The Value of Cultural Heritage
Raising Awareness about Environmental Protection as a Means of Developing the Tourism Sector in the Dahshour Community
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dahshour area hosts majestic Pyramids that have stood high in sharp contrast against the clear blue Dahshour skies from times immemorial.
Despite its historical value, the Dahshour area hasn’t nearly fulfilled its potential benefits from tourism. With an employment rate of 17%, the impact of a surge in tourism would have a tangible impact on the community’s living conditions.
- The project has worked on improving the road infrastructure that connects the archeological sites and the 5 communities of Dahshour. 13 km of the Maryoutiya road have already been rebuilt, allowing for more fluid flow of traffic.
- The project has helped create 700 jobs and provided 271 loans, improving the financial services for medium and small enterprises.
- The project helped train 400 local artisans in crafts production and business management. To improve the touristic sector, the project also provided formal training for 29 local guides, 25 heritage managers and 140 trainers of trainers.
The lack of adequate infrastructure has posed a severe environmental threat, and the lack of financial services for local enterprises has burdened the development of the tourism industry in Dahshour.
Funded by the Government of Spain’s Millennium Development Goals Fund, and implemented as joint project bringing together several UN agencies and local partners, the “Mobilization of the Dahshour World Heritage Site for Community Development” project has formulated a comprehensive strategy to improve the living conditions of the population.
The project combines the improvement of transit infrastructures, with the conservation of archeological and natural places, and the development of handicrafts and services for commercial and touristic purposes.
One of the main aspects of the project concerns finding solutions for environmental problems that not only threaten the tourism industry but have an adverse impact on living conditions in general. For this purpose, the Dahshour community organized in early April 2013 an event that aims to raise awareness about environmental issues in the area. Several schools from Dahshour participated in the event, organizing a garbage collection rally through the villages, the lake, and the surrounding necropolis. The day also included planting trees and animation activities at schools involving the parents as well as students.
The students have displayed a great degree of enthusiasm regarding the recently-introduced environmental education at their schools. “We have to preserve the water and the earth for future generations,” says one of the students. “We would like to learn more about environmental preservation”. And the enthusiasm seems to be contagious, as evident in the parents’ shifting attitudes.