Safeguarding Living Heritage in non-formal Education in Nepal: facilitators receive training on safeguarding living heritage in CLCs’ activities

Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in formal and non-formal education is a UNESCO initiative that recognizes that education plays a key role in safeguarding ICH; and explores the important connection between ICH and formal/non-formal education, aiming to strengthen the safeguarding and transmission of ICH, improve the relevance of education programmes and promote community well-being, social cohesion and sustainable development.

In line with this, UNESCO, with support from the ICHCAP, collaborated with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MOCTCA) and the Centre for Education and Human Resource Development (CEHRD) to implement the intersectoral activity on “Living Heritage and Sustainable Development: Safeguarding ICH in non-formal education in Nepal”, 2021-2022. It aimed to empower Community Learning Centre (CLCs)-facilitators on integrating and safeguarding living heritage in their programme and activities.  The CLCs have the potential to reach out to a wide range of learners who attend non-formal courses and activities every year.

UNESCO commissioned a study to identify ‘Entry points to integrate and mainstream ICH in Non-formal education programme at CLCs in Nepal’ in July-August 2021 and organized an orientation workshop in November 2021 in which managers of the 15 CLCs selected from all the seven provinces of the country and education officers from the respective local governments discussed to build synergies among the participating CLCs’ activities, community needs and local government priority on ICH safeguarding. As a follow-up, UNESCO, in collaboration with MOCTCA and CEHRD, organized a five-day training workshop for CLC-facilitators on 9-13 January 2022 in Dakshinkali Municipality, Kathmandu to develop their capacities to integrate living heritage in CLCs’ programme and activities.

On 9 January 2022, officials from the CEHRD, the Mayor, Deputy-Mayor and Education Officer from the Dakshinkali Municipality and the Chair of the Shikharapur CLC graced the inaugural session chaired by the Joint-Secretary of the MOCTCA and encouraged the participants to learn to the fullest.

During the inauguration, Nipuna Shrestha from UNESCO highlighted the objectives of the workshop including the concept and principles of ICH and integrating them in CLCs activities linked with livelihood. Similarly, Basanti Dangol Tamang, the deputy-mayor of Dakshinkali municipality, said “CLC is a centre not only for education but also for skills as well as culture.” She shared the activities undertaken by the Municipality to safeguard and promote their culture. Similarly, the mayor of the municipality, Mohan Basnet stated, “We must teach about the importance of heritage in our community so that people are aware of them”. He shared that the Municipality had prepared “Ramailo Dakshinkali” textbook for school students to promote and safeguard their culture.

After introductory sessions on CLCs activities, the key concept of ICH and its state of management and safeguarding in Nepal, the participants presented slides on what they have understood about the intangible heritage of their area and that they consider disappearing or at risk.

Over the five days, participants learned through experts’ presentations, case studies, interactive sessions, fieldwork and practical exercise/group work. They learned about ICH, identifying ICH in their communities, and safeguarding them for future generations; income generation through ICH; the role of communities; ICH and its role in improving the livelihood of community people and their sustainable development; and linking them in CLC’s activities. Cases presented from Nepal and abroad were also helpful to understand why ICH needs to be integrated into CLCs’ activities. The participants found the panel discussion with role play effective.

Similarly, the presentations on ‘Linking living heritage with livelihood opportunities” ‘Indigenous knowledge and communities rights’; ‘ICH safeguarding and economic opportunities for community: lesson learned from National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN); and ‘Live museum case study of Tharu Museum in Dang’ added value to participants’ learning.

On the fourth day, a field exercise was carried out in three groups: Tamang Community traditional craftsmanship; Newar Community’s Jaru, a traditional water tank system; and Balami Community’s traditional dance. After the field trip, they worked in groups to compile the information they had collected – such as photos, videos, interview records, field notes and presented on the next day. They internalized on linking culture and income generation, and sustainable development in the non-formal education programmes at CLCs.

They also grasped the ideas of preparing community-based proposals, which can be developed as collaborative work between CLCs and the community for ICH safeguarding and can be supported by local government and other donors.

The training concluded with a closing session on 13 January 2022 in the presence of guests from the CEHRD, MOCTCA, and the Nepal National Commission for UNESCO.

Thanks to the organizers for the opportunity to participate in this workshop where I have gained knowledge on intangible heritage and linking them in CLCs activities to be more effective.

Another participant Tara Gurung from Madhawaliya CLC expressed her happiness that she is now able to distinguish between tangible and intangible heritage. She expressed her commitment to work as learned in the workshop.

After this training, I realised that CLCs do not have to depend only on the local governments. It can explore opportunities on its own by integrating ICH in our activities for livelihood opportunities.

Immediately after this training, UNESCO requested the call for proposal for the participating CLCs. The participants, upon discussion with their managers and other members, will develop proposals for pilot implementation at their respective CLCs. UNESCO will support seed money to implement those pilot activities that integrate living heritage safeguarding, sustainable development and community involvement, and will provide mentoring services until the pilot activities are completed.

This activity was organized as part of the intersectoral activity “Living Heritage and the Sustainable Development Goals: Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in Non-formal Education in Asia and the Pacific” with the support of the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in Asia and the Pacific Region, under the auspices of UNESCO (ICHCAP) and is being implemented in Nepal and Thailand.

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