Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 15.COM 8.D.2

The Committee,

  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/20/15.COM/8.d as well as International Assistance request no. 01498 submitted by Malawi,

  3. Takes note that Malawi has requested International Assistance for the project entitled Safeguarding of ludodiversity of Malawi through non-formal education and community transmission:

To be implemented by the Malawi National Commission for UNESCO, the overall objective of this project is to contribute to the safeguarding of ludodiversity in Malawi through non-formal learning and community transmission. In 2013, an inventory of ludodiversity in the country was developed by practitioners with the assistance of living heritage experts; thirty-two traditional games were inventoried and a safeguarding plan developed. This thirty-six-month project aims to safeguard ludodiversity through the non-formal learning of nine of these traditional games, as well as through their informal transmission by and within the practising communities. Specifically, the project aims to: organize consultations between communities practising the same types of games with sports development experts as observers, to achieve consensus on the general rules and regulations of the games; publish a handbook containing these rules and regulations and distribute 2,000 copies to teacher training colleges, community libraries and schools; train local primary school teachers and youth through apprenticeships with community practitioners; and organize the first regional annual festival of traditional games by practising communities. Based on active community participation, the project is expected to strengthen capacities to document, manage and publicize living heritage, as well as to enhance the capacities of the National Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee to coordinate the participation of practising communities, groups and individuals.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance is to support a project implemented at the national 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 Malawi has requested assistance in the amount of US$347,164 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of this project;

  3. Considers that, from the information included in the file, 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 project activities revolve around the communities concerned. The request includes a detailed description of how the traditional leaders, community youth, teachers, audiovisual technicians, researchers and practitioners of traditional games will actively participate in all stages of the project. Information is also provided on the involvement of the community-based organizations Nsikwa Foundation for the popularisation of Nsikwa game and Mbalika Association for the popularisation of the Mbalika game. These organizations used their networks to reach areas where some traditional games were still being practised.

Criterion A.2: The State Party has specified most of the expenses for the activities mentioned in the request. However, there are some concerns about the budget breakdown being too focused on organizing the festival of games. Furthermore, the file does not sufficiently demonstrate how the costs to be incurred by the communities in implementing the project would be covered. Moreover, there are several inconsistencies between the timetable and the description of activities.

Criterion A.3: The purpose of the project is to safeguard nine traditional games through study, documentation, apprenticeship, the formation of groups and awareness-raising. The activities proposed to achieve the objectives of the project seem to be well conceived and feasible. This might be thanks to the fact that the project is the result of ongoing activities in the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, supported by UNESCO and with the involvement of various stakeholders.

Criterion A.4: The request states that the communities will be able to access the documentation produced during the project through the traditional leaders, community libraries and schools. The field experience acquired by the youth could be used to conduct further documentation of intangible cultural heritage when needed. However, there is no convincing argument that some results of the project would be sustainable after the funding has come to an end, for instance the organization of the festival.

Criterion A.5: The State Party plans to contribute four per cent of the total amount of the project for which International Assistance is requested from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund.

Criterion A.6: During the implementation of the project, the capacities of the communities (traditional leaders, practitioners, teachers and community youth) will be improved in several ways, including their capacity to document, transmit and raise awareness about their intangible cultural heritage, and manage projects directed at its safeguarding. The capacities of researchers, audiovisual technicians, the media and government officials to document, manage and publicize living heritage, among other tasks, will also be enhanced. Finally, the capacities of the stakeholders concerned – including non-governmental organizations – to coordinate safeguarding efforts through a participatory approach will also be increased.

Criterion A.7: Malawi has benefitted from International Assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund three times, for the projects entitled ‘Safeguarding of Nkhonde, Tumbuka and Chewa proverbs and folktales’ (file no. 01060, 2015-2017, US$90,533), ‘Development of an inventory of intangible heritage of Malawi’ (file no. 00609, 2012-2013, US$24,947) and the ongoing project ‘Safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in Malawi through non-formal learning and transmission’ (file no. 01530, 2019-2021, US$91,860). The work stipulated by the contracts related to these projects has so far been carried out in compliance with UNESCO’s regulations.

Paragraph 10(a): The scope of the project is national, with the UNESCO National Commission for Malawi being essential to its financial and administrative aspects. Different roles are described for different actors/partners. However, the request does not elaborate on all of these in sufficient detail given the budget requested. Minimal mention is made of the Education Department, though schools will play a crucial role in the success of the initiative. Associations are mentioned, but there is insufficient information related to their organization, governance and sustainability.

Paragraph 10(b): The request states that the universities and communities concerned will be encouraged to use the results of the project to raise more funds to continue practising the traditional games as well as to implement other safeguarding measures for other games and elements. The request also expresses the hope that the publications produced during the project will further stimulate the Ministry of Education to focus on and invest in educational documentation inspired by local cultural traditions and, in particular, traditional games. Nevertheless, such traditions need to be further integrated into educational curricula. Some potential multiplier effects are mentioned in various parts of the text. However, there are no reasonable arguments in the file to indicate that this will take place and be sustained after the project and its funding have come to an end.

  1. Decides to refer to the requesting State Party the International Assistance request for the project entitled Safeguarding of ludodiversity of Malawi through non-formal education and community transmission and invites it to submit a revised request to the Committee for examination during a following cycle.