UNESCO World Heritage Mozambique Island: Management and Monitoring with the Help of Social Media
For effective World Heritage management even in times of “physical distancing”, the Mozambique Island Conservation Office trained the local population in the use of digital platforms and social media as part of the #SOSAfricanHeritage project. This enabled them to build a digital communication network for the conservation of the World Heritage 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.
The island of Mozambique is a limestone coral reef located 4km from the mainland coast of the Republic of Mozambique. Together with two uninhabited islands of Goa and Sena, it forms an archipelago. It houses the fortified city of Mozambique, a former Portuguese trading post on the way to India. The city owes its remarkable architectural unity to the consistent use of the same building techniques, building materials (stone or makuti), and decorative principles since the 16th century.
Restrictions due to the pandemic
The daily monitoring of the conservation status together with the local population is currently impaired because field work is not possible. Similarly, World Heritage education cannot take place either due to the current restrictions. It is also difficult to bring communities together to discuss the problems of World Heritage management. All of this not only makes it more difficult to protect Mozambique Island, but it increasingly prevents the active involvement of the local population.
Remedy through a new communication network
With the help of #SOSAfricanHeritage funding, the Mozambique Island Conservation Office organized in-depth training for various World Heritage stakeholders as well as local community members in the adequate use of digital platforms and social networks. Through lectures, field visits, and hands-on activities, participants learned to produce, systematize, and disseminate educational content about heritage protection and conservation. In this way, a local communication network for the conservation of the World Heritage Site was created between the inhabitants of the islands and other World Heritage stakeholders locally and across Mozambique. This facilitates the long-term monitoring of the World Heritage site and improves the future information and participation of the population. The project met with a very positive response from the population. Therefore, the Mozambique Island Conservation Office will continue with its newly developed action plan in 2021 to reach even more local people.
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: Mozambique Island
- Country: Mozambique
- Type of Site: UNESCO World Heritage (cultural heritage)
- Year of inscription: 1991