KaravanPakistan Institute for Research and Training (KIRAT)

• Organizational Structure of KIRAT
• Original Concept
• Research & Implementation
• Concept Paper

Organizational Structure of KIRAT

KIRAT has optimized its organizational structure to serve its mandate:


A Training Department will regroup the bulk of KIRAT’s operational activities. It is organized around four thematic units based on the rationalization of its programmes: Cultural and Vernacular Heritage, Development, Disaster Mitigation and Rehabilitation, Conservation & Sustainability. Seminars, workshops and conferences will provide a forum for capacity development of volunteers, workshop participants, and scholars.


A Research Department has been put in place to streamline KIRAT’s research activities for maximization of indigenous resources for the benefit of marginalized communities and dissemination of research related information and theses in the form of articles, learned papers and publications. Library, Depository and Archives will preserve, promote and regenerate tangible, intangible and vernacular heritage, pride and community identity, resources relating to conservation of the habitat, ecological harmony and biodiversity, and flora and fauna; and form the basis for devising innovative strategies to initiate change for sustainable cultural, social, economic and scientific development.


KIRAT ’s affiliation with national universities will endeavour to sponsor fellowships, internships and other mutually beneficial associations to meet future challenges. New orientation for partnership with non-governmental sources, international agencies and institutions will be formulated. KIRAT will identify FRIENDS who can act as visiting (voluntary) training and research Aides/Directors, preferably with an academic background and of independent means, involved in research projects relating to KIRAT’s objectives. 

KIRAT’s Board

A 7-member Board of Advisors is composed of a diverse body drawn from academia, corporate sector, the UN system experts.


Members of the Board will provide vision and oversight.

Chair of the Heritage Foundation will chair the Board, and coordinate the Consultants and administrative and management functions of KIRAT.


Honorary Consultants and Friends of KIRAT – prestigious consultants (salaried and honorary consultants) will oversee project directors and support KIRAT’s strategic priorities of training and development

Original Concept

The Heritage Foundation is proposing to set up a research and development institute in District Mansehra, NWFP to maximize the social, cultural and economic potential of the earthquake area in order to make up the existing social and economic deficit for achieving national MDG goals. The platform will facilitate universities, CSOs, public and private sector organizations and corporate sector to carry out experimentation and research towards these objectives. Research activities have already been initiated. The first publication on the Heritage Assets of the Siran Valley has been published in May 2008. A piece of land consisting of six acres situated off the Karakoram Highway with good road linkage to various cities, along with a building has been acquired where the base camp has been set up. The following infrastructure as part of a residential campus has been organized:
    - A 4-room house with bathrooms for interns and volunteers
    - A furnished conference room with projection facilities
    - An office space with computers, printer and connectivity
    - Tent accommodation with attached bathrooms (to accommodate 16 persons)
    - Double- and single-Scholars' residences (under construction) for long term stay
    - Staff accommodation
    - Space for car parking etc.
    - Space for workshop for experimentation: local materials and techniques, alternative energy.    
    - Terraced land for agricultural experiments

The formation of the institute is at an early stage and further work on its structure, sustainability and linkages with universities is being carried out.

Research and Implementation Platform

The institute will provide a research platform and facilitation for the following:

Cataloguing baseline information regarding various aspects – from heritage assets to traditional lifestyles, local construction materials and vernacular structures, environmental factors, forestry and agriculture, flora and fauna, renewable energy sources etc.

Evaluating interventions in the area – both hard and soft components – and their impact on local resources, traditional habitat and lifestyles, societal transformation, global warming and sustainability issues.

Establishing a resource base and a depository of information on work being carried out by various organizations, and creating a platform for information sharing and promotion of ‘best practices’.

Developing innovative solutions and guidelines to minimize hot house gases, assure environmental sustainability, employ energy saving methodologies and maximize renewable energy sources, promote improved traditional and vernacular methodologies, and provide inputs for achieving greater social gains and empowerment of communities etc.

