UNESCO World Heritage Ennedi Massif: Promoting Education, Employment Opportunities and Information
The World Heritage Directorate of the Ennedi Massif and the Chadian UNESCO National Commission supported the local communities and the management of the site with a variety of measures. In addition, new signposts, information campaigns and improved waste management contribute to a better conservation of the site.
The aim of #SOSAfricanHeritage is to contribute to preserving independent and sustainable organisational structures at African World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves with the participation of civil society as well as to secure spaces dedicated to education for global citizenship, sustainability and cultural diversity.
Located in the east of the Sahara, the Ennedi sandstone massif rises abruptly from the surrounding landscape, reaching 1,450 metres at its highest point. Wind, water and sand have shaped the plateau over the millennia, so it now consists of deep valleys and gorges, fascinating stone formations and bizarre rock figures. The constantly present water in the larger gorges is important for the unique ecosystem of the massif in the otherwise dry region. The Ennedi Massif became a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its exceptional natural beauty, its unique flora and fauna and the well-preserved evidence of past human activities. Thousands of pictures from prehistoric times adorn the rock walls in caves and niches. In addition to numerous wild animals, they also show scenes from people's everyday lives and thus tell of a culture long gone.
Restrictions due to the pandemic
The Government of Chad has set up a fund for the protection and conservation of the country's World Heritage Sites. Its resources are intended, among other things, to improve the management of the sites, train young tourist guides, support economic activities of women in the region and strengthen educational institutions. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a major impact on the country's economy, the Government had suspended its payments to the fund.
At the same time, tourism, which is an important source of income for the management committee of the Ennedi Massif and the local communities involved in the conservation of the site, stopped. As a consequence, young tourist guides became unemployed and were in some cases engaging in illegal activities or leaving the country in large numbers for Libya or Europe.
Remedy through education, labour, information and infrastructure
The project funded through #SOSAfricanHertiage was jointly implemented by the World Heritage Directorate of the Ennedi Massif and the Chadian UNESCO National Commission to improve the overall situation of the site. To this end, they designed a comprehensive package of a variety of measures: The local management committees were provided with work equipment and schools were equipped with new teaching materials and textbooks after long closures due to the pandemic. Tourist guides, who had become unemployed, received training in areas such as handicrafts, sustainable animal husbandry and the care of palm groves, so that they have an alternative way to earn their living.
In addition, information and warning signs were installed to raise awareness among the local community of the importance of the World Heritage Site. To improve waste management and cleanliness, measures such as the installation of rubbish bins and the organisation of fixed clean-up days were taken. For better protection of the local population, information campaigns also raised awareness about the coronavirus.
On the initiative of 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 part of the Relief Fund consortium.
- Site: Natural and Cultural Landscape Ennedi Massif
- Country: Chad
- Type of Site: UNESCO World Heritage (natural heritage)
- Year of inscription: 2016