28.05.2013 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

Linking culture and education to contribute to the development of the Greater Lumbini Area

©UNESCO/A. Plathe -Monks in Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha

Building on UNESCO’s ongoing advocacy to link culture with sustainable development, the UNDP/UNESCO Lumbini Support project is initiating a strategy to operationalize UNESCO’s “Culture for Development” concept in the Greater Lumbini Area.

The strategy is aimed at integrating culture related components into education in the Kapilvastu, Rupandehi and Nawalparasi districts, where many people have never been part of the conventional education system and are in many cases illiterate.

The main focus of the strategy will be using non-formal education initiatives through the Community Learning Centres (CLCs) to integrate culture related elements with the potential for income-generation in non-formal education settings, which will benefit vulnerable groups including illiterate women and girls.

To examine ways to put this strategy into practice, a local stakeholders’ consultation on “Integrating culture into non-formal education in the Greater Lumbini Area” will be held in Lumbini on Friday, 31 May 2013.  Representatives from the CLCs, local teachers, local government officials and other active members of the community will participate to identify areas in which culture can be included in the educational curriculum that would benefit target groups.   Local stakeholders, who were involved in the Tourism for Rural Poverty Alleviation Programme (TRPAP) in Rupandehi between 2002 and 2007, will also share their insights to determine if some of the lessons learned and highlights from the TRPAP activities can be applied when including culture into the education system. 

A broader follow-up meeting is planned to be held in Kathmandu later this year with the participation of international experts to share further information on operationalizing the “Culture for Development” concept.

Culture, as a dynamic force for change, is an essential component of human development. It is a source of identity, innovation and creativity for individuals and communities, as well as a tool for inclusion, reconciliation and cohesion. Culture-centric industries, tourism, heritage preservation and local traditional know-how are increasingly powerful economic tools for generating employment and income for those traditionally left behind. Moreover, cultural identity’s evolving role in a rapidly globalizing Nepal can be used as a positive springboard for dialogue within and among vulnerable groups and society.

Recently, the Hangzhou International Congress on "Culture: Key to Sustainable Development"   recognized the power of culture for development.  Its participants called on governments, civil society and the private sector to harness the power of culture in addressing the world’s most pressing developmental challenges, such as environmental sustainability, poverty and social inclusion.




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