Decision of the Bureau: 13.COM 3.BUR 4.3

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.COMBUR/4 as well as International Assistance request no. 01459 submitted by Kenya,
  3. Takes note that Kenya has requested International Assistance for the project entitled Integrating ICT in promoting African food-ways through awareness raising and transmission of ICH for a more environmentally conscious and food secure societies: The case of the Samburu, ElMolo and Pokomo communities of Kenya:

To be implemented by the African Cultural Regeneration Institute in partnership with state and private organizations, the proposed eight-month project aims to help safeguard traditional foodways in Africa through intangible cultural heritage. In Africa, traditional foods are not only a source of nutrition and health but are also associated with cultural identity and social wellbeing. However, in the face of rapid urbanization and changing lifestyles, indigenous foodways are now under threat and the transmission of related knowledge and practices is declining due to the loss of knowledgeable elders. In light of this situation, the proposed project aims to raise awareness about local foodways and disseminate this knowledge among community members, to dispersed community members and the larger public through the internet, mobile phone technology, and through a series of audiovisual productions on the foodways of three Kenyan communities (the Samburu, EIMolo and Pokomo communities). The project seeks to demonstrate the special link between African traditional foods and the environment, underlining the role that living heritage can play in sustainable development. With the potential to be scaled across Africa by incorporating other countries, this pilot project is expected to increase interest in traditional foods among young people, researchers and restaurant owners, and to lead to the increased cultivation of traditional foodstuffs and improved environmental protection.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance is to support a project implemented at the national 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 Kenya has requested assistance in the amount of US$100,000 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of this project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file no. 01459, 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 role of communities in this project, which include the Samburu, ElMolo and Pokomo communities of Kenya, appears to be very limited. The information provided suggests that community members were consulted during the drafting phase of the project, but this is not clearly demonstrated. Furthermore, the involvement of the communities in the implementation of the project, for example through training activities, is mentioned broadly without a clear description of their actual involvement and the modalities foreseen to ensure their active and direct engagement throughout the project.

Criterion A.2: Although the budget generally reflects the planned activities, it is not presented in a clear and comprehensive manner. The description of the calculations only reflects the funds requested from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund and does not include all sources of funding such as the State Party’s contribution. The level of detail provided for the expenditure lines of certain activities, such as the community visit and information meeting, is not sufficient to give an adequate justification for the planned expenditures in the proposed budget and this shortcoming makes it difficult to assess whether the budgeted amounts are appropriate.

Criterion A.3: With the main objective being to produce audiovisual materials that promote traditional foodways in Kenya, the proposed activities include script development, social media training, local community casting, and the production and dissemination of the audiovisual materials themselves. These are essentially presented as promotional activities to raise publicity, without any demonstration of how they would contribute to achieving the safeguarding objectives. Additional information is therefore needed to allow for a better assessment of their relevance to the safeguarding objectives and of their effectiveness in providing favourable conditions for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage for the three communities concerned. In addition, more detail is required for certain activities to understand whether they are well-conceived, such as the training activities for the communities. The feasibility of the project is also uncertain due to the insufficient description of the modalities for implementing the activities and the community's passive role in implementing the project.

Criterion A.4: The sustainability of the project seems to rely on the potential to raise publicity through the audiovisual productions. It is therefore difficult to understand how the proposed actions would guarantee an ongoing impact on safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. More precise information on how this project would concretely contribute to a sustainable strategy for safeguarding traditional foodways seems to be crucial.

Criterion A.5: The requesting State will share 15 per cent of the overall budget of the project for which International Assistance is requested from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund, while an unspecified funding source will cover 14 per cent.

Criterion A.6: The request indicates the training of community members on photography and video recording, social media and acting on camera. However, this is limited to general explanations and a clear description is lacking of the content of the training activities as well as how it relates to documentation as part of the safeguarding efforts. Therefore, the information provided on capacity building does not demonstrate how the activities could directly impact the capacities of the communities concerned to safeguard their traditional foodways. Furthermore, questions could be raised about risks of decontextualization as the community members are being trained to act for the audiovisual productions.

Criterion A.7: Kenya has benefitted from International Assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for two completed projects – ‘Traditions and practices associated with the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda’ (file no. 00326, 2011-2014, US$126,580), carried out by the Department of Culture, Ministry of State for National Heritage and Culture, and ‘Documenting and inventorying intangible cultural heritage of the pastoralist Samburu community in northern Kenya: a focus on the region of Mount Kulal biosphere reserve’ (file no. 01024, 2015-2016, US$24,038) by the National Museums of Kenya – as well as two ongoing projects – ‘Promotion of traditional pottery making practices in Eastern Kenya’ (file no. 01021, 2016-2017, US$23,388), implemented by the National Museums of Kenya, and ‘Safeguarding of Enkipaata, Eunoto and Olng’esherr, three male rites of passage of the Maasai community’ (file no. 00888, 2017-2020, US$144,430) by the Department of Culture, Ministry of State for National Heritage and Culture. Kenya also benefitted from Preparatory Assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for developing two nominations for the Urgent Safeguarding List – ‘Traditions and practices associated to the Kayas’ (file no. 00285, 2008-2009, US$6,000), coordinated by the Department of Culture, Ministry of State for National Heritage and Culture (element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List in 2009), and ‘Rituals and practices associated with Kit Mikayi shrine for the Luo community in Kenya’ (file no. 00632, 2013-2015, US$17,668), coordinated by the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Art (element proposed for inscription on the Urgent Safeguarding List in 2019). The work stipulated by the contracts related to these projects was and is being carried out in compliance with UNESCO’s regulations.

Paragraph 10(a): The project is national in scope and involves cooperation with potential partners from the public and private sectors, including the National Museums of Kenya and Adili Concept Ltd., a mass media and communications solution provider.

Paragraph 10(b): The requesting State is hopeful that the project would attract the interest of potential donors. However, such possible financial and technical contributions are cited in general terms and require further explanation.

  1. Decides to refer to the requesting State the International Assistance request for the project entitled Integrating ICT in promoting African food-ways through awareness raising and transmission of ICH for a more environmentally conscious and food secure societies: The case of the Samburu, ElMolo and Pokomo communities of Kenya and invites it to submit a revised request to the Bureau for examination at a forthcoming session;
  2. Recalls that the purpose of the assistance provided to States Parties from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund is to support them in their efforts to safeguard intangible cultural heritage as defined in Article 2 of the Convention, and that safeguarding measures should fully reflect the aspirations and wishes of the communities as active participants and emphasize strengthening the capacities of the communities concerned, with a view to continuing their safeguarding efforts in the future;
  3. Encourages the State Party, if it wishes to resubmit its request, to revise the content of the project, taking into account the abovementioned concerns, and to ensure that clear and transparent details are provided through the presentation of an accurate, coherent budget.