The McMillan Memorial Library in Nairobi ©

Paul Munene 

In December 2020 the Fund announced a pilot round to support preparedness for the effects of natural disasters and climate change on cultural heritage in East Africa. We have now selected five projects working in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to protect important heritage sites, collections and intangible practices from the growing threat of climate change.

The projects are:

£76,447 awarded to International National Trust Organisations (INTO), working in partnership with Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda who will protect the tangible and intangible heritage of the Bakonzo and Alur communities which is at risk due to rapidly melting snow in the Rwenzori Mountains in Western Uganda. 

£60,501 awarded to St Andrew’s University, in partnership with the University of Dar Es Salaam to assess and digitise the coastal sites of Kilwa Kisiwani and Bagamoyo in Tanzania with a view to better preparing it for future rising sea levels, as well as documenting associated intangible heritage with these sites. 

£109,744  awarded to Book Bunk Trust in partnership with African Digital Heritage Foundation and Built Environment Surveyors & Infrastructure Consultancy (BESIC) Group Ltd, to digitise and protect the physical collection of paper and photographic collections at the McMillan Memorial Library in Nairobi in order to mitigate against the climate-related risks of heat and moisture.

£109,430 awarded to the Federal Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH) in partnership with the Addis Ababa University, Mekelle University Institute of Paleoenvironment and Heritage Conservation and M. Womersleys Ltd. The project involves the preparation of risk assessments and preparedness guidelines for 23 rock-hewn church sites in the Gheralata Mountain Region of Ethiopia.

£106,700 awarded to International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in partnership with National Museums Kenya to develop disaster risk management plans for 4 heritage sites on the Kenyan coast that are at risk due to rising sea levels, coastal erosion, salt evaporation and storms. 

Stephen Stenning, Head of Arts & Society, British Council, says:

‘The Disaster and Climate Change Mitigation pilot to support cultural heritage at risk from climate change is an urgent area of focus for the global heritage community. With continued support from DCMS, this alert to our shared environmental vulnerabilities has resulted in some extraordinary international partnership projects. Sharing concerns and solutions around the impact of climate change, from North Yorkshire in the UK to the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda, is a great example of the mutually beneficial collaborations at the heart of the Cultural Protection Fund.’

The Disaster and Climate Change Mitigation Fund was announced in 2019, as part of an additional funding round of the Cultural Protection Fund.