Old Ways to the Future: A Festival of Living Traditions


The Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI) will soon host an event to celebrate the vital role people’s traditions have to play in solving current and future problems. The festival will be held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi, between September 2 – 7, 1996.

It will be an opportunity for East Africans from Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya to exchange the traditional wisdom and knowledge of their societies with each other, and to share the rich heritage with the rest of the world. According to the organisers, the festival promises to be a showcase of East Africa. There will be demonstrations of how local plants are used for food, medicine, cosmetics, etc. Visitors will be invited to sample the products.

Traditional building techniques said to be more suitable to East Africa than Western architecture, will also be displayed. The rich artistic heritage will be presented through crafts and ornaments, and music and dance.

Each of these activities will point to ways this heritage can be used to build a sustainable future. Dr. Jack Githae, an expert in traditional medicine and the event’s chairman, said, ” to be sustainable all living things have to go right down to their roots”.

Mr. Rob Sinclair, ELCI’s Co-executive Director, said, “This is a unique opportunity for East Africans to demonstrate to the world just how they can, and must, build a sustainable future on the foundations of their own culture. ELCI intends to carry this message to the world community after the festival”.

The festival, supported by the Ford Foundation, will run alongside the 5th International Congress on Ethnobiology which will bring together experts on traditional knowledge from all over the world. The ELCI, a global network of non-governmental organisations, with its headquarters in Nairobi, is coordinating the event.

For more information, please contact:

The Project Coordinator,
Environment Liaison Centre International,
Postal Mail: P. O. Box 72461, Nairobi, Kenya.
Telephone: +254-20-562015 / 562022,
Telex: 23240 ELCKE
Email: fayemi@elci.sasa.unep.no