge and skills relating to the enactment of the traditions and practices of the Mijikenda to the youth. The youth have been involved in guarding the Kaya forests from invasion. The youth have also been instrumental in the inventorying and documenting information on the element. Women too have been involved in the safeguarding programmes. Other than participating in the rituals associated with the Kayas, they have been incorporated in the council of elders and are involved in cleaning and guiding visitors around the Kayas. Participation by the different groups has enhanced their sense of ownership and boosted the safeguarding measures.
There is meaningful participation of communities in the management of the Kayas. There are consultation with community representatives and the different groups. Whenever decisions have to be made, the consent of community leaders and representatives of the different groups is sort. This has resulted in a shared decision-making approach in formulating strategies for safeguarding this element.
The Department of Culture has strategically collaborated and engaged with the relevant actors in coordinating the safeguarding activities. Towards this end, institutions like the Kaya community conservation groups have been involved in tree replanting programmes, especially in those Kayas which had been depleted of trees. Other support actors include National Museums of Kenya and the Coastal Forest Conservation Unit. The Centre for Heritage Development in Africa has been working with the Mijikenda communities through capacity-building programmes to enhance the participation of communities in the safeguarding measures.
Community cultural festivals have been significant in embracing community participation in the safeguarding measures. These festivals have been an important platform for creating awareness on the importance and need to safeguard the Kayas and the associated traditions. In addition, they have been suitable forums where knowledge and skills are transmitted from the older to the younger generation. The community is responsible for the organization of these events.
Other than strengthening the current safeguarding measures, it is envisaged that more partners will be brought on board to support the safeguarding activities. These partners will include those who can offer technical support with regard to the conservation of the Kaya forests and those who can offer financial support to bolster the safeguarding measures already in place.

C.3.

Institutional context

Please report on the institutional context for the local management and safeguarding of the element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, including:

  1. a. the competent body(ies) involved in its management and/or safeguarding;
  2. b. the organization(s) of the community or group concerned with the element and its safeguarding.

The Department of Culture in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts is the competent body involved in the management of the element and in charge of safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Department of Culture collaborates with Coastal Forest Conservation Unit, the National Museums of Kenya, Kenya National Archives and Documentation Services, Permanent Presidential Music Commission, Centre for Heritage Development in Africa and the County Governments of Kilifi and Kwale.
At the community level, the Kaya Council of Elders, Kaya community conservation groups, women groups, youth groups, traditional dance troupes, National Traditional Herbalists Practitioners Association (NATHEPA) Coast branch, and the local administration are involved in the safeguarding of the element.

D. Participation of communities in preparing this report

Describe the measures taken to ensure the widest possible participation of the communities, groups and, where applicable, individuals concerned as well as relevant non-governmental organizations during the process of preparing this report.

Within the framework of Article 15 of the Convention and Article 157 of the Operational Directives, the Department of Culture organized a series of consultative meetings with representatives from the Chonyi, Duruma, Digo, Giriama, Jibana, Kambe, Kauma, Rabai and Ribe who form the nine Mijikenda communities. Members of the community were involved the preparation of this report in the widest manner possible. They included the Council of Elders, women and youth representatives and for some cases individuals who have been involved in safeguarding activities were also involved. In addition, relevant stakeholders including the National Museums of Kenya, the Coastal Forest Conservation Unit, the Centre for Heritage Development in Africa, Kaya Conservation Groups, the Department of Forestry, County administration and other stakeholders participated broadly in the preparation of this report. The final consultative meetings were held from 8th to 9th May 2017 in Kilifi County. The caucus shared ideas, and gathered information with the intention of preparing this report.
In the process of preparing this report, due respect for customary practices governing access to the element or aspects were adhered to.

E. Signature on behalf of the State Party

The report should be signed by an official empowered to do so on behalf of the State, and should include his or her name, title and the date of submission.

Name

Kiprop Lagat

Title

Dr.

Date

14-12-2017

Signature

Upload signed version in PDF


Periodic Report (USL)

Cover sheet

State Party

Name of State Party

Kenya

Date of deposit of the instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession

This information is available online.

