Decision of the Bureau: 10.COM 2.BUR 5.2

The Bureau,

  1. Recalling Chapter V of the Convention and Chapter I of the Operational Directives,
  2. Having examined Document ITH/15/10.COM 2.BUR/5 as well as file No. 01024,
  3. Takes note that Kenya has requested International Assistance for Documenting and Inventorying Intangible Cultural Heritage of the pastoralist Samburu community in northern Kenya: a focus on the region of Mount Kulal biosphere reserve:

The proposed project, which is designed in line with the 2006 National Heritage Act of Kenya, aims to safeguard the intangible cultural heritage of the semi-nomadic pastoralist Samburu community living within the Mount Kulal Biosphere Reserve (designated in 1979 through UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere programme) in northern Kenya. Due to external political, economic and cultural influences as well as environmental degradation, the viability of the living heritage is being affected. This concerns essential knowledge for the survival of the Samburu community and the maintenance of social order such as weather prediction rituals, other knowledge related to environmental resource management and rites of passages. The communities living in this arid area (the Samburu but also other communities including the Rendille, Gabbra, Borana and Waata) are in frequent conflict with each other over limited water, pastures and other resources. The inventorying exercise shall pay particular attention to the role that intangible cultural heritage plays in preventing or resolving conflicts and in maintaining social cohesion. Through capacity-building training, to be organized by the National Museums of Kenya, the Samburu community is expected to acquire skills necessary for participating in identifying and inventorying their traditions and practices and safeguarding them. Other planned activities include desk studies, field work and activities related to awareness-raising of the importance of safeguarding the living heritage of the Samburu community;

  1. Further takes note that this assistance concerns support for a project carried out at national level aimed at safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in accordance with Article 20 of the Convention, and that it takes the form of the granting of a donation in line with Article 21(g) of the Convention;
  2. Also takes note that Kenya requested an allocation of US$24,038 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for implementation of the project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file No. 01024, 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 foresees that the Samburu community will be involved in all steps; for example its members will be represented in the inventorying team and in the process of monitoring. The request does not explicitly demonstrate involvement of the community in the elaboration of the request, partly because of the remoteness of the area, but the implementation team from the National Museums of Kenya has extensive experience working with the community concerned in the field of intangible cultural heritage, as demonstrated in one of the UNESCO-financed related activities implemented by the same agency in the past.

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

Criterion A.3: The request is well-structured and includes a series of six activities that are well-conceived and presented in a logical sequence. The proposed activities correspond to the objectives of the project and are planned according to a calendar that seems realistic within the time provided.

Criterion A.4: The involvement of all age groups, including children, is expected to contribute to ensuring continuity of the project. Furthermore, the project will focus on specific groups that will be trained in view of continuing awareness-raising and sensitizing communities to the importance of their living heritage, notably through training, awareness campaigns and documentation. The implementation team is supposed to establish local structures and systems that will support the Samburu community to ensure sustainability of the impact that the project is expected to create.

Criterion A.5: The submitting State will share 18% of the total amount of the project for which International Assistance is requested.

Criterion A.6: The main objective of the project is to build the capacities of the Samburu community on identifying and inventorying their living heritage. The whole [...] process is designed in order to create ownership by the community. The individuals and groups will be trained to carry regular meetings at the community level, develop community questionnaires and document their living heritage notably by using participatory photography and video methodologies.

Criterion A.7: Kenya has benefited in 2008 from the support of the UNESCO Office in Nairobi for the project ‘Inventorying intangible cultural heritage of the Lake Turkana and Mount Kulal area’. Furthermore, Kenya has benefited from International Assistance twice, once to safeguard ‘Traditions and practices associated to the Kayas in the Sacred Forests of the Mijikenda’ (2011–ongoing; US$126,580), and once to prepare a nomination file 'Rituals and practices associated with Kit Mikayi shrine of the Luo community in Kenya' (2013–2015; US$17,668). The work stipulated by the contracts related to these projects was carried out in compliance with UNESCO regulations and all projects have been completed, except the project concerning the Kayas, which is experiencing delays and is to be completed in 2015.

Paragraph 10(a): The project is local in scope and involves both national and local implementing partners.

Paragraph 10(b): The request indicates the intention of the implementation agency to advocate to national partners the importance of inventorying for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. The visibility activity at the national level using the information generated through inventorying is expected to create a multiplier effect for the project.

  1. Decides to approve, as authorizing body, the International Assistance request from Kenya for Documenting and Inventorying Intangible Cultural Heritage of the pastoralist Samburu community in Northern Kenya: a focus on the region of Mount Kulal biosphere reserve (No. 01024) for an amount of US$24,038;
  2. Commends the submitting State for paying attention to the safeguarding of living heritage of a community in a remote area and to the role that intangible cultural heritage can play for maintaining social order and cohesion;
  3. Further commends the submitting State for envisaging to organise the capacity building activities by using the materials developed by UNESCO for this service and for planning to involve UNESCO expert-facilitators who are trained to use such materials;
  4. Requests the Secretariat to reach agreement with the submitting State on the technical details of the assistance, paying particular attention to the detailed budget of activities supported by the Fund of the intangible cultural heritage;
  5. Invites the State Party to use the ICH-04-Report Form when reporting on the use made of assistance provided.