Decision of the Bureau: 11.COM 1.BUR 1.3

The Bureau,

  1. Recalling Chapter V of the Convention and Chapter I of the Operational Directives,
  2. Having examined Document ITH/16/11.COM 1.BUR/1, as well as the international assistance request no. 01021,
  3. Takes note that Kenya has requested international assistance for a project entitled ‘Promotion of traditional pottery making practices in Eastern 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.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance concerns the support for a project carried out at local level aimed at the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage in accordance with Article 20 (c) 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$23,388 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for implementation of the project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file no. 01021, 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 request clearly demonstrates involvement of the communities in the preparation, implementation and evaluation of the project; activities were designed in response to Mbeere potters’ request for assistance and in close consultation with the potter communities of Tharaka and Tigania; one project coordinator for each community will work with the project coordinating team on the planning and implementation of activities; the central role of the potters in the activities, such as training children and the promotion of pottery making practices in schools, is clearly outlined in the request as well as their active contribution to evaluation of the project and reporting using a journal for daily activities, which will also be integrated into the final report.

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

Criterion A.3: The request is clearly structured and includes a series of 11 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, which appears realistic for the time allocated.

Criterion A.4: The involvement of all groups, including women and children, is expected to contribute to the project’s continuity after its formal completion; proposed activities, which focus on the role of women as essential transmitters of the practice, will include the establishment of female potter groups in communities so concerns of practitioners can be voiced more effectively and greater access to micro-credit facilities gained; the project also seeks to build interest among youth to ensure sustainability of traditional pottery making practices and children will be involved in many activities, including awareness-raising workshops in schools and the use of a customized booklet.

Criterion A.5: The requesting State will share 12 per cent of the total amount of the project for which international assistance is requested.

Criterion A.6: The main objective of the project is to equip the potter communities of Mbeere, Tharaka and Tigania with new skills and tools to revitalize their pottering making practices; the request indicates that the communities’ capacities will be strengthened from the organization of potters into groups, participatory consultation processes and the establishment of learning networks; individuals and groups will be trained to conduct regular meetings at community level and document their living heritage with the support of local anthropologists and historians.

Criterion A.7: Kenya has been a beneficiary of international assistance four times – twice in the form of preparatory assistance for nomination files for the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, namely on ‘Traditions and practices associated to the Kayas’ (2009–10; US$6,000) and on ‘Rituals and practices associated with Kit Mikayi shrine of the Luo community in Kenya’ (2013–15; US$17,668) and twice in the form of financial assistance for a project entitled ‘Traditions and practices associated with the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda’ (2011–14; US$126,580) and a project entitled ‘Documenting and inventorying intangible cultural heritage of the pastoralist Samburu community in northern Kenya: a focus on the region of Mount Kulal biosphere reserve’ (2015-ongoing; US$24,038); work stipulated by contracts related to completed projects was carried out in compliance with UNESCO regulations although the project entitled ‘Traditions and practices associated with the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda’, implemented by the Department of Culture of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and the Arts, experienced significant delays in its implementation. However at the time of writing all activities foreseen were completed and the project is currently in the process of administrative closure.

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

Paragraph 10(b): The request indicates a potential multiplier effect in terms of future funding as the project aims to better organize the potters into groups within their respective communities so that efforts can be coordinated for long-term revitalization of their pottery making practices; the visibility activities in schools using the information documented within the communities will also contribute to the creation of a multiplier effect for the project.

  1. Decides to approve the international assistance request from Kenya for a project entitled ‘Promotion of traditional pottery making practices in Eastern Kenya’ and to grant an amount of US$23,388 to the State Party to this end;
  2. Requests the Secretariat to reach an agreement with the requesting State Party on technical details of the assistance paying particular attention to the detailed budget and timetable of activities to be covered by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund, and release the funds only upon closure of the contract relating to the project ‘Traditions and practices associated with the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda’
    (file no. 00326);
  3. Invites the State Party to use the ICH-04-Report Form when reporting on the use of assistance provided.