The national body charged with the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage is the Direction du Patrimoine culturel (DPC, Directorate of Cultural Heritage) within the Ministry of Culture, which has established an Intangible Heritage Division. Given that culture is a devolved power, the DPC operates through the Centres Culturels Régionaux (CCR, Regional Cultural Centres) situated in the country’s 14 regions. Within its new cultural development policy, Senegal gives a fundamental place to intangible cultural heritage under the National Programme for the Promotion of Cultural Diversity launched in 2013. Under this policy, CCRs are now strengthened and better equipped with personnel trained in inventory-making techniques. These personnel will play a key role in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage under the supervision of the DPC. They will serve as the interface with local communities who are heritage bearers and with local Regions, Communes and Rural Communities which must incorporate the cultural dimension into their local development plans.
The DPC provides specialized training in aspects of implementing the Convention. As far as other bodies involved in intangible cultural heritage safeguarding training are concerned, three university programmes provide training programmes for local elected officials and municipal technical staff, with support from a Paris-based non-governmental organization, the Association internationale des maires francophones (AIMF, International Association of Francophone Mayors). These are the École nationale des arts (ENA), the Institut supérieur des arts et de la culture (ISAC) at Université Cheikh Anta Diop Dakar, and the Unité de Formation et de Recherche des Civilisations, Religions, Arts et Communication (UFR-CRAC) at Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis.
Documentation is collected and/or held in collections by the DPC and the National Archives of Senegal and two scientific institutions, namely ISAC and UFR-CRAC, which have established institutes and departments dedicated to cultural heritage research. In addition, students are encouraged to undertake research in intangible cultural heritage fields. The aforementioned institutions are all public ones and so are open to researchers, students, non-governmental organizations and other interested parties to access information on intangible cultural heritage.
As far as inventorying is concerned, a national campaign to collect oral traditions was undertaken under the aegis of the Directorate for Cultural Archives from 1970 to 1984. This was an inventory, although with a different format from that envisaged by the Convention. The inventory was undertaken in every region and included the most significant but also the most threatened elements. The information collected was collated in catalogues along with audio-visual aids and included in a database in the DPC. This database has contributed to putting on exhibitions, making documentaries and preparing nomination files (e.g. for the Xooy element). From 2004 to 2005, a specific inventory for each of five cultural expressions (Xooy, Kankurang, Gumbe, Yeela and the traditional rite of tattooing) was undertaken in order to prepare nomination files for the programme of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
In 2011, the process of developing a national intangible cultural heritage inventory was begun with a training workshop held by DPC for the 14 CCRs, aimed at bringing the information held up-to-date. A pilot was undertaken on the intangible cultural heritage of the peoples of the water, in particular the Lebu people of the Dakar region, and the Minister is now seeking the means to complete this task. The local Regions, Communes and Rural Communities are able to prepare inventories of their locality, but with the technical support of the DPC which is the national body responsible for this process. All of these inventories have been subject to a consensus among the local people and given the blessing of the local traditional Chiefs who set the rules and designated local resource persons appropriate for working on the ground. Finally, starting in February 2013, the Ministry of Culture initiated the Programme national de promotion de la diversité culturelle (National Programme for the Promotion of Cultural Diversity) with the collection and documenting of the ten most significant expressions in each of Senegal’s 45 departments. Seven regions had just been completed at the time of reporting.
As for measures to integrate safeguarding intangible cultural heritage into planning or development programmes, within the framework of its Poverty Reduction Strategy, the State has included culture (in the form of a TICA cluster, for Tourism, Cultural Industries and Crafts) as one of four drivers of accelerated growth. The new theme, ‘Culture and Development’, is now becoming an important lever in local development policies. It is from this perspective that awareness-raising and information have been included in workshops under the Cultural Heritage and Local Development Project. These are aimed at local elected officials with the cooperation of the AIMF, and are intended to help local Regions, Communes and Rural Communities to identify, recognize and safeguard their intangible cultural heritage.
Among measures to disseminate intangible cultural heritage, to support its transmission and raise awareness, the DPC organizes National Heritage Days annually that are aimed at making the general population and especially young people more aware of the values of intangible cultural heritage and the need to safeguard it. A ministerial Order (of 2006) provides for the recognition of Living Human Treasures with the aim of safeguarding the transmission of traditional knowledge and know-how. Five Living Human Treasures have been given national recognition and their celebration has been widely welcomed.
With regard to bilateral, sub-regional, regional and international cooperation, the Senegal National Commission for UNESCO held an early sub-regional seminar on intangible cultural heritage in 2004. Senegal participates regularly in the activities of the African World Heritage Fund established to improve the representativeness of cultural natural heritage on the World Heritage List. All of its research and training modules on African sites accord a fundamental place to intangible cultural heritage which underpins the cultural significance of these sites. The West African Economic Union has had several cultural programmes with a community dynamic, e.g. programmes on the safeguarding and conservation of audio-visual archives and on support for cultural industries. A network of heritage professionals and museum conservators exists under the École du patrimoine africain (EPA, School of African Heritage), and this constitutes an important community of experts in West Africa.
Kankurang, a Manding initiatory rite, was incorporated into the Representative List in 2008 (having been proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005). Its proclamation and inscription have encouraged other ethnic groups to seek recognition for their own intangible cultural heritage and complain to the State when it has not been selected. This is considered very effective for raising awareness in these communities for the better safeguarding of their intangible cultural heritage, with the hope for its future nomination. With support from the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust, the Action Plan for the Safeguarding of the Kankurang, Manding Initiatory Rite (2007-2010) had the aim of enhancing its safeguarding and promotion. Although bearers and local communities directly safeguard Kankurang themselves through a traditional structure that does not allow for external intervention, a Management Committee has been put in place (under the Action Plan) to ensure the adequate safeguarding of the element. The present report on the element was based on the most recent evaluation reports for the Action Plan and consultation with representatives of the local Committee of Mbour.