24-10-2007

Element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List that is the subject of this report

Name of element

Traditions and practices associated to the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda

Inscribed in

01-10-2009

Reporting period covered by this report

Please indicate the period covered by this report.

01-10-2009 - 11-12-2013

Other elements inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, if any

Please list all other elements from your country inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, together with the year of inscription; for multinational elements, please indicate the other States concerned.

Enkipaata, Eunoto and Olng'esherr, three male rites of passage of the Maasai community (2018)
Enkipaata, Eunoto and Olng'esherr: three male rites of passage of the Maasai community (2013)
Enkipaata, Eunoto and Olngesherr: three male rites of passage of the Maasai community (2011)
Indigenous knowledge of wood carving (backlog)
Isukuti dance of Isukha and Idakho communities of western Kenya (2012)
Isukuti dance of Isukha and Idakho communities of Western Kenya (2014)
Rituals and practices associated with Kit Mikayi Shrine (2016)
Traditions and practices associated with the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda (2009)

Executive summary of the report

Please provide an executive summary of the report that will allow general readers to understand the current status of the element, any positive or negative impacts of inscription, the implementation of safeguarding measures during the reporting period and their possible update for the following years.

The ‘Traditions and practices associated to the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda’ were inscribed on 1st October, 2009. The Mijikenda are the dorminant ethnic community in the coastal region of Kenya that nurtures the relations with the Kaya forests. They are nine (9) distinct Bantu groups who speak closely-related languages. They include the Chonyi, Duruma, Digo, Giriama, Jibana, Kambe, Kauma, Rabai and Ribe.
Kayas are forested settlements of spiritual and cultural significance to the Mijikenda community whose spaces are indispensable for the enactment of living traditions that underscore their identity, continuity and cohesion. Their identity is expressed through oral traditions and performing arts related to the sacred forests, which are also sources of valuable medicinal plants. These traditions and practices constitute their codes of ethics and governance systems, and include prayers, oath-taking, burial rites and charms, naming of the newly born, initiations, reconciliations, marriages and coronations. The values attached to them and the use of natural resources within the Kayas are regulated by traditional knowledge and practices that have helped in the protection of the Kaya forests and the biodiversity to the present day.
Between 2011 and 2013, the Department of Culture in partnership with National Museums of Kenya (NMK), Coastal Forest Conservation Unit (CFCU), Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Centre for Heritage Development in Africa (CHDA), local administrators and Kaya Communities undertook activities on the implementation of the Kaya project with the objective of safeguarding the ‘Traditions and practices associated to the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda’.
The traditions and cultural practices associated to the Kayas are still viable and constitute an important basis for their identity and ultimate survival of the Mijikenda communities. Most practices associated with the Kayas are practiced today and indeed continue to influence the conduct of the populace regularly.
The Kaya project was scheduled to be undertaken in three consecutive parts. Part I activies included, a three-days’ training workshop for fifteen Kaya representatives from Kayas Rabai, Kauma and Duruma on project design and management. Income generating activities were also initiated for the same three Kaya communities. Part II activities incorporated a follow up on progress of the income-generating projects started for communities living adjacent to the three Kaya forests as well as documentation, photography and filming of Kaya traditions. Two field visits of young people to the Kayas were organized to arouse their interest and promote inter-generation knowledge transmission and participation in conservation of the cultural heritage. Thereafter, project brochures were produced and Newspaper supplements on the ICH of the Mijikenda were also prepared for wider dissemination. In Part III of the project, activities undertaken included organized intra and Inter-Community Cultural exchange programmes as well as community Cultural Festival.
Despite the fact that the element is still viable, there are risks associated with it. Many of the Kaya elders are aging without corresponding replacement by young and energetic elders for continued transmission of the element. Encroachment into the Kaya spaces by land grabbers also poses a risk to the enactment of the element wheras over-exposure and increased flow of tourist/foreign visitors to the Kayas threatens its safeguarding and tend to undermine customary practices governing access to the element.
The inscription of the element has a positive impact on strengthening the safeguarding of the traditions and practices associated to the sacred forests of the Mijikenda and its conservation. Although the income-generating projects are experiencing environmental challenges especially during the dry season, the elders, however, are optimistic that success is on their way.

