Decision of the Bureau: 11.COM 3.BUR 4

The Bureau,

  1. Recalling Chapter V of the Convention and Chapter I of the Operational Directives,
  2. Further recalling Document ITH/15/10.COM 10.c, as well as Decision 10.COM10.c.2,
  3. Having examined Document ITH/16/11.COM 3.BUR/4, as well as the international assistance request no. 00888,
  4. Takes note that Kenya has requested International Assistance for a project entitled Safeguarding of Enkipaata, Eunoto and Olng’esherr, three male rites of passage of the Maasai community:

The three male rites of the Maasai community represent stages in the preparation of boys for adulthood – a process called moranism that involves the transmission of indigenous knowledge, including Maasai rituals, legends, traditions and life skills. Enkipaata is the name for the induction ceremony, Eunoto heralds the shaving of initiates before their seclusion in the bush for training, and Olng’esherr is the meat‑eating ceremony marking the end of moranism and the beginning of eldership. The rites involve the whole community and feature songs, folktales, proverbs, riddles and events, thus providing the Maasai community with a sense of cultural identity and continuity. However, traditional modes of transmission have greatly weakened since the beginning of the 1980s as a result of reduced frequency and participation, with an increasing number of boys remaining at home and occupied with formal education. Implemented by the Department of Culture of the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts in all nine clans of Maasai communities, the project activities include: workshops to promote community‑based inventorying of intangible cultural heritage, a mapping exercise to protect the associated natural spaces, research and documentation of the practice, community meetings between elders and youth to empower the young people with knowledge and skills relevant for safeguarding the practice, as well as mentoring of youth for future transmission.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance concerns support for a project carried out at local level aimed at safeguarding 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$144,430 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for implementation of the project;
  3. Decides that from the information provided in the revised file no. 00888, 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 active involvement of the Maasai communities in the preparation, implementation and evaluation of the project; the Council of elders from the nine clans of Maasai community worked with the Department of Culture to prepare the request; the central role of the Maasai communities throughout the different phases of the project is adequately outlined in the request including their participation in research, documentation and inventorying activities,  their free, prior and informed consent on collected data, and in their involvement in mentorship programmes during school holidays.

Criterion A.2: The proposed budget is broken down in sufficient detail and is consistent with the planned activities, thereby demonstrating the appropriateness of the amount of assistance requested.

Criterion A.3: The project is well structured and describes a series of eight activities from preliminary meetings, training on community-based inventorying, a mapping exercise, research and documentation as well as educational activities to monitoring and evaluation of the project; activities seem adequately conceived to achieve the expected results according to a calendar, which seems realistic within the expected duration of three years.

Criterion A.4: The active involvement of communities, including young people, is expected to contribute to the project’s sustainability after its completion, through their improved knowledge and skills on community-based inventorying and safeguarding; the project also seeks to ensure continued transmission to the young generation through the dissemination of written and audiovisual materials on the three male rites of passage in schools as well as through other government-funded initiatives, such as the annual Kenya Music and Cultural Festivals; measures are planned to extend the cooperation mechanisms established under the project between the Maasai communities and the Department of Culture beyond its end.

Criterion A.5: The submitting State will share 19% of the total amount of the project for which International Assistance is requested, and additional 13% will be covered by the Maasai communities themselves.

Criterion A.6: The request demonstrates that the proposed activities will build up capacities in the field of safeguarding intangible heritage of different stakeholders concerned, including all age segments of the nine clans of the Maasai community and officers from the Department of Culture and its partners; communities will acquire safeguarding knowledge and skills related to community-based inventorying, including to the identification and securing of natural spaces associated to the practice; younger members of the Maasai community will benefit from transmission of knowledge related to the three male rites from the elders through education and mentorship programmes while officers from concerned institutions will have the opportunity to enhance their capacities on research and documentation of intangible cultural heritage through their participation in recording, data collection and analysis.

Criterion A.7: Kenya has been a beneficiary of International Assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund five 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) inscribed in 2009 and on ‘Rituals and practices associated with Kit Mikayi shrine of the Luo community in Kenya’ (2013–15; US$17,668) to be examined by the eleventh session of the Committee at the end of 2016; and three times in the form of financial assistance for projects entitled ‘Traditions and practices associated with the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda’ (2011–14; US$126,580) carried out by the same implementing agency as with the present project, ‘Documenting and inventorying intangible cultural heritage of the pastoralist Samburu community in northern Kenya: a focus on the region of Mount Kulal biosphere reserve’ (2015-16; US$24,038) and ‘Promotion of traditional pottery making practices in Eastern Kenya’ (2016-ongoing; US$23,388) both implemented by the National Museums of Kenya; work stipulated by contracts related to completed projects was carried out in compliance with UNESCO regulations.

Paragraph 10(a): The project is local in scope and involves national partners such as the National Museums of Kenya, the Permanent Presidential Music Commission, the Cultural Initiative for Biodiversity Conservation and the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO as well as the Kajiado and Narok County Governments.

Paragraph 10(b): The request indicates a potential multiplier effect in terms of future funding and support from existing partners to the project or new partners who could join in the future such as the Ministry of Education; they all have pledged to either continue documenting the three male rites of the Maasai community and disseminating knowledge about them in schools or collaborate directly with the Maasai communities to safeguard them; these efforts are expected to complement the Department of Culture’s ongoing commitment to allocate a budget for the safeguarding of these practices in the next financial year and to dedicate its officers with expertise in intangible cultural heritage to drive the safeguarding process.

  1. Commends the effort made by the State Party to revise the request in line with the recommendations of the Evaluation Body, as endorsed by the Committee in its Decision 10.COM 10.c.2;
  2. Approves, as authorized body, the revised international assistance request from Kenya for a project entitled Safeguarding of Enkipaata, Eunoto and Olng’esherr, three male rites of passage of the Maasai community (No. 00888) and to grant an amount of US$144,430 to the State Party to this end;
  3. 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 of activities to be covered by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund;
  4. Invites the State Party to use the ICH-04-Report Form when reporting on the use of assistance provided.