Inventory of intangible cultural heritage in Mali with a view to its urgent safeguarding

  • Financial assistance:
    • US$ 307,307 granted in 2013
  • Dates of implementation:
    • 06/12/2013 - 02/11/2016
  • Documents:

Benefitting country(ies): Mali


Since January 2012, Malian cultural heritage has suffered tremendous damage following the occupation of northern and east-central regions by armed groups and extremists. Cultural practices ranging from rituals, traditional music and festive events to craftsmanship were curtailed by the prohibitions imposed by the occupants. People had fear of being stigmatized or targeted of retributive attacks. The damage to intangible cultural heritage in the regions of Tombouctou, Gao, Kidal and Mopti, amidst this climate of fear and uncertainty had a highly negative effect, profoundly affecting the sense of identity of local communities across the country. This situation highlighted the urgent need to safeguard intangible cultural heritage, which plays an important role in ensuring harmony and reconciliation within and between communities and in providing coping mechanisms for post-conflict challenges. In this context, the project funded by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund and implemented by the National Department for Cultural Heritage, aimed to contribute to the safeguarding of living heritage in Mali through inventories, thereby ensuring its viability and contributing to intercultural dialogue. Giving priority to the former occupied regions of the country, it consisted of activities geared at establishing a strategic inventorying plan, building the capacities of the stakeholders concerned and raising awareness of the importance of cultural heritage. The project, which ran from December 2013 to April 2017, resulted in 249 persons trained in community-based inventorying and 211 elements of intangible cultural heritage inventoried. Community participation during the project was very intensive at local and regional level, community members engaged in research, documentation, information sharing, identification and planning of activities. The Malian government supports the sustainability of results accomplished by integrating the inventory of intangible cultural heritage into the economic, social and cultural development programs of local and regional authorities in order to ensure valorization of the identified elements in close cooperation with communities.

News and activities:

03/08/2016 - 30/11/2016 – Survey on Intangible Cultural Heritage of Displaced Syrians30/06/2013 - 30/06/2016 – Safeguarding and revitalizing the Mongolian traditional epic