Concept Paper

The Heritage Foundation has been engaged in the work in the disaster area since November 2006 and has developed an understanding of the materials and communities, along with their needs. The work of HF in its programme area has focused on the following:
• maximization of local workforce, local materials, local resources, tangible and intangible heritage for livelihoods
• Rehabilitation and reconstruction through focus on heritage and traditions
• Use of local materials and improved vernacular technologies for improved seismic performance of buildings.
• Working with women and communities for empowerment through livelihoods based on local resources, skills, crafts and traditions.
• Social infrastructure through building schools and health facility; improved health of women and children through building bathrooms and discipline of washing hands at home and schools.
• Physical infrastructure through building of mountain pathways and better accessibility
• Livelihoods through focus on crafts – building kitchens for marketing of value added agriculture produce e.g. makai ki roti, bead craft etc.
• Heritage cataloguing and heritage safeguarding for community based tourism
• Recording various aspects and learning from local experiences and traditional ways of doing

Among the objectives of HF is to create a depository of information for use by other agencies involved in carrying out similar works, as well as analysis of the impact of various interventions in the area.

During the last 30 months there has been unprecedented investment and development in the EQ affected areas. A large number of I/N NGOs, along with ERRA, PERRA and SERRA have carried out enormous amount of work in various fields for the betterment of the area. The large-scale interventions in pursuance of government policies have been undertaken throughout this period, but a methodology for feedback and assessment of impact of such interventions is still to be put in place.

There is now a need to develop as much as possible, base line information regarding the various communities as well as impact of interventions, both negative and positive. This is essential in order to build upon successful interventions and modify others.
For this purpose a depository of best practices needs to be developed through culling information from me /N NGOs. Additionally, due to the limited life of ERRA, much of the information may either be lost on its demise, or the best practices and lessons needed to be learnt may be lost in the mass of information that is being generated. A systematic analytical approach to identify information and strategies which are needed for future development of the area is yet to be developed. The proposed institute will form a depository for the purposes of information collection and analysis.

The enormous potential of the EQ AA will remain untapped, unless further research on its various aspects and possibilities is carried out. This is a vast area of research touching almost every aspect of life. As in the case of other parts of the country, the meeting of MDG goals needs to also be pursued effectively in the area. Further research will identify areas of deficit, and methodologies for dealing with it.

Accordingly, studies spanning from anthropology sociology, cultural heritage, agricultural produce, flora and fauna, hiking and tourism, vernacular construction methods, local materials, reforestation issues and score of others will be the topics of study with the aim to propagate those aspects which will bring about a societal change in the area.

Because of issues of non-accessibility, difficult terrain and weather, lack of accommodation and community access, the areas have been largely ignored or neglected. The establishment of a base camp close to the area of operation i.e. in difficult valleys above 5,000 feet has allowed the possibility of opening up the area. The base camp established by HF is in a secure place with provision of accommodation, camp arrangement, meals and security. The possibility of travel into the area because of community outreach established by HF along with potential for reaching even remote areas would provide the basis for undertaking research activities.

The topics related to the area include the following. The various topics of research need to be identified which will maximize the areas’ attractions and potential for community development: The following is an initial list of topics:
• Anthropology
• History
• Cultural heritage
• Flora and fauna
• Crafts
• Vernacular heritage and architecture
• Local and improved construction techniques and materials
• Heritage safeguarding methodologies
• Disaster mitigation and disaster management
• Seismic related studies
• MDG status and methodologies for meeting MDGs
• Archives of Best Practices developed by ERRA, I/N NGOs
• Botanical aspects, flora and fauna
• Value added agricultural produce
• Water harvesting, environmental conservation
• Alternative energy sources, water, solar, biogas
• Tourism related: natural, tangible and intangible heritage, community attractions etc.
• Application of technology for improved literacy, health status of the area.
• Involvement of corporate sector for improved delivery of agricultural produce, value added products based on agriculture etc.

Methodology and Timelines
The Research Institute will be established under Heritage Foundation and will have its own Board of Advisors of eminent persons drawn from the world of Academia, civil service organizations, public organizations and corporate sector.

The Institute is being planned to have a core administrative and research facility. It will create the platform which will encourage research through interaction and arrangement with various universities, and will allow students and scholars from various universities as well as corporate sector to focus on maximizing the potential of the area. The core facility is being established in Chattar (near Battal) NWFP, where a residential campus has been created by HF. The work on documentation of heritage is being planned through cooperation with ERRA, which will help in identifying heritage at risk and modalities for its conservation.

Discussions with various universities for signing MOUs are in progress. Some small scale programmes are being initiated though students summer camps to be held from July onwards. Long term research will be undertaken from January 2009

Further research will also be undertaken on renewable energy sources i.e. sun and wind to facilitate livelihood programmes and improved quality of life.

                             Tent accommodation in the pine forest, Base Camp, Karavanabad.