Contact person for correspondence

Provide the name, address and other contact information of the person responsible for correspondence concerning the report.

Title (Ms/Mr, etc.)

Mr

Family name

Kanyenze

Given name

Robinson M.

Institution/position

Department of Culture/Ag. Director of Culture

Address

P.O. Box 67374-00200, Nairobi, Kenya

Telephone number

+254 020 2727980-4

Fax number

+254 020 2725329

E-mail address

robbykanyenze@gmail.com

Other relevant information

Cell: +254 721 571 646

B. Status of element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List

Refer to the nomination file or to previous reports, if any, as the basis for reporting on the current status of the element, and report only on relevant changes since the date of inscription on the List or since the previous report. Nomination files, specific timetables and earlier reports, if any, are available at https://ich.unesco.org or from the Secretariat, upon request.

The State Party shall pay special attention to the role of gender and shall endeavour to ensure the widest possible participation of the communities, groups and, where applicable, individuals concerned as well as relevant non-governmental organizations during the process of preparing this report, and is asked to describe how it has done so in point D below.

B.1. Social and cultural functions

Please explain the social and cultural functions and meanings of the element today, within and for its community, the characteristics of the bearers and practitioners, and any specific roles or categories of persons with special responsibilities towards the element, among others. Attention should be given to any relevant changes related to inscription criterion U.1 (‘the element constitutes intangible cultural heritage as defined in Article 2 of the Convention’).

Kayas are fortified settlements inhabited by the Mijikenda communities, who are gradually leaving them while abandoning the Traditions and Cultural Practices associated to the Kayas in favour of informal urban settlements at the expense of the traditional social systems that have bound them in harmony with the natural environment for a long time.
The Traditions and practices associated to the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda are codes of ethics and governance systems, traditions, rituals and practices that sustained peaceful coexistence amongst all the communities in the Kayas. These practices are a set of rituals, ceremonies, social practices, cultural values and traditional knowledge about nature, transmitted orally among the various ethnic groups of the Mijikenda. They strengthen community ties and reinforce their common identity, while promoting mutual respect and social justice, thus ensuring balanced protection of their forest environment.
The traditions and practices of the Mijikenda are regulatory mechanisms for a cohesive social order that upholds peace and harmonious co-existence amongst the Communities. The highest social and political organ in the community is the Council of Elders. It formulates and regulates rules, taboos and myths by consensus and ensures indigenous knowledge transfer to young members of the community. These council of elders act as custodians of the Kayas and the cultural expressions that underscore the identity, continuity and cohesion of the Mijikenda communities. This involves rendering of social justice, and coordinating the use of natural resources of the Kaya Forests. Leaders seek blessings from the Council of Elders before making major decisions such as venturing into political contests. The Council of Elders evaluates them on the basis of their moral behaviour, braveness and the ability to lead.
The County administration recognizes the role of the Councils of Elders and involves them in consultations pertaining to security and socio-cultural issues affecting the Mijikenda . The Councils of Elders contribute to the construction of a fused traditional-modern system of governance for property rights and allocation of resources; prevention and resolution of conflicts; and participation in decision-making process. The Kaya elders participate fully in activities related to the safeguarding of traditional practices and the conservation of the Kaya forests, strengthen their Councils by including new and younger practitioners, and report to local authorities any destructive activities occurring within the forests.
In the absence of the traditions and practices associated to the Kayas, irresponsible behaviour could find root among the Mijikenda. The traditions of the Mijikenda have worked to reduce wayward behaviour such as theft, promiscuity, intolerance and corruption whose offenders are punished as witnessed during the 2007 post election violence where thieves and looters literary returned to the owners whatever they had stolen in response to the curse of the Elders.

