Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in Basic Education in Namibia and Zimbabwe

Dates of implementation
01/06/2022 - 01/06/2024
Namibia, Zimbabwe
Government of Flanders, Belgium, UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA), Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust


  • Safeguard and support the transmission of living heritage, enhance dialogue between communities and provide inclusive education to learners and teachers, while promoting creativity and innovation, thereby contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Support the national education systems of Namibia and Zimbabwe in implementing a whole-school approach for integrating learners’ living heritage into basic education, thereby promoting transformative education for sustainable development and peace.
  • For Namibia and Zimbabwe to utilize strengthened human and institutional capacities to inform policy dialogue and participate in knowledge-sharing and networking platforms, thereby anchoring a transformative methodology in national education systems.

Education plays a key role in safeguarding living heritage. The project ‘Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in Basic Education in Namibia and Zimbabwe’, demonstrates how incorporating living heritage in education can improve its quality and relevance. Namibia and Zimbabwe are taking steps to establish heritage-based curricula and through this project, hope to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal 4, particularly its target 4.7, by improving educational relevance and quality while supporting the transmission of living heritage to younger generations.

Launched on 28th February 2023 by both countries, the project aims to promote an innovative and transformative methodology of learning with living heritage through a whole-school community-based approach – involving learners, teachers, staff and the wider community. This project is supported by the Government of Flanders, Belgium and implemented by the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) in partnership with the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust.

Implementing Living Heritage in Education systems of the Pilot Countries

Namibia and Zimbabwe have been selected as the pilot countries for this project thanks to their progress in cultural heritage-based education. Incorporating living heritage in schools can help contextualize how and what the students learn, aims to create stronger connections between classrooms and learners’ everyday life, as well as to strengthen their sense of pride for their own cultures and respect for others.

To achieve this, the initiative will train teachers in 24 pilot schools in both countries, as well as other relevant stakeholders such as local school administrators and government representatives. The project aims to mobilize human and institutional capacities to inform policy dialogue between decision makers and local actors and inspire the revision of education policies in both countries.

Namibia and Zimbabwe

The project will target the following 4 provinces in Namibia: Khomas, Karas, Zambezi and Omaheke, and the following 3 regions in Zimbabwe: Mashonaland Central, Masvingo and Matabeleland North. Inception meetings with provincial (Zimbabwe) and regional (Namibia) education inspectors will be scheduled at the onset of the project to ensure that the selected provinces and regions are identified as priority areas for the governments in view of a gradual nation-wide upscaling.

The first phase of the project will focus on strengthening the capacities of the teachers and other key actors and developing a methodological framework and tools to implement a whole-school approach for integrating living heritage in school-based learning. The second component foresees to mobilize the strengthened human and institutional capacities to inform policy dialogue and development as well as knowledge-sharing and networking platforms. Each stage of the project will contribute to strengthening the capacities of the different actors and institutions with the aim of anchoring this transformative methodology in the national education system of both countries.

Project Outputs

  • In February 2023, the project was launched in a hybrid format, marking its official start.
  • In its first phase of implementation, technical working groups have been created within the Governments of Namibia and Zimbabwe, including representatives from the government, the National Commission, UNESCO Country Offices, the academic community, living heritage practitioners and the National Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) committees. Additionally, the required expertise has been identified for the development of methodology and formative assessment frameworks.


The expected overall impact of the project is to foster the appreciation and safeguarding of living heritage as an integral part of quality and transformative education in the national education systems of Namibia and Zimbabwe. This would also contribute to the well-being, creativity and dignity of learners and their communities as well as to work towards achieving the SDGs, notably SDG 4 on quality education.

The project would ensure that a robust methodology for heritage-based education is anchored in national policies and available to enrich teacher training courses and curriculum development in the future. The innovative methodology of learning with living heritage will be embedded in a whole-school community-based approach.

See the main page for this project here.

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