09.03.2011 -

Community-based intangible heritge inventorying in six selected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

Project evaluation for pilot projects

The community inventorying project, funded through UNESCO by the Flanders Government, was aimed at organizing a series of pilot projects in six selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa namely, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi,Swaziland, Zambia and Uganda. Its main objective was to establish a community based inventorying process through participatory and integrated approach of actively involving community members in the selected countries.

The project enabled UNESCO to accomplish a number of important steps notably, the training workshops, the first of their kind in the concerned countries, followed by several months of fieldwork with the communities and cultural elders to inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) elements. Inventorying activities were concluded and this follow up meeting which aimed at evaluating the quality of the exercise and improving applied methodologies, took place from 9th to 11th March, 2011. The project achievements contributed significantly to the practical implementation of the 2003 convention provisions as well as the capacity development not only in the concerned countries, but in the sub region as a whole.

The aim of the evaluation workshop was to share experiences, analyze achievements, and challenges encountered and most importantly, propose the way forward in improving the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Delivered through presentations and discussions, the principle outcomes of the inventorying exercise were as follows:

• A deeper understanding of the 2003 convention and
ways of its interpretation into simple actions within
• Heightened sense of responsibility and pride in
their role in identifying and keeping alive ICH within
Basoga community;
• Lessons on the shortcomings and improvements
required for the inventorying tools in order to adapt
its use to the Ugandan context;
• Agreement on the terms of a continuing partnership
between the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social
Development, the centre of Creative and Performing
Arts and Culture, the National Commission for
UNESCO and the members of the fieldwork team to
continue the inventorying ICH in Busoga;
• Field workers’ appreciation of the skills and
knowledge gained through the inventorying process
and their willingness to act as tutors to others;
• The government of Uganda through the
Commissioner for Culture reiterated its commitment
to the conservation of ICH and its pledge for support
on capacity building at community and country levels.

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