West Africa Coalition for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (WACIPR) - WACIPR


Contact: (+234) 805 255 9526; (+254) 803 715 5488
Adresse postale: No. 4, Otokiti Street off Uwelu Road P. O. Box 4228 Benin City
Couverture géographique de l’expertise de la ONG: Libéria, Nigéria, Sierra Leone

Date de création: 2004

Mesure de sauvegarde:

- identification, documentation, recherche (dont la réalisation d'inventaires)
- préservation, protection
- promotion, mise en valeur
- transmission, éducation (non-)formelle
- revitalisation

Principaux domaines de travail liés à la Convention:

The West Africa Coalition for Indigenous peoples' Rights WACIPR has recently been involved in the following activities- 1. Preservation of languages facing danger of possible extinction in many indigenous communities in Nigeria and Sierra Leone 2. Compilation of Traditional Pharmacopoeia based on traditional knowledge 3. Establishment of local orchaestra and conservatoire to preserve the cherished ancient music and dances steps of the indigenous communities. 4. Documentation and staging the age-long festivals of the indigenous peoples which are their renowned cultural heritage 5. Lobbying for legislative protection of the cultural heritage of indigenous communities based. WACIPR is a coalition of indigenous groups and people with many affiliating communities with the aim of promoting their cultural and social well-being. Its membership spreads across Nigeria, Sierra-Leone and Liberia. The NGO has been well represented in many local, national and international floras including the Working Group on Indigenous Populations the United Nations permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues UNPFII. Membership is open to all indigenous communities and people who often bring in their vast experiences in the preservation propagation and transmission of intangible cultural heritage. Members and personnel of the disorganization has attended several trainings and workshops/seminars in-situ and ex-situ. The members include Historians, Anthropologists, Musicologists Archaeologists, Linguists, Theatre Artists Volunteer Researchers and Documentation experts Some members are also knowledgeable in oral tradition. Additional information: Our indigenous peoples are truly traditional who strongly and jealously maintain their oral folklore which they see as expression of their cultural heritage and survival amidst the ubiquitous challenges of acculturation and assimilation from the ethnic majorities. The local dialects are constantly under the siege of mass culture that are imported and of dominant language groups. To check the threat of obliteration, the West Africa Coalition for Indigenous People’s Rights WACIPR has recently taken the following steps. 1. Agitation for the inclusive and use of mother tongue as language in primary school curriculum in schools located in indigenous communities. This was part of the interventions made by WACIPR at the 5th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues UNPFII in 2006 and at the 23rd session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations WGIP in 2005. 2. WACIPR has also prepared a memo to the Edo state Government of Nigeria to establish community radio station(s) in indigenous people’s communities to sustain preserve and propagate their culture through its programmes. 3. WACIPR recently volunteered to provide translators, and artistes to local television and radio stations as a way of preserving the endangered dialects of the indigenous people. 4. The organization is also compiling almost forgotten words in some indigenous dialects for future generations. 5.WACIPR has a vast archives of old indigenous folk songs, visuals of festival dance steps, recitals etc. It stages cultural festival competitions among indigenous communities every three years. The last festival competition was held in 2008. The event is an occasion the participating communities look forward to with enthusiasm. Safeguarding Traditional Pharmacopoeia The organisation has been able to bring trado-medical health providers to agree to release information on ancient traditional knowledge on the use of curative plants. The knowledge was passed to them informally by their forebears and hither to kept secret in the respective families, is now being documented to preserve it from the threat of going into oblivion. The vast knowledge of the curative vascular plants which have been identified is systematically classified. WACIPR is in the process of botanical propagation of the vascular plants to safeguard sustainable use for the future generations.


The objectives of the West Africa Coalition for indigenous peoples Rights WACIPR include 1. Authentication: The NGO continually seeks and advocates that the traditional knowledge and folklore of the over one hundred and forty - seven indigenous communities in which it executes its mandate, are authenticated to belong to the communities. 2. Cultural Protocols: Establishing procedures including legal protection to prevent the abuse of the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous people. 3. Communal Ownership: The cultural Heritage of indigenous communities are jointly owned and does not belong to individuals and as such there must be collective agreement and consent to access traditional knowledge and folklore. 4. Non Expropriation: The indigenous communities desire to guard against the removal of items of folklore and traditional knowledge from the places of origin. The communities see their folklore as testimony of the origin, past and spiritual tie to their progenitors. They fear that they might be destroyed and diluted. 5. Poverty alleviation: Some aspects of folklore and traditional knowledge are transformed into arts and perfonnances which are marketed to alleviate4 poverty in the indigenous communities. Hence there is need to guard against infringement on copyright.


WACIPR as a community - based organisation represent the interest of the over one hundred and forty-seven communities who expect it to advocate their cultural rights, lobby for legislative protection of their cultural heritage. The NGO in collaboration with the indigenous communities have set up customs repositories in various settlements and villages. All transactions with people andorganisations on behalf of the indigenous communities are carried out on Mutually Agreed Terms approved by the authorities of the communities. For example, the NGO made a statement on behalf of the communities atz the fifth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on indigenous Issues in 2005, in New York. Several exhibitions of Traditional Cultural Expressions have been organised to display the cultural heritage of the indigenous communities and peoples through the active participation of artists and practitioners.