2006-2009: Japan finances the project "Safeguarding the Yaaral and Degal (Mali)"

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UNESCO has started to implement the Project entitled “Safeguarding the Yaaral and Degal ” in Mali. This traditional cultural expression was proclaimed Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.


This Project is financed under the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust for the Preservation and Promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage .


Context and Objectives of the Project:


The Yaaral and Degal are traditional festivities held in the pastoral land of the Peul people of the inner Niger Delta. Always on Saturday (considered as an auspicious day), these festivities mark twice a year the crossing of the river at the time of transhumance.


The Yaaral and Degal are major events which bring together different ethnic groups living in the Delta and reinforce inter-community relations. The communities of this region are very much attached to these festivities which contribute to safeguarding traditions, but the rural exodus of young people may threaten the transmission of the knowledge linked to these events.


The objectives of thirty-month Project (November 2006 – April 2009) are to enhance the knowledge and access to data concerning the Yaaral and Degal at the local and national level, as well as to raise awareness of the importance of this intangible heritage.


Activities foreseen


The project will involve local communities. Its activities include:


- the creation of a management structure for the safeguarding of the Yaaral and Degal


- the undertaking of research on the elements of the intangible heritage linked to the Yaaral and Degal to create a registry


- the organization of awareness-raising events (encounters, exhibits and radio programmes, dissemination of promotional materials)


- the creation of pedagogical materials for school children and training sessions for their teachers


- the regulation of the impact of tourism on the safeguarding of cultural space (production of information material and etiquette manual for tourists, training of tour guides, etc.)


This project will contribute to help local communities to strengthen the conservation and transmission of these unique festivities which date back to the fourteenth century.





Masterpieces proclaimed in 2005 - "the Yaaral and Degal (Mali)"


人類の口承及び無形遺産の傑作の宣言 (2005年)




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