Government of West Bengal and UNESCO join hands towards culture-based rural development
On 16 September 2013, Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, signed a MoU and Funds-in-Trust Agreement worth 95 million Indian Rupees with Mr. Rajiva Sinha, Principal Secretary, Department of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises and Textile, Government of West Bengal towards the development of ten Rural Craft Hubs.
The exchange took place in the presence of the Honourable Chief Minister of West Bengal, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, on the occasion of the MSME Business Conclave. In keeping with the UNESCO mandate on Culture for Development, the collaboration intends to explore the potential of traditional handicraft skills to provide a much needed boost to rural employment and livelihood improvement. Some 2500 artisans of West Bengal will benefit from capacity building training and direct market exposures over a thirty-month period as well as from the creation of ten rural craft hubs.
Through this project in West Bengal, UNESCO hopes to provide a model case for culture-based rural development. UNESCO commends the Government of West Bengal for taking a major step in integrating culture and artistic skills into an entrepreneurship development strategy and is honoured to be involved in the implementation of this important venture.
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