Sierra Leone: UNESCO Engages Stakeholders On Memory of the World

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, yesterday commenced a two- day stakeholder training and capacity building on the introduction of Memory of the World (MoW) in Sierra Leone.

In her presentation at the Family Kingdom Conference Hall in Freetown, Jestina Simba, Project Officer at UNESCO Regional office in Abuja Nigeria, said the objective of the stakeholder workshop was for the formation of the National Memory of the World Committee in Sierra Leone.

She said the objective also aim to establish and maintain the country's Memory of the World Register and encourage, receive and assess nominations of documentary heritage for inclusion in it and also to ensure the nation's endangered heritage is protected.

She further stated that it's also aim to identify and select projects, submit them to the International Advisory Committee (IAC) or its regional committee, follow them up and raise funds for their implementation.

She said it will work in close cooperation with governmental and Non-governmental organizations in the country to develop the National register and contributing to the International register.

She said it will raise awareness of and promote the Memory of the World Programme in the Country and encourage and seek government and Private Sector sponsorship for specific Memory of World projects and activities in the country.

In her presentation, the International Consultant from Nigeria, Dr. Victoria Okojie, Lecturer of the University of Abuja and also a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Memory of the World Programme, said UNESCO established the Memory of the World Programme in 1992 as a result of the growing awareness of the parlous state of preservation of, and access to, documentary heritage in various parts of the world.

She said the UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme is an international initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and willful and deliberate destruction.

She said the Memory of the World Programme calls for the preservation of valuable archival holdings, library collections and private individual compendia all over the world for posterity, the reconstitution of dispersed or displaced documentary heritage and the increased accessibility to and dissemination of those items.

She said the program is administered by the International Advisory Committee (IAC), whose 14 members are appointed by the UNESCO Director-General and the IAC is responsible for the formulation of major policies including the technical, legal and financial framework for the program.

She said the vision of the Memory of the World Programme is that the world's documentary heritage belongs to all and should be fully preserved and protected for all and with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities and should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance.

She said the mission was to facilitate preservation by the most appropriate techniques of the world's documentary heritage and may be done by direct practical assistance by the dissemination of advice and information and the encouragement of training, or by linking sponsors with timely and appropriate projects.

She said it assist universal access to documentary heritage and it include encouragement to make digitized copies and catalogues available on the Internet, as well as the publication and distribution of books, CDs, DVDs, and other products, as widely and equitably as possible.

She said it also increase awareness worldwide of the existence and significance of documentary heritage.

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