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Promoting Cultural Industries for Sustainable Development

The Project is conceived as a continuation of the earlier ONE UN JP-Dutch Funded Project "Promoting Cultural Industries for Poverty Alleviation in District Bahawalpur" which was spearheaded by UNESCO in partnership with THAAP-CAS.
The Project, over a period of 7 months was completed on 15 December 2011 and an exhibition of the Craft Products was held in Islamabad on 1 April 2012. Seven villages of District Bahawalpur (BC 33, Bheli, DNB 112, Abbass Nagar, Dera Bukka) participated in the Project and 229 artisans mainly women were the beneficiaries. The Project was conceptualized to promote the tremendous potential of Bahawalpur becoming a leading player in cultural industries through the age old craft making traditions. Enhancing skills for innovative craft products for the modern consumer and creating sustainable marketing linkages to alleviate poverty and arrest the upward trend towards poverty of the 2000-2010 decade was the aim.

The proposed Project will build upon the previous work by strengthening the pit-loom weaving industry of BC 33. The village at one time had 40 households involved in handloom production as their main source of livelihood. At the start of the previous One UN initiative only 3 weavers existed however 12 additional weavers were trained along with the capacity building in new techniques such as Ikat, Market connectivity was also established however much more needed to be done to develop innovative products to enhance sales and demand. It is thus proposed to provide further inputs and add value by incorporating embellishment of the hand woven fabric and introduce motifs and designs to attract the modern consumer. Embellishment textiles are mainly done by women thus the Project will aim at enhancing incomes of the women which was limited to spinning cotton and woolen yarn. Additionally, villages at Dingarh where the PCRWR project is underway will also be targeted and linked to this endeavor to support the development of alternate means of livelihood to reduce stress on the limited water resources of the drought area. It may be noted that weaving craft was prevalent in Cholistan villages which along with falasi making, embellished ralli and simple ralli work was traditionally practiced.

To summarize the Proposed Project aims at alleviating poverty through craft enterprise development in 2 villages in District Bahawalpur, one of which is located in the Disaster area of Cholistan and thus also aims at mitigating risk of fragile communities and supporting alternate means of livelihood to conserve water resources. It may be noted that because of their small size and informal organization, cultural industries have the ability of reaching even entrenched pockets of poverty.

 Progress Report - Promotion of Cultural Industries in district bahawalpur