Building capacities for community-based intangible cultural heritage inventorying in Southern Africa
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The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage aims at safeguarding living heritage. Unlike tangible heritage that is conventionally managed by heritage experts (e.g., architects, archaeologists, and conservators), intangible cultural heritage requires a participatory approach to safeguarding involving various stakeholders, most important of whom are the communities concerned. Among the obligations of States Parties to the Convention, the one that is expressed in the strongest language is the duty to elaborate one or more inventories of the intangible heritage present on their territories with the participation of the communities concerned. An effective strategy to ensure the active participation of communities in the implementation of the Convention is to have them inventory their own heritage.
The Lesotho workshop is one of the activities of the capacity-building project aiming at strengthening community-based inventorying capacity. This initial training workshop in Lesotho will be followed by similar ones in Botswana, Malawi, Uganda, Swaziland, and Zambia. The workshop participants will then engage themselves in several months of fieldwork in each country separately. Follow-up sessions will be organized to evaluate the quality of exercises and improve methodologies.
The project is backed up by UNESCO Secretariat in Paris as well as the Culture programme staff in the cluster offices in Harare, Nairobi and Windhoek.
The workshop and the project are sponsored by the UNESCO/Flanders Trust Fund and organized in cooperation with the Lesotho UNESCO National Commission and the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture of Lesotho
- Basic Challenges of Sustaining Intangible Cultural Heritage: English
- Basic Challenges of Sustaining Intangible Cultural Heritage: Safeguarding ICH: English
- Inventorying Intangible Cultural Heritage: Some Basic Considerations: English
Contact in the UNESCO Office in Windhoek: Mr Damir Dijakovic (email@example.com)
A series of pilot projects in community-based intangible heritage inventorying on a grassroots-level in six selected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa09-2009/12-2011, Botswana - Lesotho - Malawi - Uganda - Eswatini - Zambia
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The project was implemented by conducting a series of pilot ICH inventory-making activities, on a grassroots level, in six beneficiary Sub-Saharan African countries, namely Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Uganda, Swaziland and Zambia. It was composed of four phases:
- Phase I dealt with the selection of six pilot communities (one in each country) in a demand-driven manner;
- Phase II was the initial capacity-building training workshops that took place in all six abovementioned countries;
- Phase III included several months of fieldwork involving the selected communities and cultural officers to inventory ICH; and
- Phase IV was follow-up sessions that were organized to evaluate the quality of exercises and improve methodologies.
Several achievements that are commonly shared by the six participating countries:
- Awareness about the concept of intangible cultural heritage, the 2003 Convention, as well as the importance of ICH in society was raised;
- The capacity of the communities, government institutions and civil society was built and they were encouraged to support intangible cultural heritage safeguarding and inventorying;
- Capacity in inventorying and other ICH safeguarding measures was reinforced among national and regional cultural officers and members of the communities;
- Measures for continued safeguarding and inventorying at national and community levels were devised;
- The traditional leadership was very much involved as some helped with resources which showed how welcoming they were as they also gave vital information. This made it possible for the field workers to work freely within the communities;
- The involvement of youths was recognized during the inventorying exercises.