Visit Rohtas Fort

About The Project

Around the world there is now an increased recognition of the needs for the involvement of local community specifically, youth, in the conservation and preservation of their cultural and natural heritage. UNESCO Convention on World Heritage asks for giving heritage a function in the lives of people and enhance the role of community in management and protection of heritage sites through awareness raising and developing economic stakes. 

In Pakistan, there is now growing awareness that the future of Pakistan’s remaining heritage will largely depend on the decisions and actions of the present generation of young people who will soon become the leaders and decision-makers of tomorrow. Recognizing these facts, UNESCO Islamabad with the collaboration of Sustainable Tourism Foundation Pakistan and  the support of Directorate General of Archaeology, Government of Punjab undertook a series of interventions focusing on engaging the local community and youth in safeguarding cultural heritage in the area of Rohtas Fort – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The project has been made possible by the generous support of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS). 

Under the title of “Engage Local Community and Youth in Safeguarding Heritage and Promote Heritage Entrepreneurship through Capacity building and Awareness Raising at Rohtas Fort”, an effort was made to build the capacity of local communty through several iniatives:  

1. Capacity Building Training Workshop on Heritage Entrepreneurship for Women

  Much of the community living in and around Rohtas Fort is considerably conservative, and in many households, women remain at home. Among those who have professional careers, most work as teachers for local schools. The central aim of this workshop was to develop crafts skills among these women and guide them on the basics of setting up a small enterprise. The long-term goal is to bring economic stability to the community and empower women to earn a living through their craft skills.  

The workshops were held in female-only spaces within the village, and led by a female instructor, to encourage participation. This group of trainees now works as community-based enterprise named ‘Rohtas Heritage Crafts’. The products developed by trainees will be available for sale on a website for Rohtas Fort, which is also being developed under this project. Proceeds from the sales will be channeled back into further expanding the enterprise. 

In addition, selected high school students were also trained in the unique art if replica coin making. During this process, students were also taught about the ethics of developing and selling replicas, and the value of keeping original objects on display in museums. The sets of replica coins are available as souvenirs for sale through this website.   

  2. Capacity Building Training Workshop for Teachers on Engaging Community in Safeguarding Cultural Heritage at Rohtas Fort  

A workshop was conducted to build the capacity of teachers for instilling knowledge, skills, and responsible social behaviors among their students about safeguarding cultural heritage. Lectures, presentation, group work, and field surveys were conducted by trainers on the topics of heritage education, community engagement in heritage protection, heritage entrepreneurship, and developing a sense of responsibility among the local community to play active role in the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage.  

Educational tool kits on heritage conservation developed by UNESCO were also distributed among the training participants to use as a resource material for conducting awareness raising conducing sessions in their schools. Students were also engaged in extra-curricular activities such as trash clean up drives, art, and essay writing competitions and more, based on themes of heritage conservation.  

3. Training Program for Tour Guides at Rohtas Fort 

Many locals rely on working as tour guides at Rohtas Fort to earn a living. These local tour guide operate with the permission of the Provincial Directorate of Archaeology, but do not possess official certification. The main goal of this training was to develop theoretical knowledge and procedural skills for those already working as tour guides who wanted to polish their skills and gain proper certification, as well as those who were entirely new to the field of professional tourism. Following an intense 7-day training program that covered topics such as historical research and fact-checking, developing custom tours, pricing models, basic First Aid, and more, trainees were tasked with leading a tour to demonstrate their newly acquired skills.  

After completing this training, all participants were awarded certification, and an agreement was reached to formalize them as ‘Rohtas Fort Tourist Guide Association’. This will facilitate a steady income stream for local communities, and further incentivize them to safeguard heritage sites based on their historic as well as economic value.  

4. Promotional Materials & Website 

Promotional material for Rohtas Fort in the form of leaflets and posters has been developed in both Urdu and English. This material will be made available at the Fort, as well as in surrounding regions to raise awareness. This website for Rohtas Fort is also a valuable resource through which visitors can gain factually incorrect information about the history of the region, as well as updated information on tourist facilities at the site. The website provides information on how to book a tour in advance, and visitors can also purchase locally made handicrafts from the website, to support local entrepreneurs.