Decision of the Bureau: 10.COM 1.BUR 1.2

The Bureau,

  1. Recalling Chapter V of the Convention and Chapter I of the Operational Directives,
  2. Having examined Document ITH/15/10.COM 1.BUR/1 as well as file No. 00979,
  3. Takes note that Uganda has requested international assistance in the amount of US$24,990 for a project entitled ‘Safeguarding and promotion of Bigwala gourd trumpet music and dance of Busoga Kingdom in Uganda’:

Bigwala music and dance practiced by the Basoga people from eastern Uganda were inscribed by the Committee on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2012. Only two surviving master players are said to exist together with a handful of trainees. The performance is given by a set of five of more gourd trumpets each producing a single tone and blown in hocket to produce a melody, accompanied with singing, drumming and dancing; singers and dancers move in circular formation around the instrument players. The sense of identity and belonging as well as diverse issues of their society’s history have been passed on to the younger generations through the performance of Bigwala, which has also been used to mark the important events of the Busoga kingdom such as the enthronement of the king or royal burials. Because of the diminishing number of practitioners, however, Bigwala is not enacted as often as it used to be in the communities. The communities, notably village leaders, local council leaders and the Busoga Kingdom, are concerned by the situation and wish to join hands to safeguard their living heritage. The proposed project aims at ensuring the viability of Bigwala music and dance by creating the environment favourable for its continuation. The National Council of Folklorists of Uganda (NACOFU) will spearhead the work of the project management committee in organizing training workshops, a Bigwala festival as well as activities related to documentation and information sharing. It is hoped that nine groups of young people will have gained the skills to perform Bigwala and to produce the instruments associated with the practice. The festival and the documented information with audio-visual recordings would also contribute to raising awareness of the importance of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage among the public at large.

  1. Decides that, from the information provided in file No. 00979, the request responds as follows to the criteria for granting International Assistance given in Paragraphs 10 and 12 of the Operational Directives:
Criterion A.1: The project responds to the concern expressed by the communities as regards the needs for urgent safeguarding of Bigwala music and dance. The request was prepared with the participation of the surviving tradition bearers, five village leaders and four village music groups who will in turn form part of the project management committee for the implementation of the proposed project.

Criterion A.2: The overall amount requested seems to be appropriate and to adequately cover each of the proposed activities.

Criterion A.3: The implementing agency has prior experience in helping the communities in question and is institutionally supported by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development as well as the Ugandan National Commission for UNESCO. The request clearly distinguishes between overall objectives and shorter-term results and is designed with a well-described set of activities in a logical sequence that seems feasible in the timeline foreseen.

Criterion A.4: The project management committee will be asked to continue its operation during two years after the completion of the project in order to ensure the sustainability of the results of the project. The involvement of village music groups, Council leaders, the Busoga Kingdom as well as the national authorities in the implementation of the project is expected to bring useful effect for continuing educational or promotional activities aiming to increase awareness of the importance of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage at the local and national levels.

Criterion A.5: As presented, the budget indicates that the requesting State will share 15% of the costs of the activities for which international assistance is requested; the implementing agency will share an additional 15% of the costs.

Criterion A.6: The main objective of the project is to build the capacities of nine groups of young community members in practicing Bigwala to ensure its transmission and continuity. The proposed activities are also designed to reinforce the technical and professional capacities for project management among the human resources of the implementing agency and its partner agencies.

Criterion A.7: Uganda has benefited from the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust project entitled ‘Revitalization of bark cloth making in Uganda’ (2006–2009) and the UNESCO/Flanders Funds-in-Trust project entitled ‘A series of pilot projects in community-based intangible heritage inventorying on a grassroots level in six selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa’ (2009–2011). Furthermore, Uganda previously received three international assistances from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund: two of them are preparatory assistances for the elaboration of nominations to the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, ‘The male-child cleansing ceremony of the Lango people of North Central Uganda’ (2012–2013) and ‘Madi bow lyre music, O’di’ (2013–2015) and the third is the project ‘Inventorying the intangible cultural heritage of four communities in Uganda’ (2013–2015). Up to now, Uganda has provided the work stipulated by the terms of reference of the contracts signed under these projects, in line with UNESCO’s regulations.

  1. Approves, as authorized body, the international assistance request from Uganda for ‘Safeguarding and promotion of Bigwala gourd trumpet music and dance of Busoga Kingdom in Uganda’ (No. 00979) for an amount of US$24,990;
  2. Takes note of the positive experience of the technical assistance provided to Uganda in revising the International Assistance request;
  3. Requests the Secretariat to reach agreement with the requesting State Party on the technical details of the assistance, paying particular attention to the detailed budgeting of the activities to be covered by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund;
  4. Invites the State Party to use the ICH-04-Report Form when reporting on the use made of assistance provided.