B.2. Assessment of its viability and current risks

Please describe the current level of viability of the element, particularly the frequency and extent of its practice, the strength of traditional modes of transmission, the demographics of practitioners and audiences and its sustainability. Please also identify and describe the threats, if any, to the element's continued transmission and enactment and describe the severity and immediacy of such threats, giving particular attention to any strengthening or weakening of the element’s viability subsequent to inscription.

The inscription of the element into the Urgent safeguarding List has promoted its visibility amongst the young generation and strengthened its safeguarding. The traditions and cultural practices associated to the Kayas are still viable and constitute an important basis for their identity and ultimate survival of the Mijikenda communities. Most practices associated with the Kayas are still practiced today and indeed influence the conduct of the populace regularly, save for those who are losing the attachment due to immigration, modernization, formal education and religious influence. Burial for the dead within the Kayas is an ongoing practice. However, due to the increase in population and the reduced space associated with the Kaya, only prominent Mijikenda leaders and Members of the Council of Elders who die inside the Kayas are buried in the Kayas.
Given the fact that many of the elders are ageing, most Kayas have started recruiting young and energetic elders for continued transmission of the element. In Kaya Kauma and Kaya Fungo, for instance, induction ceremonies for young members of the community are ongoing to prepare them to join the council of elders. In Kaya Rabai and Kaya Kinondo, student’s visit to the Kayas has been intensified. The same trend is witnessed in the rest of the Kayas. The Council of elders transmit knowledge about the traditions and practices to the young generation through apprenticeship. Through observation, participation and inheritance, these young men will later take up the roles of the incumbent members of the Council. Regular traditional festivals held by Kaya communities play an important role in the transmission process.
An overwhelming majority of the Mijikenda communities have a strong attachment to the Kayas and particularly with its traditions and practices. The sustainability of these traditions and practices are pegged on the fact that the Mijikenda community respect them and are committed to safeguarding them for posterity. The Mijikenda have continued to work with Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the Government, the Civil Society and other stakeholders to safeguard the traditions and practices.
Over-exposure and increased flow of tourists/foreign visitors to the Kayas threatens its safeguarding and tend to undermine customary practices governing access to the element. In realization of this threat, the Kaya elders have resolved to reinforce strict codes in order to control the traffic and regulate access to the element or aspects of it.

B.3. Implementation of safeguarding measures

Please report on the safeguarding measures described in the nomination file, and previous report, if any. Describe how they have been implemented and how they have substantially contributed to the safeguarding of the element during the reporting period, taking note of external or internal constraints such as limited resources. Include, in particular, information on the measures taken to ensure the viability of the element by enabling the community to continue to practise and transmit it. Include the following detailed information concerning the implementation of the set of safeguarding measures or safeguarding plan:

B.3.a. Objectives and results

Indicate what primary objective(s) were addressed and what concrete results were attained during the reporting period.

The Department of Culture in collaboration with UNESCO initiated an intervention to safeguard the Traditions and Practices of the Mijikenda. The project received funding from UNESCO in August 2011 and its implementation started in October 2011. The project has a life-span of three years from the time of its inception. The primary objectives addressed in the safeguarding plan are as follows:-
i.To empower the Mijikenda communities with skills, knowledge and resources to promote viability and ensuring transmission of the element.
ii.To disseminate existing information related to the Mijikenda traditions and practices to the public with a view of raising awareness.
iii.To educate the youth and other community members on the importance and significance of the traditions and practices associated to the Kaya sacred forest.
iv.To promote cooperation and networking amongst communities.
v.To promote the management and environmental conservation of the sacred Kayas of the Mijikenda.
vi.To put in place favorable legislative and management framework in support of the safeguarding measures.
The project has achieved the following concrete results:-
i.Empowered Mijikenda communities with skills and knowledge on project management.
ii.Public awareness raised on the Mijikenda traditions and practices associated through the production and dissemination of brochures and newpaper supplements.
iii. An educated youth and other community members well-informed of the signficance of the traditions and practices associated to Kaya sacred forest.
iv.Network and teamwork established amongst communities.
v.Conserved environment and well managed sacred Kayas of the Mijikenda.
vi.The outcome of objective vi will be achieved during phase three of the Kaya project.

