Portal de la Cultura de América Latina y el Caribe
The UNESCO Office in Quito and Cluster Office to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela ends in Bolivia the project “Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Kallawaya communities”
26 November 2015/ UNESCO Office in Quito

The UNESCO Office in Quito and Cluster Office to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, in coordination with the Ministry of Cultures and Tourism of Bolivia, the Radio and Television for Development Training Service (SECRAD) of the San Pablo Catholic University of Bolivia, and the Kallawaya communities, implemented this project during 2014 and 2015. It was financed by the Japanese Funds-in-Trust for the Preservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The project fulfilled the objective of providing support and technical cooperation to the government of Bolivia, agencies linked to the spheres of heritage and culture, as well as to the Kallawaya community, in order to build capacities and create favourable conditions for the sustainable practice and transmission of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, through the effective implementation of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

During the implementation of the project, the Kallawaya community and its leading role in the management of local intangible cultural heritage was stressed, highlighting the register and systematization of traditional practices and ancient knowledge, in order to strengthen the experience of the Intangible Cultural Heritage as a resource of community knowledge for everyday life, to ensure its continuity and promote the necessary conditions for its intergenerational transmission.

In the framework of the project, capacity-building activities were carried out including six transmission and awareness-raising modules on the memory and knowledge of the Kallawaya cosmovision, and the adaptation of six modules of the UNESCO World Programme aimed at building capacities on community-based inventorying, registration techniques with the use of recordings and audio-visual materials, as well as the design of a communication strategy to raise awareness among the general public. These twelve modules were in charge of 13 Kallawaya facilitators, Fabián Bedón, facilitator and coordinator of the project for UNESCO, and three SECRAD technicians, with the support of two Kallawaya coordinators, in workshops conducted during the months of September and October 2015. All this information was recorded in audio and video materials by SECRAD and the modules are scheduled to be published in 2016.

During the closing activity on 26 November, at the site of the Ministry of Cultures and Tourism of Bolivia, Ignacio Soqueré Tomichá, Deputy Minister of Interculturalilty, and Saadia Sánchez Vegas, Director of the UNESCO Office in Quito and Representative for Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, officially awarded the certificates of the Capacity-Building Workshops for the Safeguarding of Kallawaya Culture to 30 Kallawaya youths and women. In addition, part of the products elaborated at the Bolivian Cinemathèque during the implementation of the project for its communication strategy, which includes one documentary and three short films, was announced.

This occasion constitutes a valuable opportunity to learn about the voice of the Kallawaya community, the project’s contributions to the management of its Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Kallawaya participants presented their experiences and contributions to the knowledge acquired in the context of the workshops, and screened audio-visuals on the registration and inventory of the cultural expressions from their own vision. Lastly, a Safeguarding Committee was constituted in the framework of this project, whose work will be facilitated by UNESCO and the Japanese Embassy in Bolivia, through the donation of the equipment needed.

The Andean Cosmovision of the Kallawaya was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008 (originally proclaimed in 2003 as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity).

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