Panel Session from the launch of Cultural Protection Fund in Karachi Library ©

British Council Pakistan

The site of a 3.6-million-year-old human footprint and over 60 years of musical recordings from Syria are just two of the pieces of cultural heritage that will be safeguarded thanks to newly supported projects announced today by the Cultural Protection Fund.The twelve new projects, which represent funding of £1.77 million, will protect a range of tangible and intangible cultural heritage in Syria, Iraq, Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Occupied Palestinian Territories,Pakistan and Tanzania.

In addition to working with organisations and communities across 16 countries to protect tangible heritage - such as buildings and archaeological sites - the fund also preserves intangible heritage including music, traditional crafts and languages.

The six new Cultural Protection Fund projects that are being announced for Pakistan represent over £800 k in funding will protect both tangible and intangible heritage.  The cultural heritage which will be safeguarded includes Buddhist rock reliefs and inscriptions in the Swat Valley, and the ancient silk to wool weaving practice known as Shu in the Laspur Valley.

The details of the new Cultural Protection Fund projects being announced today for Pakistan are as follows. 

About the Cultural Protection Fund

Led by the British Council in partnership with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the Cultural Protection Fund (CPF) was launched in 2016 to protect vital cultural heritage at risk in conflict-affected regions. In 2019 the fund expanded its remit to protect cultural heritage at risk because of climate change and natural hazards. The overarching objective of the fund is to help create sustainable opportunities for social and economic development through building capacity to foster, safeguard and promote cultural heritage. The CPF awards funding to projects which keep cultural heritage sites and objects safe, as well as supporting the recording, conservation and restoration of cultural heritage. It also provides opportunities to local communities for training and education, enabling and empowering them in the long term to value, care for and benefit from their cultural heritage. Since 2016 the Cultural Protection Fund has awarded nearly £50m to 138 projects across 17 countries.

To see all of the 12 project details from our work globally please visit:  

Community-Based Conservation of Silk Route Heritage

Severe weather events caused by climate change are putting the unique architectural features of the 18th century Kharmang Palace and the 600-year-old Gholbasher House in the Yasin Valley at risk.

We are supporting Laajverd and partners to work closely with the local communities at both sites to digitally document and repair elements of each building and hold a design residency for Shu craftspeople to help revitalise the practice.

Preservation of the Late Buddhist rock heritage of Swat – Digitization and Preventive Conservation

Seasonal drought and heavy rainfall which cause increased instances of landslides, flash floods and rapid erosion, are endangering the Buddhist rock reliefs and inscriptions of the Swat Valley.

The fund is supporting Essanoor Associates to lead a project to include community-based climate change adaptation training for local people to better care for the sites as well as digital documentation of the reliefs and conservation of 30 reliefs requiring urgent intervention.

The Reading Room Karachi

The Khalikdina Hall and Library is one of only two remaining Reading Rooms in Karachi. Conflict-related instability has led to the building and its collections lacking appropriate management and care.

This new round of grants will support Numaish-Karachi to revitalise the space through improved access to the newly conserved and digitised literary assets. They will also provide a range of cultural activities for local communities.

Digital Heritage Trails Project (DHTP)

In the Indus Delta region of Sindh, five endangered maritime archaeological sites are at risk of rising sea levels and erosion as a result of climate change.

The Cultural Protection Fund is supporting MartimEA Research to lead a project to document the five sites and develop a digital trail of them across the Delta. Community engagement will capture local knowledge and folklore about the sites and the project will raise awareness of the archaeology locally through outreach activities for schools and museums.

Preserving & Promoting the Hazara Heritage

In Balochistan, where the Hazara community's intangible cultural heritage is at risk due to the effects of conflict, Faiz Foundation Trust will protect elements of this heritage by documenting it through film and photography.

The Trust will also offer capacity building for local artisans in skills associated with the promotion and protection of making kilim (a flat-woven rug or mat), Sawatkari (handmade silver jewellery) and embroidery, while the importance of the heritage will be highlighted through an advocacy and awareness raising programme.


Manchar Lake Mohanas – Safeguarding the last surviving houseboat village from extinction

The living heritage of the Mohana people who live around Manchar Lake, Sindh, is currently at risk due to increasingly severe seasonal drought and flooding brought about by climate change.

In this round of grants, the NED University of Engineering and Technology will work with the community to restore all 35 of the remaining Mohana houseboats and will train young volunteers in restoration techniques to keep the way of life of the Mohana alive.