B.3.b. Safeguarding activities

List the key activities that were carried out during this reporting period in order to achieve these expected results. Please describe the activities in detail and note their effectiveness or any problems encountered in implementing them.

The activities that were carried out in the implementation of the project in order to achieve the expected results include;
i.Designing and initiating income-generating activities taking into account the specificities of each Mijikenda community. Sixty-six (66) langstroth beehives, Eighteen (18) catcher boxes, ten (10) smokers, Eight (8) wheel barrows, ten (10) bee suits, twelve (12) pairs of gumboots, six (6) watering cans, twelve (12) hoes, twelve (12) machetes, twelve (12) spades, assorted seeds, assorted honey processing and packaging materials were bought and distributed to six Kaya communities. Experts in tree nurseries and bee-keeping were engaged to assist the communities to establish the projects. The individual woodlots established in homesteads of Kaya elders have reduced dependence on forest resources such as firewood, timber and building poles. Most Kayas have generated income from the sale of honey and seedlings and in turn the same is used to support the enactment of ceremonies and rituals and supplements family incomes.
ii. Young members of the Mijikenda community volunteer to undergo apprenticeship so as to gain knowledge and understanding of the practices as they prepare to become future members of the Council of elders. For example, Kaya Kauma started conducting ceremonies and rituals from 23rd November to 13th December, 2013, aimed at inducting ten young members of the community into the Council of elders.
iii.Reviewing and integrating of information into the national inventory; In December, 2010 the Department of Culture organized a workshop for the Mijikenda communities to sensitize them on community inventorying. The workshop focused on community participation in the identification and inventorying of intangible cultural heritage. Since the inscription of the element, the Department of Culture has been holding frequent meetings with the Mijikenda communities and their council of elders. These meetings have been invaluable in gathering information about the culture of the Mijikenda. The information obtained so far has been used to review and update the National inventory.
iv.Four thousand (4,000) brochures in both English and Kiswahili were printed and distributed to members of the public and stakeholders in order to raise public awareness about the project as well as about the existing information related to the Mijikenda traditions and practices. In addition the Daily Nation newspaper carried out a paid-up newsletter supplement on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Mijikenda Kayas.
v.The Department of Culture in collaboration with the Mijikenda communities and other stakeholders organized community cultural festivals and exchange programmes as well as visits to the Kayas by youth. The Inter-community Cultural Festival was held on 8th September 2012 at Kaya Rabai, Bomani village. The festival showcased the greatest assembly of diversity of the traditional dances. Besides the dancing, there were displays of cultural exhibits of the Kaya traditional lifestyles such as making makuti thatches, traditional foods exhibitions and handcrafts. To witness this rare assembly of living culture of the Mijikenda was the Rabai community. Approximately 100 Kaya elders and over 600 community members were in attendance. The festival was graced by the then Permanent Secretary, Ministry of State for National Heritage and Culture, Dr. Jacob Ole Miaron, who was accompanied by the then Director of culture, Mrs. Gladys W. Gatheru (now deceased), UNESCO Programme specialist for Culture, Ms Mulekeni Ngulube, NMK Assistant Director, Coast, and the Rabai District Commissioner, Ms Caroline Nzwili. The inter-community exchange visits was carried out on the 4th and 5th September 2012. It involved Kaya elders, women and youth from Kayas Rabai, Kauma and Duruma visiting each other at their respective Kaya locations. The purpose of the visits was to learn from their peers on how they were progressing with projects, intercultural linkages, cooperation and networks for the promotion of intangible cultural heritage activities related to the Kayas.
vi. In Kaya Rabai and Kaya Duruma, the Councils of elders have been inviting various schools into the Kayas where the elders informally introduce the learners to the traditions and practices of the Mijikenda. Chizini primary school students visited the neighbouring Kaya Duruma while Galana secondary school students from Malindi visited Kaya Mudzimuvya and the Rabai Memorial Museum. This helps to transmit knowledge to the young generation thereby safeguarding the element. A total of about 140 students visited the Kayas.
vii.Carrying out monitoring and evaluation activities at various levels; Monitoring and evaluation is an ongoing process. Since the inception of the project aimed at safeguarding the element, every visit made to the Kaya conducted some monitoring and evaluation to assess the progress so far made. Any shortcomings noted were followed by suggestions on their improvement and way forward.

