Cultural Heritage & Tourism Promotion- Preservation of Cultural Heritage

1. Improve Awareness About Social and Cultural Heritage Among Communities in Selected Districts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provinces (On-Going)

SPO is successfully implementing its project titled ‘Improve Awareness About Social and Cultural Heritage Among Communities in Selected Districts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provinces’ with the financial support of Norwegian Church Aid. The project has started in April 2019 and will conclude in May 2020 and is being implemented in district Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Lahore and Faisalabad in Punjab.

The overall goal of the project is to mobilize key local leaders, communities in collaboration with relevant Government Departments to promote social and cultural integration necessary for social and economic empowerment of the communities. The project was aimed to support local partners to organize cultural activities, and awareness raising sessions for community to promote social integration in the society.

SPO under its ‘Cultural Heritage & Tourism Promotion’ programme made contributions through different projects by introducing and developing mechanisms for building informed and empowered citizenry, public information sharing, consultation and engagement with people and community-based organizations to pave the path for cultural integration and heritage preservation. Capacitating the civil societies aims to ensure that people are informed about their rights and responsibilities with respect to shared norms and history can actively participate in the socio-political processes. All these steps have been taken to enable collective nation-building, with some structural transformations as well achieving equality and empowerment, and for securing citizens’ rights. The initiatives under the project included were joint celebrations of socio-religious festivals through involvement of Government officials, political and community leaders to promote a culture of inclusivity so that different segments of society value its local culture and traditions. SPO organized a one-day national conference on Celebrating diversity where artists, government officials and federal ministers committed to arrange such events in order to increase social cohesion among people of Pakistan. SPO also collaborated with Ministry of Human Rights and Minority Affairs Department and published a book titled ‘White in Flag’ to celebrate contributions of non-Muslim citizens of the country.  The project also entailed capacity building of community activists to improve their knowledge about legacy of powerful cultural heritage that nurtures unity in diversity for meaning full co-existence. Through such like initiatives SPO is trying to cultivate a desire in Pakistani society to promote culture, traditions and heritage that brings people closer to each other.

2. Pakistan Mother Languages Literature Festival

SPO and Indus Cultural Forum (ICF) successfully organized three ‘Pakistan Mother Languages Literature Festivals’ in Islamabad with the financial support of HBS, Government of Sindh and Lok Virsa from February 2016 to February 2018.

The overall goal of these festivals was to mainstream literature and art in local languages to celebrate Pakistan’s rich and diverse cultural history. These festivals played a key role in introducing local musicians, writers, folk singers, poets and play writers to youth.  SPO organized these festivals to promote Pakistan’s indigenous culture and strengthen social cohesion and interconnectedness. More than 150 authors, artists and researchers as speakers were being invited to share their knowledge about the rich linguistic and literary heritage of Pakistan. Specially those artists were encouraged who usually do not have access to such opportunities at the national level.

SPO under its ‘Culture Heritage & Tourism Promotion’ programme attained its core objective when SPO and other partners were officially approached by the Senate of Pakistan to participate in a Public Hearing. The Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice at that time was in the process of assessing a constitutional amendment bill to provide national status to all major languages of Pakistan. This initiative was instrumental in promoting the importance of Pakistan’s indigenous culture and also inspired policy makers to take timely decisions.

3. Promotion and Strengthening of Socio- Cultural Harmony and Local Artisans

SPO successfully implemented ‘Promotion and strengthening of social and cultural harmony and local artisans’ in collaboration with the Government of Punjab. The project started in January 2015 and concluded in May 2015, covering Lahore, Multan and Bahawalpur districts of Punjab.

The overall goal of the project was to promote local cultural heritage through traditional and indigenous performing arts by engaging and capacitating 40 local singers, musicians and story tellers including Trans-genders and Nomad groups of selected districts. Through this intervention, SPO developed networks and connected different groups of artists so they can collectively promote the voice of pluralism and cultural preservation across Pakistan.

SPO under its ‘Cultural Heritage & Tourism Promotion’ programme implemented this intervention by creating a group of peace advocates and enhancing their capacity to address the local issues through linkage building with the relevant government departments. 120 Khawaja Siras, Merasis, Dooms and Bhaands were identified and trained on different performing arts such as dancing, singing, mimicking, theatre and storytelling skills to introduce a unique and cultural approach to peace building. After the training Aman Toliyan were linked with District and Tehsil Municipal Administration in both districts. Resultantly, Punjab 1717 helpline received several complaints and an immediate action was taken.

4. Pur Aman Pakistan

SPO successfully implemented ‘Pur Aman Pakistan’ project in collaboration with Media Houses and Government of Pakistan from April to June 2015 in Multan and Lahore districts of Punjab.

The overall goal of this project was to curb and minimize violent extremism against vulnerable and marginalized communities of Pakistan through engaging electronic and print media. SPO, under this initiative produced 08 TV talk aired on mainstream TV channels. The TV programmes were produced with eminent guest speakers from academia, civil society actors, Govt. representatives and artists in Lahore and Multan.  A print media campaign was also launched to disseminate the message of cultural plurality, harmony and dignity of every citizen of Pakistan.

SPO under its ‘Cultural Heritage & Tourism Promotion’ programme implemented this short term initiative for mass awareness through print and electronic media.