Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups and over 500 languages, and it has recognized the importance of culture for Sustainable Development, with the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Hyperlink: ) (Hereafter called “the 2003 Convention”) ratified.
Nigeria has presented great efforts in the implementation of the 2003 Convention by establishing the National Committee on Oral Intangible Culture Heritage in 2005, developing a Living Human Treasure programme in 2017, and strengthening the safeguarding of the Ifa Divination System through the intergenerational transmission of skills and documenting the practice. However, it has encountered a series of challenges because of the inadequacy of legal and institutional frameworks, restricted funding, and lack of sufficient expertise and understanding of the scope and the mechanism of the 2003 Convention.
This project is aimed to lay a solid professional and institutional foundation to support the country in its efforts to safeguard the living heritage within the framework of UNESCO's global strategy for strengthening national safeguarding capacities.
In general, this project has three objectives:
- To assistant Nigeria to meet national obligations under the 2003 Convention, with regards to policy and legal frameworks;
- To build a critical mass of national capacity, both in government institutions and in communities so that Nigeria would have a sustainable framework for inventory-making and other safeguarding measures;
- To assist Nigeria to benefit from the mechanisms of international cooperation established by the 2003 Convention, including International Assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund.
In response to the abovementioned obstacles and considering the density of Nigeria’s population, this project is designed to build the capacity of three communities of Clabar (Cross River State), Oyo (Oyo State), and Bida (Niger State) on the community-based inventorying of the intangible culture heritage with possible replication in other states. This project is sponsored by Japanese Fund-in-Trust consists of the following activities:
- Training on pilot inventorying of intangible culture heritage in the three communities of Calabar, Oyo, and Bida;
- Six-month inventorying exercise by the three communities—Bida carried out an inventory of shea butter production and brass making; Oyo inventoried drum making, Aso-Oke weaving, calabash carving and ose odudu (black soap); and, Calabar concentrated on Ekpe (mgbe) and Uyoro Oral Traditions.
- Training of 15 officers from the Ministry on the elaboration of nomination files for inscription on the Lists of the 2003 Convention and requests for international assistance.
Achievements to time
This project greatly increased the knowledge of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Nigeria through project brochure. The capacity and skills of 30 people in the three communities were polished to carry out the six-month pilot inventorying exercise. In addition, the training for 15 government officials enhance their skills to inscribe elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage on the 2003 Convention’s Lists.
The main implemented activities include
- Establishment of Project Advisory Committee
- Launch of the project brochure
- Revision of cultural policies and legal provisions
- Training on pilot inventorying of intangible cultural heritage with communities in the States of Niger, Oyo and Cross River
- Six-month inventorying exercise by the three communities of Bida, Oyo and Calabar
- Training of 15 officers from the Ministry, on the elaboration of nomination files for inscription on the Lists of the 2003 Convention and requests for international assistance
- Independent evaluation of the project
A one-day stakeholders meeting to share the results of the project and the independent evaluator’s findings with recommendations.