B.3.c. Participation of communities, groups or individuals in the safeguarding activities

Describe how communities, groups or, if appropriate, individuals as well as relevant non-governmental organizations have effectively participated, including in terms of gender roles, in the safeguarding measures. Describe the role of the implementing organization or body (name, background, etc.) and the human resources that were available for implementing safeguarding activities.

UNESCO’s 2003 Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage emphasizes the importance of communities’ participation in the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage. The preparation of the safeguarding plan for the element was a culmination of a series of meetings organized by the Department of Culture in collaboration with the Kaya communities, groups and individuals concerned. The first activity began with organizing of a workshop for representatives of Kaya elders, women and the youth who were trained on project design, management and implementation. The training equipped the elders, women and the youth with skills and knowledge to guide the implementation activities in their respective Kayas. After the training, every Kaya formed management committees to oversee the implementation process.
The inter-community cultural exchange visits between the communities involved youth, men and women living around the Kayas and this helped communities to share their experiences and challenges in safeguarding the element. The annual inter-community cultural festival brought together all the communities living around the Kayas to witness the traditional performances, rituals and exhibitions which formed some aspects of the element and this strengthened the members who have pledged to keep these traditions alive by transferring them to the younger generations. The student visits to the Kayas were a clear testimony of the willingness of the young generation to learn from the elders their cultures. The elders mobilized the schools, guided them inside the Kayas and were enthusiastic to induct the youth who were excited by what they saw and learnt.
The Department of Culture, being the competent body for the implementation of the Kaya project, facilitated and coordinated all the above activities in collaboration with other Government agencies such as the Permanent Presidential Music Commission, National Museums of Kenya and Coastal Forest Conservation Unit. The aforementioned bodies together with other technical experts provided the human resources required for the implementation of the project.

B.3.d. Timetable and budget

Indicate in a timetable when each activity was implemented and the funds that were used for its implementation, identifying the source of funding for each (governmental sources, in-kind community inputs, etc.).

Appended here below is a timetable and cost of the Implementation of the project ‘Traditions and Practices associated to the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda’
Phase I
Activities undertaken from 22nd to 28th October, 2011 in Rabai, Kauma and Duruma communities:-
a)Training workshop on project design and management for three communities at Makuti Villas, Kilifi;
i. Hire of hall.
ii. Hire of equipment.
iii. Purchase of stationery.
iv. Design and initiate income-generating activities of beekeeping, purchase of protective cloths, packing materials, beehives.
Source of funds: The activities cost Ksh 718,900 from UNESCO and Ksh. 256,000 being Government of Kenya’s contribution.
Activities undertaken from 26th February to 2nd March, 2012 in Rabai, Kauma and Duruma communities:-
b)Designing information materials for project brochures in English and Kiswahili;
i. Printing of the project brochures in English and Kiswahili.
ii. Recording, photography and filming of elements.
iii. Preparing a paid up News paper supplement on ICH of the Mijikenda.
iv. Distribution of ICH materials.
v. Field Visits to Kayas by young people.
vi. Hire of buses for students to visit the Kayas.
vii. Provision of lunches and refreshments for students.
Source of funds: The activities cost Ksh 1,025,050from UNESCO and Ksh. 198,000 being Government of Kenya’s contribution.
Activities undertaken from 26th August to 2nd September, 2012 in Rabai, Kauma and Duruma communities:-
c)Initiate income generating activities of beekeeping and tree nurseries, purchase of additional project materials and equipment;
i. Recording, photography and filming of elements.
ii. Distribution of ICH materials.
iii. Organization of one day community Cultural Festival.
iv. Hire of buses for elders travel during the exchange visits.
v. Provision of lunches and refreshments.
vi. Hire of audio equipment .
vii. Organization and coordination of intra-community cultural exchange programme.
viii. Communication.
ix. Organization of three Inter-Community Cultural exchange programmes.
x. Facilitatation for the participation of a UNESCO expert.
xi. Facilitatation of interpretation.
The activities cost Ksh 1,425,139 from UNESCO and Ksh 194,000 being Government of Kenya’s contribution.
Phase II
Activities undertaken from 9th to 11th September, 2013 in Giriama, Digo and Chonyi communities:-
d)Training workshop on project design and management for three communities;
i. Hire of hall.
ii. Hire of equipment.
iii. Purchase of stationery.
iv. Designing and initiation of income-generating activities of beekeeping, purchase of protective cloths, beehives, bee catcher boxes.
v. Distribution of ICH materials.
vi. Recording, photography and filming of elements.
Source of funds: The activities cost Ksh 863,724 from UNESCO and Ksh. 219,000 being Government of Kenya’s contribution.

