• Moenjodaro: Heritage for Development & Empowerment
Since the early 1980s, Heritage Foundation has been preparing several proposals for the protection and conservation of heritage assets of the country. It is due to such proposals that the Foundation has been able to achieve considerable progress in awareness raising as well as heritage safeguarding.
Although it is not always possible to achieve desired progress; however, it is important to continue to point the direction in order that we are able to protect our heritage for future generations.
Develop ownership and stake of the community in the world famous site, through participatory heritage safeguarding activities.
To spread the benefits of investment into surrounding communities of World Heritage Sites by utilizing heritage for development.
The communities around Moenjodaro present a picture of neglect and apathy. There has been little investment in improving the quality of life in the area.
- The community has no linkage or involvement with the World Heritage Site and thus has no feeling of pride or ownership.
- The villages in the vicinity present a picture of a waste land with no apparent investment in infrastructure by Sindh/Town Governments for the past several decades.
-The law and order situation is unsatisfactory.
Heritage Foundation believes that through sensitive initiatives, the communities can play a vital role in the safeguarding of the World Heritage site. At the same time, heritage-related activities will be a vehicle for fostering pride and sense of ownership through mechanisms devised by the Heritage Foundation for utilizing heritage for development and poverty alleviation..
- As in the case of other marginalized communities it is essential to focus on provision of physical and social infrastructure:
- Physical Infrastructure
Improvement of environmental conditions through provision of water supply, sewerage and solid waste disposal.
Strengthening educational system with emphasis on girls schools.
Health care facilities
- Additionally, it is essential to create Heritage-related Infrastructure for poverty alleviation consisting of the following:
Pro-poor community based tourism facilities for livelihoods and income generation
Upgrading of village(s) where basic visitors’ infrastructure could be developed e.g. Dhand, Bulreji, Buggi etc.
Revitalization of existing craft skills
Establishment of master artisans workshops with training
Packaging and marketing linkages for crafts
Production of replicas based on artifacts
Heritage-safeguarding through Community Effort
Identification and training of youth as guides
Identification of areas of site which could be maintained by community groups
The safeguarding efforts for Moenjodaro have been confined to the Federal Department of Archaeology or public organizations created for its protection. There has been little or no attempt at involving the community at large into safeguarding initiatives. The public sector efforts e.g. PTDC at developing tourism have also not yielded adequate results. Thus, in spite of investment of millions of dollars on the Site, little advantage has accrued to the community who, not surprisingly, have little or no interest in this World Heritage Archaeological site. Thus, the Site remains isolated without being owned by those who, as the inheritors, should be the direct beneficiaries.
In order to foster pride and ownership, ways have to be devised to engage the community in meaningful ways in safeguarding in order that they are able to gain direct benefits. It is essential to provide the much needed social and physical infrastructure for which the relevant government departments should come forward, however, for immediate gains, community heritage safeguarding and community-based tourism initiatives need to be undertaken through the involvement of selected villages. The proposed methodology of pro-poor tourism is expected to develop a sense of ownership along with revitalization of crafts, and poverty alleviation through income generation.
The following are essential:
- Improved accommodation of selected village households
- Re-construction of kitchens and bathrooms for visitors
- Identification of intangible heritage sources: groups or individual singers/dancers, folk story tellers etc.
-Artisans who could be utilized for setting up artisans’ workshops at the site.
-Utilization of the police building at the Site for setting up artisans workshops
-Involvement of youth from the Cadet College for training local youth as guides
-Identification of areas of the Site for safeguarding by the community
-Arrangement for package tours from urban areas e.g. Karachi, Hyderabad and other parts of Pakistan.