Cultural centre in the Nicaraguan Caribbean resumes its activities after reconstruction of infrastructure

The Integrated Centre for Culture in the city of Bilwi, head of the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region, Nicaragua, has resumed its activities after several months of reconstruction work on its infrastructure. In November 2020, hurricanes Eta and Iota caused significant loss of life and damage to homes and livelihoods of local populations, and partially destroyed the Integrated Centre for Culture. In coordination with the local authorities, UNESCO has carried out the rehabilitation of this building.

This Centre, which was built with the support of UNESCO in 2012, offers theatre, music, painting and plastic arts classes to students from some thirty schools in the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region. In addition, this space hosts activities such as meetings of tradition bearers, cultural managers and people with knowledge of traditional medicine from the different indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples that inhabit this area, characterised by a rich cultural and linguistic diversity. For this reason, the Bilwi Integrated Cultural Centre is an important site for community meetings, intercultural dialogue, and the intergenerational transmission of cultural practices and knowledge.

In view of the Centre's valuable contributions to the promotion of the cultural diversity of the area and the development of local communities, UNESCO provided funding of USD $40,000 from the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund. The work consisted mainly of reconstructing the roof, which was also reinforced to withstand future heavy storms. The reconstruction project also included the replacement of doors and windows damaged by the hurricanes.

The Heritage Emergency Fund is a funding mechanism created by UNESCO to respond rapidly and effectively to cultural damage caused by natural disasters, human-made disasters or armed conflict in all parts of the world. Through this Fund, UNESCO seeks to strengthen the capacities of Member States to prevent, mitigate and recover from the loss of heritage and cultural diversity in emergencies. It also promotes the incorporation of culture in humanitarian action, security strategies and peace-building processes.