Sports & Culture
Trade & Markets
Pakistan’s Broghil valley borders on the Afghan Wakhan corridor, which stretches between Tajikistan and Pakistan. The Broghil Valley National Park is situated about 250km from Chitral in Pakistan, sharing Wakhi cultural and language commonalities, as well as family bonds across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Surrounded by glaciers and mountains, the valley features around 30 freshwater lakes in a breathtaking landscape highly attractive for visitors. However, the Broghil valley’s remote location makes it one of the hardest-to-reach tourist destinations in Pakistan. Many communities in Broghil do not have access to basic facilities and services. Equally, visitors of the region have long been limited by poor access and the lack of accommodation and restaurant facilities.
Remarkably, this has not stopped this area from quickly gaining popularity amongst domestic and foreign tourists. The Annual Broghil Festival celebrated by locals attracts visitors from across the country and abroad but raises challenges due to the lack of basic road and hospitality infrastructure. Those attending the festival get to enjoy attractions and activities such as yak polo and exhibition of woolen handicrafts, which is all accompanied by traditional food and music.
PATRIP’s partner AKDN recognized the valuable potential for tourism and cross-border trade and decided to support the population by building tourist infrastructure and thus contribute the tools for continuous economic and social development. PATRIP Foundation subsequently presented the project’s concept note to the FFO, which approved funding in December 2015.
Financed by: German Federal Foreign Office (FFO) through KfW and PATRIP Foundation
Implemented by: The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP), established by the Aga Khan Foundation in 1982
Duration: January 2016 – December 2020
Budget: 700,000 EUR
Direct Beneficiaries: 2,073 individuals (288 households)
Indirect Beneficiaries: 18.000 people from Yarkhun valley and Wakhan Sarhad of Afghanistan
Key Outputs: Improved access to the Annual Broghil Festival by providing basic facilities and promoting tourism
The project focused on strengthening the appeal of the Broghil festival by providing basic facilities and promoting tourism and trade-related activities. AKDN aimed to achieve this through constructing a well-equipped polo ground with seating capacity of more than 500 individuals and a community resource center adjacent to polo ground, providing space for community interaction. With physical infrastructure development, the project also focused on building local capacities and skills and helped people to form local organizations. For example, the construction of five guest houses to facilitate visitors and skill-based trainings of women in wool products were developed to overall enhance livelihoods of the local community and promote their cultural heritage. The project’s goal was the enhancement of socio-economic conditions of locals by tapping into tourism potential and at the same time, encouraging legal cross-border trade that contributes to the region’s stability.
The project ensured maximum participation of the local communities during implementation of construction activities. Locally available construction materials were preferred to use to minimize the negative impact on the environment. During the process AKDN was confronted with many challenges due to the remoteness of the Broghil area that does not have any established markets even for trivial construction materials. That is why it was necessary to work in close partnership with local communities through village organisations, women organisations and local support organisations.
PATRIP Foundation welcomes the voluntary and paid engagement of locals, who are interested in contributing to the community infrastructure, in order to ensure complete ownership and operation of the facilities. The implementation of activities under the project, particularly the construction related tasks, remained a great source of learning for the team to undertake any future activities more actively. Moreover, safely engaging unskilled workers in the construction is helpful to ensure that the community remains invested in the project and is in charge of its success. Moreover, it helps moving the project along faster.
The annual Broghil Valley Festival 2019 has so far been the biggest event held in the area. Many tourist and visitors from within the country and some from across the borders attended Annual Broghil Festival in August 2019. Having practically no boarding and lodging service available before the project, community resource center and guestrooms are now facilitating the visitors. The new infrastructure provided the locals with opportunity to participate in both recreational and income earning activities through wool product merchandise. The completed interventions -polo-ground, community resource center, guesthouses, protection wall, are widely appreciated by the government, locals and visitors. As another important aspect, drinking water and sanitation schemes have elevated the quality of life of the locals as gauged by reduction in water borne diseases in Chikar Village.
Of note, the Annual Broghil Festival 2019 provided the community with enormous socio-economic opportunities and due to development of infrastructure under the project, the festival and other cultural events are anticipated to turn into regular events. More tourists and visitors within and across the border are expected to visit the area providing an incentive for increased economic exchange leading ultimately to improvement in the quality of life of local people. The community resource center for instance was used as hub to facilitate this visit and interaction with communities. Product development training envisaged to create a multiplier effect through skill transfer is already benefiting those from across the border. An immediate example of skill transfer is Bakht Begum team leader of Qarumber business group, who trained some women visitors from Afghanistan in colour mixing techniques and wool dying processes, which in turn will aid these women to diversify and innovate in wool product making.
PATRIP Foundation focuses on fostering the cross-border element of projects. This project is expected to create a multiplier effect through transfer of skills and trade across the border, hence strengthening and stabilizing cross-border relationships. Afghan visitors from across the border showed an overwhelming response towards the initiatives under the project and expressed their desire to have projects of similar nature. AKDN will maintain its presence in the area with follow-up programs, including an ongoing PATRIP funded road improvement project (All Weather Access Road in Chiral) which will contribute to improving access to the area and hence benefit from facilities in addition to easy access to services.
PATRIP Foundation supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In 2015, all member states of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda, whose main purpose was the introduction of 17 goals for sustainable development (SDGs). The goals aim at the joint creation of a world in which people are able to live together peacefully, as well as in ecologically compatible, socially just, and economically effective ways.
The described project contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals: