The Report Is Prepared for the Annual Review Meeting to Be Held

The Report Is Prepared for the Annual Review Meeting to Be Held

37 - CLT/CIH/ITH 553NIC4000

Japanese Funds-in-Trust for the Safeguarding of
Intangible Cultural Heritage (553 series)
Implementation Status Report

The report is prepared for the Annual Review Meeting to be held

on 19-24 February 2009

Project:Action Plan for the Safeguarding of El Gueguense, Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity

Budget Code:553NIC4000

Sector/Division:UNESCO San Jose

Project Officer:Montserrat Martel, UNESCO San Jose

Liaison Officer:C. Moreno, CLT/CH/ITH

Project Budget US$109,384

(Including Programme support costs)

Implementation Period: Original: April 2007- March 2009

Revised: April 2007- December 2009

Date of most recent regular Progress Report on Project: February 2008

I. Major developments of the project:

  1. The project made a good progress during the first year of implementation accomplishing activities according to the work plan. Nevertheless, the Nicaraguan authorities foresee that some of the activities particularly those related to the installation of facilities for the promotion of this tradition (Casa de el Gueguense) will be delayed as well as the implementation of a research program that is coordinated with some of the local universities.
  1. A request for extension till December 2009 was submitted by UNESCO San Jose Office on 29 September and received the approval of the Japanese authorities.
  1. During the reporting period, important progress has been made regarding the publishing of two books that have been widely disseminated: the publication of the book “El Gueguense, Picardía e Ingenio”, written by Carlos Mantica, that translates into modern language the speeches of this play, based on original documents published by Daniel Brinton in 1883; and the publication of the memory of the symposium on El Gueguense, held in May 2008 at the American University in Managua, Nicaragua. Particular support was provided to the celebration of the Cultural Week of El Gueguense, held on 19 through 25 November 2008.

Component II: Research

This component aims to implement an in depth analysis of the knowledge on the tradition in its socio-historical context in order to be more effective in its preservation and comprehension by the communities and society in general. A popular edition of the play was printed and distributed to contribute to the same purpose.

Results achieved

Activity No. 4: Printed version of the play

  • INC decided to publish the book entitled “El Gueguense, Picardía e Ingenio”, written by Mr. Carlos Mántica, taking advantage of the offer of the author to release it for public use, promoting a wide diffusion and knowledge of the tradition.
  • The book presents an adapted version of the play allowing its better understanding by the general public, while maintaining the original presentation. The book also includes vocabulary and a glossary to allow interested readers to verify the fidelity of the translation.
  • This book was presented in two different activities: in Diriamba (site of the tradition) during the inaugural act of the Cultural Week (19 November 2008), and in Managua at the Ruben Dario National Theater on 13 November 2008. The latter also included presentation by the National Orchestra, which interpreted some of the original songs of the tradition, as well as some of the traditional dances of El Gueguense by of a local folk group.
  • The book was offered as a present to all participants, and will be distributed by the INC to all public libraries, government institutions, academies and universities. 3000 copies of the book were printed.

Research program

  • As foreseen in the research program of the project document, a conference on El Gueguense was held on 10 May 2008 at the American University (UAM) in Managua, where four researchers of this play presented their papers: Dr. Jorge E. Arellano, Mr. Carlos Mantica, Mr. Jose Manuel Prego, and Mr. Jose Manuel Plaza. More than 80 participants among which researchers, students and members of the faculties of the university attended to this activity. 600 copies of a memory were produced and have been widely distributed by INC.

Component III: Diffusion and Promotion

  • The purpose of this component is to widely diffuse and promote cultural identity and values built around the play in its diverse components: music, dance, theater and literature.
  • Activities are held with various members of the civil society, the media, and local and international organizations, aiming to disseminate this cultural expression in its different stages (music, dance, theater and literature) through publications, cultural and scientific events, among others.

Results Achieved

Activity 2: Edition of a video containing an Anthology on El Gueguense

  • This anthology in DVD format will contain a summary on the various plays as well as a synthesis of all the material produced by INC during the implementation of the Action Plan for El Gueguense (from November 2007 to November 2008).
  • A first draft of the product was elaborated, and is currently being evaluated by INC and the National Commission for UNESCO. The final product should be available by the end of January 2009.

Activity 3: Cultural Week on El Gueguense

  • Various meetings were held with members of the community in Diriamba, the city where the tradition takes place, in order to organize the Cultural Week that was held from 19 to 25 November 2008. This activity is a milestone of the project because it demonstrates the importance of the role that different institutions and sectors (local authorities, civil society, guardians of the tradition) play in the preservation of the tradition. The Cultural Week offers an opportunity to sensitize a wide audience to the activities of preparation and implementation of the play.
  • During the first meeting held on 2 October 2008, a Committee that takes the responsibility for the organization of the Cultural Week was established. One of its responsibilities is to design the program for the celebration.

During the Cultural Week on El Gueguense, the following activities were held:


  • Inaugural session of the Cultural Week, and presentation of the book “Picardía e Ingenio, El Gueguense” and its author Carlos Mantica Abaunza. Approximately 200 people participated in the activity and all of them receiving a copy of the book. The Mayor of Diriamba, Mr. Fernando Baltodano, the national coordinator of the Action Plan Ms. Vilma de la Rocha, a representative of the priest of the Basilica de San Sebastián, a representative of the National Commission for UNESCO, Ms. Claudia Valle, members of the organizing committee, and the designated Mayor of the City for the next term also attended it.


  • A Conference was held with participation of bearers of the tradition, who shared their experiences particularly on the oral transmission of the tradition. The activity was held in the premises of the Cultural Center of Diriamba with participation of this community members. The Conference was led by Dr. Dinorah Parrales, a well known folk researcher and member of the Council of Experts on El Gueguense.
  • Zinica Group was included as part of the program, and performed some of the dances of this tradition. This group was the winner of a choreographic competition on El Gueguense held in May 2008.
  • The video “El Gueguense” was presented, as well as UNESCO CD-ROM on the third proclamation of Masterpieces of Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

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  • Workshop on theater techniques, led by Prof. Javier Espinoza, actor who works in the National School of Theater Pilar Aguirre and is member of the National Comedy, was held. He trained 25 teachers on voice techniques, diction, relaxation, and theater techniques. A play with puppets was also presented for kids. This activity was evaluated by the participants as one of the best activities.


  • Inauguration of a handicrafts and gastronomy fair with participation of 22 artisans. Presentation by Diriamban folk groups.


  • Reading of the Play El Gueguense for the kids and presentation of a folk group.


  • A concert was organized by the Asociación de Promotores Culturales and Fondo Histórico Documental de la Música Nicaragüense. It was held at the Basílica de San Sebastián (Christian Church).


  • A celebration of the 3rd Anniversary of the Proclamation of El Gueguense as Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Component IV: Sustainability

  • The main objective of this component relates to the development of means to contribute to the financial sustainability of the tradition including the traditional celebration and all related activities as handicrafts.

Results achieved

Activity 1: Promote handicrafts and cultural industries related to El Gueguense.

  • On 22 and 23 November 2008, a Handicrafts Fair was organized. Logistical inputs required were made available to local artisans who were organized in three groups, namely Asociación de Artesanos Tradicionales y Contemporáneos de Diriamba, Asociación de Artesanos Huehuetzin, and Artesanos Tradicionales Empíricos provided logistical inputs for the organization of the event.

II. Implementation and Progress of activities

  • The organization of each activity was made through site visits to Diriamba, and meetings with the different groups involved: artisans, “mayordoms” (local sponsors), traditional dancers, researchers and authorities of local government, government institutions in Diriamba, as well as the close coordination with members of the Council of Experts for El Gueguense.

III. Problems encountered and new perspectives

  • Two specific activities were not held, i.e. “Tales for children” and the contests on typical costumes for Children. With regard to the former event, the sponsors of the activity were not able to assist. The latter was postponed till February 2009 because there were very few kids registered for the activity.

IV. Comments on the financial status of the project

  • The first disbursement of funds, after the authorization for extension of the project, was made on 19 November 2008. In spite of that, it was possible to implement on time all activities and make payments related to the celebration of the Cultural Week, avoiding delays of the project implementation.
  • The initial phase of the project’s implementation started on October 2007 with the organization and planning of activities foreseen in the components approved, in close coordination with the Nicaraguan Institute for Culture (INC) and the National Commision for Cooperation with UNESCO in Nicaragua (COMNAT).
  • Concerning the national and local institutions involved in the project, it was a challenge to be able to start activities during the months of October and November 2008, due to a very limited time for their organization. To accomplish this purpose, the National Commission in Nicaragua was a key actor, facilitating administrative support to timely provide the financial resources required for these activities.

V. Recommendation on decisions to be taken during the review meeting:

  • None