Six youth finalists for African World Heritage Day Competition in Eastern Africa

11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Lamu Old Town World Heritage site in Kenya © Jingjia Liang

Following the launch of the first regional competition for Eastern Africa entitled: “Mobilizing Youth Engagement in the Celebration of African World Heritage Day - 5th May 2021,” six (6) proposals from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda were selected as finalists and will receive 5000 USD grants to raise awareness and engagement of youth for the protection and promotion of World Heritage in Africa.

The online competition, which was launched by the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa in celebration of African World Heritage Day on 5 May 2021, and in the framework of the African Union Year 2021 for “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want,” was open to youth aged 18 to 35 years old from 13 Eastern Africa countries (Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda). Over 200 youth from 11 Eastern African countries participated in the call for proposals, developing unique project proposals to increase youth engagement in the protection and promotion of World Heritage in Eastern Africa.

An advisory panel with representatives of UNESCO and Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee reviewed the proposals submitted and voted on the six finalists based on innovation, scope and the impact of the proposed activities on awareness raising and engagement of youth in the protection and promotion of African World Heritage.

The following six proposals are the finalists for the 2021 African World Heritage Day Youth Competition for Eastern Africa:

  1. Eritrea - Mr. Michael Berhe’s proposal for an interactive mobile app to increase awareness of Eritrea’s first World Heritage site, Asmara: A Modernist African City;
  2. Ethiopia - Mr. Sewnet Tesfaye Lema’s proposal to establish World Heritage clubs in Ethiopian schools; train young journalists in writing about World Heritage and launch an awareness-raising radio campaign about World Heritage;
  3. Kenya – Ms. Maureen Kombo’s proposal to mobilize youth to address solid waste management issues and raise awareness of the World Heritage values of Lamu Old Town World Heritage site;
  4. Tanzania - Ms. Brenda Kisaka’s proposal to develop a radio programme and organize a roundtable, webinar and essay competitions for youth to promote World Heritage in Eastern Africa;
  5. Uganda/Rwanda - Mr. Cephas Twinamatsiko’s proposal for university lectures, radio talk shows; awareness campaigns in secondary schools; youth-led seminars and debates, a social media platform for youth engagement in World Heritage; a clean-up campaign, and tree planting at 7 heritage sites in Uganda and Rwanda;
  6. Uganda - Dr. Umar Kabanda’s proposal to mobilize and train 100 youth volunteers for the Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi World Heritage site in Danger.

The winning projects will be carried out between 1 July and 15 November 2021 in collaboration with National Commissions for UNESCO in the beneficiary countries.

We are delighted to see that this African World Heritage Day youth competition has mobilized over 200 youth from across the East Africa region to identify unique ways to become more involved in the protection and promotion of African World Heritage. Although we regret our budget did not allow for more proposals to be funded, we plan to reach out to other donors and partners to help support more of the proposals received. We are confident that this youth-led initiative is the most effective way to increase youth engagement in World Heritage.

Ms. Ann-Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director and Representative, UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa

For more information about African World Heritage Day, please visit: