Tuyatunze Magofu Yetu (Let Us Conserve Our Built Heritage)
Engaging the local communities while building up their sense of community pride and local identity is an ingenious as well as a necessary solution to the problem of limited resources—not to mention that it will most likely be much more effective. A secondary, hoped-for outcome is the creation of heritage-related jobs at the local level. Through research and education, this project intends to find out what the local community knows and transform that into an actionable plan for documenting and preserving the sites in Bagamoyo, a historic town in Tanzania.
This project seeks to establish a strong, community-based program to preserve Tanzanian cultural heritage sites by building from the ground up, basing preservation on local knowledge, customs, and use. This represents a new approach to preservation in Tanzania where the government institutions entrusted with cultural heritage are chronically understaffed and unable to cover the vast number of sites that exist.
We anticipate that the successes and lessons learned from this plan will have important implications for Tanzanian cultural heritage policy. Potentially, too, once the right combination of approaches is worked out, it has the potential to inform such policies in other countries as well. Finally, it has implications for local education and valuing of heritage. Funder of this project is the National Geographic Society.