Decision of the Bureau: 13.COM 1.BUR 3.2

The Bureau,

  1. Recalling Article 23 of the Convention as well as Chapter I.4 of the Operational Directives relating to the eligibility and criteria of International Assistance requests,
  2. Having examined Document ITH/18/13.COM 1.BUR/3 as well as International Assistance request no. 01304 submitted by Zimbabwe,
  3. Takes note that Zimbabwe has requested International Assistance for the project entitled Enhancing the capacity of communities to safeguard traditional dance expressions as performing arts heritage in western Zimbabwe:

The request is to support a project aimed at safeguarding the traditional dance practices of six districts of western Zimbabwe. The project arose out of an increasing awareness in Zimbabwe of the value of intangible cultural heritage and its contribution to a sense of cultural identity and social cohesion, as well as in response to growing concerns over the potential distortion of traditional cultural expressions. The dance practices of the communities concerned, which are performed at various occasions and in both rural and urban situations, represent a key component of their living heritage, expressing their spiritual, social and ceremonial mores. Implemented by the Nhimbe Trust, a registered non-profit NGO working at the intersection of culture and development, the project has the following key objectives: to enhance the capacities of cultural stakeholders within the communities to safeguard their cultural heritage by equipping them with knowledge of the 2003 Convention; to increase the capacities of such stakeholders to undertake community-based inventorying of related elements; to strengthen their capacities to implement activities enabling the inter-generational transmission of these dance expressions; and to strengthen the tools to promote traditional dance as a performing arts practice. To this end, the project will be structured around research and documentation activities, the compilation of an inventory of associated elements, and activities designed to enhance the inter-generational transmission of the dance practices.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance is to support a project implemented at the local level, in accordance with Article 20 (c) of the Convention, and that it takes the form of the provision of a grant, pursuant to Article 21 (g) of the Convention;
  2. Also takes note that Zimbabwe has requested assistance in the amount of US$98,927 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of this project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file no. 01304, 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 information provided in the request demonstrates the involvement of the communities concerned in the preparation of this request and their role during the project implementation process. The rural communities in the six districts of western Zimbabwe, which include the bearers of the practices, the community elders and youth members, will be actively engaged in the proposed activities through ongoing community consultations and a community-based participatory approach. The request also provides a clear description of the communities’ participation in the monitoring and evaluation of the project;

Criterion A.2: The amount of assistance requested is appropriate for the implementation of the proposed activities. The budget reflects in detail the planned activities and is presented in a structured manner. Nevertheless, a detailed description of the activities would have been appreciated in order to provide a sufficient justification for the planned expenditures in the proposed budget;

Criterion A.3: The proposed activities include a preliminary assessment, capacity-building workshops, community-based inventorying and activities promoting the transmission of traditional dance practices to youth. They are well conceived, feasible and presented in a logical sequence, in relation to the objectives of the project. A system of regular monitoring and evaluation is also foreseen, involving the implementing organization, its partner organizations and the communities concerned;

Criterion A.4: The creation of an inventory register and an online portal for the inventoried elements of traditional dance expressions is relevant for ensuring continued safeguarding efforts beyond the end of the project. In addition, the enhanced knowledge and skills of the communities should have a significant impact on the valorization of the traditional practices, thereby increasing local interest in the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. Furthermore, the mobilization of urban and rural youth is expected to contribute to the revitalization of the practices through the promotion of intergenerational transmission;

Criterion A.5: The State proposes to contribute 5 per cent of the total budget of the project for which International Assistance is being requested;

Criterion A.6: With a substantial capacity-building component, the project will strengthen the capacities of youth, women and bearers of the traditional practices from the six districts of western Zimbabwe in inventorying intangible cultural heritage and enhancing intergenerational transmission. The information provided in the request also demonstrates how the implementation of the activities would improve the skills of the implementing agency in carrying out measures to safeguard intangible cultural heritage;

Criterion A.7: Zimbabwe has benefitted from International Assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund twice, for the projects entitled ‘Manyanga Misumo Protocol’ (File no. 00489, 2011, US$12,000), carried out by the Manyanga Traditional Custodians, and ‘Safeguarding cultural heritage aspects of Njelele’ (File no. 00552, 2011-2012, US$25,000), implemented by the National Archives of Zimbabwe. The work stipulated by the contracts related to these projects was carried out in compliance with UNESCO’s regulations;

Paragraph 10(a): The project is local in scope and demonstrates strategic cooperation with the Ministry of Rural Development, Preservation and Promotion of National Culture and Heritage and with cultural organizations as well as associations representing local communities;

Paragraph 10(b): The diversity of partner organizations involved in the implementation of the project is expected to draw technical contributions from various sources – including the possibility of introducing safeguarding mechanisms into the formal education system – and to enable these partners to develop similar safeguarding projects.

  1. Approves the International Assistance request from Zimbabwe for the project entitled Enhancing the capacity of communities to safeguard traditional dance expressions as performing arts heritage in western Zimbabwe and grants the amount of US$98,927 to the State Party to this end;
  2. Takes note of the technical assistance provided to Zimbabwe in preparing this request and commends the efforts made by the State Party to follow up on that assistance by substantively revising its initial request;
  3. Requests that the Secretariat reach an agreement with the requesting State Party on the technical details of the assistance, paying particular attention to ensuring that the detailed work plan of the activities to be covered by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund is specific enough to provide a sufficient justification of the expenditures;
  4. Invites the State Party to use Form ICH-04 Report when reporting on the use of the assistance provided.