The Government of Italy was one of the first donor countries to support projects on intangible cultural heritage.
In addition to the obligatory contribution as a State Party to the 2003 Convention, Italy has been the first State to make an additional voluntary contribution to the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund of €150 000. Through this contribution, Italy wants to support developing countries that are committed to the safeguarding of their Intangible Cultural Heritage as an important element of their sustainable development policies.
Enhancing Women’s Role as Custodians and Artisans of Egyptian Handicrafts01-2005/05-2006, Egypt
For over centuries, women have used their innovative and artistic talents to create artefacts passing them from mother to daughter. The “Tally” embroidery, famous in Upper Egypt, and the cross-stitches embroidery of both Siwa and Sinai are unique forms of art dating back to the 19th century. This heritage is under threat because of the permeation of advanced and easier technologies, and a lack of market awareness.
In response to the threat of industrial standardization, the Egyptian National Council for Women (NCW) has taken initiatives with UNESCO to safeguard Egyptian intangible heritage manifested in the domains of traditional craftsmanship, oral traditions and expressions, proverbs and performing arts. This project included documentation in combination with the collection of all forms and patterns of the Tally. It also aimed at training young women artists, craftsmen, documentalists and teachers in recording and documenting the work and in accessing and retrieving historical artistic records. Furthermore, small-scale enterprises were developed to create gainful employment to women living in underserved regions and villages.
Improved Traditional Bead Production and Marketing in West Africa02-2002/01-2005, Ghana - Mali
Beads are widely used in West African cultures; major passages of life, for instance, are marked by the wearing of appropriate beads. In addition to their function in social and cultural expressions, the continuation of beads production is important for economic empowerment and sustainable development.
With a view to strengthening traditional beads production, the project included a survey on the production of traditional beads in Ghana and Mali and on their marketing. The resulting report led to a monograph entitled “Practical improved bead production manual”, which was distributed to stakeholders in these two countries. In addition, seven bead producers from Ghana and Mali attended a high-level workshop (Murano, Italy) in order to improve their bead production technology and marketing strategies.
This workshop provided the experts with the opportunity to establish an international network and to exchange knowledge. Furthermore, this domain of traditional craftsmanship and know-how, which has been transmitted orally for centuries, is now documented through a manual on bead making techniques. It is expected that this document will be used for vocational education, that it will help bead makers to improve their income, and that it will eventually support them to further develop and transmit their knowledge and skills to future generations.
Revitalisation of Traditional Masquerade Performing Arts and Costume Making05-2002/08-2004, Dominica - Saint Lucia - Saint Kitts and Nevis
Masquerade performing arts and costume-making traditions in the Caribbean derive from traditions of enslaved persons brought to the region during the three hundred year Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. These performing arts, that are rich in symbolism and social values, encompass various significant narrative and creative traditions, and play a vital role in maintaining the cultural identity within a community. However, they are particularly vulnerable to many adverse impacts of globalisation.
- The project was designed to identify, safeguard and revitalise traditional masquerade arts in three Caribbean countries, namely, Saint Lucia, the Commonwealth of Dominica and St Kitts–Nevis
- Transmission of this heritage
- Development of pilot projects in the field of tourism
- Assisting the tradition bearers to implement safeguarding projects
- Establish income-generating activities.
- Community based research and training related to the traditional masquerade arts
- Community based research and training related to costume-making in the Caribbean
- Recognition of the income-generating potential of this art form particularly in the field of tourism
- Economical empowerment of several practitioners and craft workers