The Dominica National Commission for UNESCO through the Government of Dominica will officially launch the project ‘Strengthening capacities at the national and local levels for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in Dominica’, on Friday at the Division of Culture, Old Mill Cultural Centre at 10 am.
The project is supported by the State of Kuwait through the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund (ICH) project US$65,000.00 and will be officially launched by Dr. Anna Paolini, UNESCO Representative in Dominica and Director to the UNESCO Office in Jamaica in the morning of July 15, 2022.
Intangible heritage refers to the traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge, and practices concerning nature and the universe, or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.
In Dominica, this is manifested through folk performing arts, including the traditional dances like Bele, Quadrille, Flirtation, Heel and Toe, Mazook, our musical instruments like the bamboo flute and tanbou (drum), jing-ping music, string band, Kweyol song, creative dance, short story writing and performing art, poetry, festivals and the making of our traditional dress. Safeguarding these practices is imperative to protecting Dominica’s heritage and cultural identity.
With a planned eighteen (18) months schedule for implementation, the project will be executed by Dominica’s National Commission for UNESCO in collaboration with the Division of Culture, through the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Community Development with the technical support of UNESCO.
The project aims at strengthening the capacities of government officials, civil society, individual practitioners, and knowledge bearers to document, safeguard, and promote Dominica’s living or intangible heritage, thereby developing a roadmap on how to implement the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Dominica, which was ratified in 2005.
Key activities will include a Country needs assessment, inventorying, targeted policy advice and the review of national policies, programming, and public awareness activities targeting the media, public and youth populations.
The project applies a gender-responsive and inclusive multi-stakeholder approach, including collaboration with the indigenous communities in Dominica.
“A special emphasis of the project lies in strengthening the participation of indigenous communities and applying an inclusive approach, taking the voices of all stakeholders and local communities, including youth, women, heritage community leaders, traditional bearers, and practitioners into account.
Their participation is pivotal to generating awareness and fostering self-appropriation and ownership,” highlighted Anna Paolini, UNESCO Representative in Dominica and Director of the UNESCO Office in Jamaica.
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