|8th Regional Course on Conservation and Management of Immovable Cultural Heritage in sub-Saharan Africa
4 September - 24 November 2006
- AFRICA 2009 Programme
- Directorate of Cultural Heritage, Benin
Duration: 4 September - 24 November 2006
Place: Porto-Novo and Abomey, Benin
Seventeen participants from thirteen countries from French speaking countries of Sub Saharan Africa attended the course. Their professional backgrounds included conservators, architects, archaeologists, geographers, historians, teachers, and statistics experts.
The aim of the course was to bring together African professionals who work in the field of heritage to focus on the most important planning and management issues for immovable cultural heritage conservation. The course also aimed at enhancing knowledge on the major challenges encountered when carrying out conservation activities, in particular in the African context. The course specific objectives were:
- to give the participants the tools for analysing the strengths and weaknesses of a immovable heritage site and to develop appropriate and feasible solutions that take into account the context;
- to examine the immovable heritage conservation issues at a national level, so that participants could gradually incorporate their home institutions.
The first, essentially theoretical, concentrated on the acquisition of basic knowledge on conservation and management of cultural heritage, as well as the development and presentation of a management plan for an immovable heritage site. This exercise allowed participants to enhance their knowledge on heritage preservation; as well as to become familiar with communications tools and techniques.
This 12 week course was divided into two main parts:
The second, practical part dealt with the planning and site management process. The participants collected information and made proposals for preserving better the Royal Palaces of Abomey, Benin, which have been listed in the endangered World Heritage Sites since 1985.
The exercise included three meetings with all the parties involved in the sites that were being studied. Four draft management plan proposals were developed and copies were given to the national authorities (Direction du patrimoine culturel du Bénin), as well as to the local site managers.
The last week of the course was dedicated to the Directors' Seminar, attended by 13 heritage directors from French speaking countries, the Steering Committee members of Africa 2009, representatives of institutional partners, representatives of financial partners, the 8th regional course participants and the course coordination team. The theme of the seminar was 'Links between tangible and intangible on heritage sites in Africa'.
As well as the presentation of the course content and results, the seminar discussed the implementation of recommendations made previously about the future of the programme after 2009.
- participants enhanced their knowledge on conservation and cultural heritage management;
- participants were introduced to immovable sites planning process and to the development of management plans;
- participants could better handle communication tools for cultural heritage preservation;
- seventeen trained participants, enhancing the network of African heritage professionals;
- strong interaction between participants and the local community;
- raising awareness of all involved with the Royal Palaces of Abomey site, and of the dangers involved in its preservation.
- two draft management plans for the Singbodji square and the Amazons court in the Royal Palaces of Abomey;
- two draft management plans for ‘Agbodo’, the fortification moat around Royal Palaces of Abomey;
- compilation of the participants’ presentations of their own country’s immovable cultural heritage showing the diversity in Sub Saharan Africa;
- compilation of the participants’ presentations on their own country’s legislation, cultural institutions and management of immovable cultural heritage;
- synthesis of the participants’ discussion on the role of professionals and cultural heritage institutions in the strive against HIV/aids.
19 June, 2009