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Exhibition of Cultural Products from South Punjab

Promoting Cultural Industries for Poverty Alleviation in District Bahawalpur.

UNESCO in collaboration with THAAP organized an Exhibition of the Cultural Products of South Punjab at Lok Virsa Islamabad on Sunday, 1st of April 2012. The exhibition displayed the cultural products prepared under the joint initiative of One UN (ARP-JPC-2) project “Promotion of Cultural Industries for Poverty Alleviation in Bahawalpur” which was spearheaded by UNESCO in partnership with THAAP in 2011.

Capacity building, through artisan and designer collaboration, transferred and honed the skill level of the craftspeople in pit-loom woven fabric, chunri making skills, embroidery and ralli-making and developed designs to attract the contemporary market demands. New skills such as Ikat-making were also taught to the village weavers to increase their repertoire and equip them to explore different avenues and markets. Chunri and Embroidered Fabric of high quality was developed and the skills of continual design development transferred to the marginalized artisan communities of District Bahawalpur to enable long term benefits of the Project. Equipped with management and marketing skills the participants of the Project are poised for receiving orders from the up-market Islamabad buyers.

UNESCO endeavors to safeguard the intangible cultural assets of communities and create a nexus between cultural heritage and economic development. This Project thus aimed at promoting livelihood opportunities for the rural communities, while safeguarding their cultural assets, and, linking them with markets particularly the discerning buyers. Carried out within the UN-Joint Program initiative which has four components i.e. Pro-poor sustainable agriculture, Decent Employment, Empowerment of Vulnerable Groups and MDG-Driven Policy Framework, the project has improved incomes of over 600 families and impacted 5 villages of district Bahawalpur.

Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, Country Director UNESCO appreciated the work of skilled female artisans present at the exhibition. Professor Sajida Vandal, Executive Director THAAP, briefed on outcomes and achievements of the project and appreciated UNESCO for its financial and technical support. Dr. Ali Abbas Qazilbash, OIC of UNIDO inaugurated the exhibition and offered technical expertise of UNIDO to strengthen market linkages of the handicraft enterprises established under said project. Mr. Toshi Hiro Tanaka, Country Director UNDP also attended the event and appreciated the initiative of UNESCO and THAAP for economic empowerment of women from South Punjab.