UNESCO Nairobi supports Lake Turkana Festival 2011
Every May 21st, UNESCO marks the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. To mark this day for the year 2011, UNESCO Nairobi Office partnered with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Nairobi and the National Museums of Kenya to organise the Lake Turkana Festival 2011.
The Lake Turkana Festival 2011 took place from 13 to 15 May 2011 in Loiyangalani on the South-Eastern shores of the ‘Jade Lake’ popularly known as “Lake Turkana”. The First festival was held back in 2008 on a request from the local community living around the oasis of Loiyangalani to the German Embassy. Since then the Festival has become an annual event. The main purpose is to promote peace and reconciliation among the local communities around Lake Turkana by giving them an opportunity for cross-cultural cooperation and exchange thereby reducing and even eliminating the frequent ethnic conflicts in the region.
Set against the stunning geographical features of Loiyangalani, the three-day Festival, offered a chance for representatives of the Rendille, El Molo, Pokot, Samburu,Turkana, Gabbra, Dassanach and Borana to present their respective cultures through the display of spectacular traditional costumes, arts and crafts, dances and music to each other and to visitors. The Festival also focused on creating awareness on sustainable development not only in the cultural but also in the economic and environmental fields. To raise awareness on the impending developments for the region, the festival also included a workshop on “Resource Use Assessment” for the local community.
Given the limited knowledge on the development potential of the Lake Turkana region, the Festival provides the opportunity for locals and visitors alike to explore this culturally and geographically unique region and to promote it as a unique and fascinating part of the country.