Transmission of traditional Knowledge in Burundian Refugee Camps of Tanzania in view of a sustainable repatriation

  • Project budget:
    • US$ 0
  • Source:
    • UNESCO - Regular budget
  • Dates of implementation:
    • 01/07/2006 - 01/12/2007

Benefitting country(ies): United Republic of Tanzania


The project, elaborated as a result of a fieldwork carried out in 2006 by Dr Fouéré, implemented story-telling sessions as a way to transmit Burundian traditional knowledge to young Burundian refugees settled in refugee camps in Western Tanzania. This one-year activity was aimed to facilitate the sustainable repatriation of refugees to Burundi and their smooth reintegration into their society. A number of elderly custodians of intangible cultural heritage were committed to tell traditional tales and stories during weekly story-telling sessions from November 2006 to November 2007. Traditional drummers were mobilized to play drums during the event. Elderly story-tellers explained the meaning of selected stories to the audience, retracing their links to Burundian history and tradition and their message in the current context of refugee camps as well as in the post-conflict context of Burundi. In doing so, it prevented a living culture from being transformed into a set of folkloric tools bearing no connection to its specific historical and political context. It also contributed to fostering cohesion and national integration for peace-building in Burundi. All tales and stories were also broadcast through local radio and listened to both by Burundi refugees in Tanzania and by Burundians in Burundi.

The refugees who participated in these activities appreciated how they contributed to raising awareness of the value of safeguarding traditional knowledge at the community level. The project has demonstrated the importance of incorporating the transmission of traditional cultural knowledge in refugee camps as a vital dimension of humanitarian programs in order to facilitate the socio-cultural reintegration of refugees upon return to their home country and foster national unity and peace-building.

Related documents:

  • Final report by Dr Marie-Aude Fouéré (anthropologist) (English)
  • Transcription of stories in Kirundi and French (Kirundi-French)

01/01/2005 - 01/12/2007 – Implementation of the National Action Plan for the Safeguarding of the Wayang Puppet Theatre of Indonesia01/01/2004 - 01/10/2007 – Safeguarding and Transmission of the Kutiyattam Sanskrit Theatre