Promotion of traditional pottery making practices in Eastern Kenya

  • Financial assistance:
    • US$ 23,388 granted in 2016
  • Dates of implementation:
    • 14/09/2016 - 11/12/2017
  • Documents:

Benefitting country(ies): Kenya


The proposed project, which is designed in line with the 2006 National Heritage Act of Kenya, aims to safeguard and revitalize traditional pottery making practices of the Mbeere, Tharaka and Tigania communities in Eastern Kenya. Transmitted by females within families, the technique involves creating clay pots of various sizes and shapes depending on the function and style of the community concerned. Some pots are produced for rituals, ceremonies or social gatherings while others are used to store water or cook food. The craft is closely linked to social practices and foodways of the communities concerned and provides a livelihood for many families. Today, due to the amount of labour required and low profit combined with the impact of formal education, the number of pottery making practitioners has decreased and the activity no longer tends to be prioritized by potter families. Moreover, aluminium pots are increasingly being used as an alternative, which in turn has also affected traditional cooking and water conservation methods. Implemented by the National Museums of Kenya, the project intends to revitalize traditional pottery making practices and restore related social functions while enhancing existing production techniques. Planned activities include revitalization of transmission methods, diversification of pottery forms and styles to better respond to market demands, integration of more efficient ways of production (e.g. improvement of the performance of kilns for enhanced energy conservation), the organization of potters into groups and documentation for tradition training purposes.

News and activities:

30/06/2016 - 16/06/2017 – Safeguarding of Nkhonde, Tumbuka and Chewa proverbs and folktales22/09/2016 - 29/09/2017 – Inventorying of proverbs of Lala community of Luano District of Zambia