B.3.e Overall effectiveness of the safeguarding activities

Provide an overall assessment of the effectiveness of the activities undertaken to achieve the expected results and of the efficiency of the use of funds for implementing the activities. Please indicate how the activities contributed to achieving the results and whether other activities could have contributed better to achieving the same results. Also indicate whether the same results could have been achieved with less funding, whether the human resources available were appropriate and whether communities, groups and individuals could have been better involved.

The safeguarding activities explained in B.3b and B.3c above have empowered the Mijikenda communities with skills, knowledge and resources and contributed effectively in promoting transmission and viability of the element.
Environmental Conservation;
Replanting trees in depleted sacred Kaya forests and homesteads have reduced reliance on the sacred forest for wood fuel. The activities have improved conservation of the forests, enhanced safeguarding and raised public awareness about the element particularly among the local communities at the national and international levels. They have greatly improved the esteem and identification of the local people and awoken the interest among the youth on the traditions and practices associated with the sacred forests of the Mijikenda.
Community participation;
Through the proceeds from the income generating activities intiated, the Mijikenda communities continue with the enactment of their traditions and practices. The Mijikenda have joined forces with NGOs, the Government, the Civil Society and Stakeholders to safeguard the traditions and practices. The Mijikenda communities have continually expanded their range of activities to better safeguard the element by engaging themselves willingly and with zeal. This, however, has not been necessarily an easy task, as the community is faced with challenges especially lack of resources. The engagement of the community provides a rich context for understanding the issues of viability, transmission and safeguarding practices. This has enhanced the social and cultural development of the Mijikenda communities and the position of the young members of the community. The interest of the youth in going into the forest as demonstrated during their field visits brought to life what students learn in the school curriculum, making the visit a valuable experience of reality. The Kayas illustrate the beauty of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention by providing an interface between text and reality and demonstrating how the Convention addresses people’s inspirations, reinforcing the community’s desires to safeguard their heritage. It is a spiritual experience, stimulating a connection of the community with their ancestors.
Ensuring viability;
It is interesting to note that the traditions and practices associated to the sacred forests of the Mijikenda have survived external influences (deforestation) and still reflects strong cultural beliefs, and by default contributes to conservation of biodiversity. The Kayas of the sacred forests of the Mijikenda are central to the communities’s existence and history and living Intangible Cultural Heritage which lends to its sustainability. In accordance to Articles 11, 12, 13, and 14 of the Convention, the Mijikenda communities have deliberately not labelled sites in the forests; since visitors must be accompanied and the explanation is given verbally as a means of safeguarding their Intangible Cultural Heritage. This is in line with Article 13 d (ii) of ensuring access to the intangible cultural heritage while respecting customary practices governing access to specific aspects of such heritage. All visitors to the Kayas observe the traditions and practices including taboos, such as not to wear shoes, not to sing unless invited and not to damage any vegetation. Inventorying and documentation of the element can only be done in consultation with the Mijikenda communities and the traditions and practices that are confined to the elders are not disclosed to outsiders. This is aimed at ensuring the viability of the intangible cultural heritage, including the identification, documentation, research, preservation, protection, promotion, enhancement, transmission, particularly through formal and non-formal education, as well as the revitalization of the various aspects of such heritage. For these reasons, it is time to reflect on intangible cultural heritage safeguarding efforts of the Mijikenda at present and to think about the potential for the future.

