Special support programme for UNESCO sites in Africa
Initiated by the Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, an International Relief Fund was set up in summer 2020 to provide rapid support to cultural and educational organisations abroad during the Covid-19 pandemic. With its special support programme #SOSAfricanHeritage, the German Commission for UNESCO is an active member of the Relief Fund consortium.
Funded projects in total
African countries are project locations
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions, many African UNESCO sites are not accessible to visitors at all or only to a limited extent. This leads to a great loss of income with serious consequences: for example, poaching and overexploitation of natural resources have increased sharply since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, as many people have lost their livelihoods and, due to the financial shortfalls, the staff to protect the sites could no longer be paid in some cases.
The aim of the #SOSAfricanHeritage special programme is therefore to provide rapid and targeted support to UNESCO sites on the African continent.
On September 1, 2020, an international jury of experts selected 22 projects from 19 African countries for funding. Until December 2020 each project received up to 25,000 euros from the German Commission for UNESCO. In 2021, another 12 projects in 12 different African countries were selected for funding as part of the second edition of the programme. From August to November, these projects will receive support of up to 20,000 euros each.
The activities supported include, among others, digitisation and education measures, approaches to maintain or restore infrastructure, and protective measures against poaching and looting. In addition, projects are supported that open up new and sustainable income opportunities and thus help to cushion the economic downturn caused by the pandemic in the long term. The funded projects contribute to the preservation of independent and sustainable organisational structures at the sites, strengthen the involvement and participation of the local population and secure spaces dedicated to the promotion of global citizenship education, sustainability and cultural diversity.
Find out more about the individual projects in the project-profiles:
The International Relief Fund
Initiated by the Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, an International Relief Fund was set up in summer 2020 to provide rapid support to cultural and educational organisations during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Foreign Office provides the basic funding of three million euros. Additional funding is made available by the Goethe-Institute, the S. Fischer Foundation, and the Robert Bosch Foundation. The overall coordination is directed by the Goethe-Institute.
Numerous other cultural organizations and private foundations, including the DAAD's Berlin artist program, the Mercator Foundation, and the Siemens Foundation, provide additional support funds or participate with their own programs. With its special support programme #SOSAfricanHeritage, the German Commission for UNESCO is part of the Relief Fund consortium.