Decision of the Bureau: 14.COM 1.BUR 3.5

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 LHE/19/14.COM 1.BUR/3 as well as International Assistance request no. 01524 submitted by Zambia,
  3. Takes note that Zambia has requested International Assistance for the project entitled Inventorying of Kuyabila of the Tonga ethnic group of Zambia:

Implemented by Zambia’s Ministry of Tourism and Arts, the proposed twelve-month project aims to undertake an inventory of the Tonga ethnic group’s poems in the Monze and Namwala districts of the country’s southern province. Accompanied by music and a special dance, kuyabila is the poetry of the Tonga people that is performed during various social gatherings such as funerals, festivals, initiation rites, and other traditional ceremonies. It also serves as an educational tool in sensitizing community members to issues such as gender-based violence and health concerns. However, the majority of kuyabila practitioners today are elderly, putting the practice at risk of extinction if safeguarding measures are not pursued. In light of this situation, the project seeks to safeguard and promote kuyabila through the following activities: awareness-raising meetings in the community; capacity-building training in conducting inventory-making; inventorying of thirty poems; and the organization of a poetry festival to draw public attention.

  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 Zambia has requested assistance in the amount of US$99,977 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of this project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file no. 01524, 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 demonstrates the active role of the communities from the southern province of Zambia in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the project. The participation of communities is intended to be fostered particularly through wide consultation, and includes custodians, traditional leaders and members of community-based organizations. While the involvement of the communities is foreseen in the implementation process, from identifying the custodians to validating and disseminating the results of the project, some more details would be helpful to understand how they will take part in these activities from a practical standpoint.

Criterion A.2: Although the budget reflects the proposed activities, it is not presented in a sufficiently comprehensive and accurate manner. The lack of an adequate explanation and justification of the projected expenses throughout the budget, along with the inconsistencies between the description of the activities and the planned expenditures, makes it difficult to determine whether the amount requested is appropriate. Furthermore, the budget contains a number of calculation errors and certain expenses foreseen in the planned activities, such as the purchase of a projector, are not included in the budget.

Criterion A.3: The project proposes a series of seven activities aimed at inventorying and safeguarding the kuyabila practice of the Tonga ethnic group. They are presented in a logical sequence from awareness-raising meetings and training to inventorying and the promotion of the element concerned. However, the lack of detailed information on the implementation methods of the activities, as well as the discrepancies between the activities and the proposed budget, make it difficult to assess whether the activities are well conceived. The timetable could also be reviewed to ensure that the duration of the project is sufficiently long for the expected outputs to be achieved.

Criterion A.4: The involvement of youth in the activities is presented as an important factor in ensuring the sustainability of the project and is expected to enhance knowledge of and the transmission of skills relating to the kuyabila practice beyond the completion of the project. The request also implies that the documentation of the practice may contribute to further learning and research initiatives.

Criterion A.5: The requesting State will share 5 per cent of the overall budget of the project for which International Assistance is requested from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund.

Criterion A.6: The project has a clear capacity-building objective to enhance the skills and knowledge of the communities concerned to document and inventory their intangible cultural heritage. Forty intangible culture heritage practitioners will be trained on the principles of the Convention, safeguarding measures and community-based inventorying. The district cultural officers and staff from the University of Zambia will also benefit from the project and its activities in strengthening their abilities for safeguarding.

Criterion A.7: Zambia has benefitted from International Assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for two completed projects, entitled ‘Inventorying of proverbs of Lala community of Luano District of Zambia’ (file no. 01216, 2016-2017, US$24,999.90) and ‘Inventorying of the music and dance of the Lozi and Nkoya people of Kaoma District’ (file no. 01217, 2016-2017, US$24,928.30), as well as one ongoing project, entitled ‘Strengthen the capacity for the safeguarding and management of intangible cultural heritage in Zambia’ (file no. 01281, 2018-2021, US$334,820). 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 local in scope and its implementation involves national and local partners, including community-based organizations, the University of Zambia and the National Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee.

Paragraph 10(b): The request intends to stimulate technical contributions from the Department of Arts and Culture and motivate other communities to replicate similar projects; however, these are referred to in an abstract manner. The request also indicates that the poetry festival would attract local and international tourists, which may lead to concerns about de-contextualization of the practice and the distortion of its meaning for the practitioners.

  1. Decides to refer to the requesting State the International Assistance request for the project entitled Inventorying of Kuyabila of the Tonga ethnic group of Zambia and invites it to submit a revised request to the Bureau for examination at a forthcoming session;
  2. Encourages the State Party, if it wishes to resubmit its request, to revise the content of the project, taking into account the above-mentioned concerns, and to ensure that there is a clear correspondence between the proposed activities and the budget and that clear and transparent details are provided through the presentation of an accurate and coherent budget.