B.4. Community participation

Please describe how communities, groups and individuals, as well as relevant non-governmental organizations have been involved, including in terms of gender roles, in updating the safeguarding plan, and how they will be involved in its implementation.

The Mijikenda communities in consultation with the Department of Culture, National Museums of Kenya, Coastal Forest Conservation Unit, and other stakeholders held a series of meetings to discuss safeguarding measures for the element. The Council of Elders, Kaya conservation groups, Women groups and Youth groups have been undertaking different activities that enhance the safeguarding of the element.
The Mijikenda communities have participated actively in apprenticeship programmes whereby yothful members of the community are imparted with knowledge and skills relating to the enactment of the traditions and practices of the Mijikenda.
The Kaya community conservation groups have been involved in replanting trees in the Kayas especially in those which had been depleted with trees. For instance, Kaya Chonyi Conservation and Development Organization have planted trees on the reclaimed spaces that had been grabbed and those that have been surrendered voluntarily. These conserve the tangible heritage and safeguard the intangible cultural heritage.
The Kaya elders continue to carry out exchange visits to share ideas and best practices of safeguarding the element. During the annual inter-community cultural festival, community members voluntarily contribute exhibition items, provide foodstuffs, perform various dances and offer their labour for the success of the event. This is a clear demonstration that the Mijikenda communities are committed to implement the safeguarding plan. The Inter-community interactions has led to exchange of some practices leading to more sustainability.

B.5. Institutional context

Please report on the institutional context for the local management and safeguarding of the element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, including:

  1. the competent body(ies) involved in its management and/or safeguarding;
  2. the organization(s) of the community or group concerned with the element and its safeguarding.

The Department of Culture in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts is the competent body involved in the management of the element and in charge of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. The Department of Culture collaborates with Coastal Forest Conservation Unit, the National Museums of Kenya, Kenya National Archives and Documentation Services, Permanent Presidential Music Commission, Centre for Heritage Development in Africa and the County Governments of Kilifi and Kwale.
At the community level, the Kaya Council of Elders, Kaya community conservation groups, women groups, youth groups, traditional dance troupes, National Traditional Herbalists Practitioners Association (NATHEPA) Coast branch, and the local administration are involved in the safeguarding of the element.

B.6. Participation of communities in preparing this report

Describe the measures taken to ensure the widest possible participation of the communities, groups and, where applicable, individuals concerned as well as relevant non-governmental organizations during the process of preparation of this report.

The preparation of the periodic report on the status of an element inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding is an intensive process that requires serious consultation with communities, groups, NGOs and in some cases individuals who have been involved in safeguarding activities in order to develop a comprehensive report based on the consultations. It is against this background that the Department of Culture organized a series of consultative meetings in coast region for the Mijikenda communities and other stakeholders to share ideas, opinions, and gathered information with a view to prepare this report. The last consultative meeting was held from 23rd to 26th November 2013 in Kilifi County.
During the preparation of this report, the Chonyi, Duruma, Digo, Giriama, Jibana, Kambe, Kauma, Rabai and Ribe who are the nine Mijikenda communities were fully involved. There was broad consultations with the Mijikenda communities represented by different social groups including Kaya council of elders, women groups, and youth groups. The National Museums of Kenya represented by the coastal forest conservation unit, other Kaya conservation groups, the department of forestry, County administration and other stakeholders widely participated in the preparation of this report. In the process of preparing this report, due respect for customary practices governing access to the element or aspects of it were observed.

C. Signature on behalf of the state party

The report should conclude with the original signature of the official empowered to sign it on behalf of the State, together with his or her name, title and the date of submission.

Name

Robinson M.Kanyenze

Title

Ag. Director of Culture

Date

11-12-2013

Signature


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