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19 African heritage projects receive small grants

The Nakore Mosque in Northern Ghana is one of the three mosques being restored with funding from our HerMaP Africa grants

The Heritage Management Organization (HERITΛGE) is pleased to announce the first 19 recipients of its HerMaP Africa small grants for organizations, groups, and individuals working with heritage in Africa. The HerMaP Africa initiative is generously supported by the Mellon Foundation’s Humanities in Place program.

In the first round, over $220,000 has been awarded to projects that focus on the protection and promotion of local cultural and natural heritage and aim to contribute to the socio-economic development of local communities and beyond. By the end of 2024, $1 million will have been awarded in small grants to African heritage projects.

“These grants aim to unlock the potential of heritage in Africa and make a difference for the development of local communities,” said HERITΛGE Director, Dr. Evangelos Kyriakidis. “Heritage has the ability to empower, and we are confident that in partnership with local organizations, we can help create sustainable development and safeguard local heritage for generations to come.”

To receive a small grant from the HerMaP Africa program, applicants have to demonstrate that their project has a lasting impact, develops capacity, builds networks, strengthens local skills, and has a strong, measurable impact for the protection of heritage and the benefit of local people.

“We are already seeing the effect the grant is having in transforming these valuable heritage resources for the community,” says Dr. Mahmoud Malik Saako of the Ghana Museum and Monuments Board, an assistant director of museums and project manager of the Islamic Heritage in northern Ghana, one of the first projects to receive a grant. The project aims to restore three old mosques, products of the long-distance trade networks that once existed in Northern Ghana. Located along the old trade routes, there are ten remaining mosques in the region, all facing challenges posed by modernization, arabization, and climate change.

“The mosques are tangible evidence of the material culture and history of northern Ghana and are part of the valuable heritage resources of local communities. The communities realize the need to restore them as part of their culture and history and to develop ecotourism around them. Their preservation will go a long way to pave the way for their eventual inscription onto the World Monuments List,” adds Dr. Mahmoud.

A full list of the projects that have been awarded small grants can be found here.

Applications are still being accepted for the third round of small grants for heritage projects. Find out more and apply here.

About HerMaP-Africa: Made possible by a $5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation’s Humanities in Place program, HerMaP Africa aims to strengthen HERITΛGE’s Africa programs, fund initiatives that link heritage with socio-economic impact, develop the capacity of local organizations, and help them preserve African heritage and culture.

About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: The Mellon Foundation is the largest supporter of the arts and humanities in the United States. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through its grants, it seeks to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at mellon.org.

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