Cultural heritage to promote human rights and development

Poverty is more than not having money; it is a form of social exclusion.

Bridging Ages have lot of experience of working with community-building and social cohesion through the development and use of cultural heritage. Applied cultural heritage is an approach that aspires to combine the management of cultural heritage with social and economic development in a sustainable manner. We believe that the intangible cultural heritage play a role in bringing human beings closer together and by incorporating human rights aspects in our programmes we see positive results in the society as a whole: greater understanding about one another; equality and empowerment among women and children; higher school enrollment rates; less child-marriages; less harmful traditional practices, etc.

Bridging Ages work with the human rights-based approach to development; creating local empowerment for community members (especially women and children), capacity-building, local ownership and positive change (the respect, protection and promotion of rights) in societies. We always collaborate with local stakeholders such as schools, healthcare facilities, local authorities, NGOs, CBOs and community members in our projects. The goal is always to create a safe space for dialogue among community members; reflect on contemporary issues; give voice to women, children/youth, people with disabilities; and improve quality of life for everyone in the community.

Examples of contemporary issues being addressed in our programmes:

  1. Marsabit county, northern Kenya: Women’s and children’s rights, school-drop outs, child marriages, harmful traditional practices such as FGM
  2. Kisumu, Kenya: post-election violence, unity and social cohesion
  3. Entebbe, Uganda: Building democracy, inclusion i.e. women and children part in the decision-making process
  4. Port Shepstone, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa: children’s rights with an emphasis on girls and vulnerable children
  5. Clanwilliam, South Africa: sustainable landscape and environmental rights
  6. Kragujevac, Serbia: Tolerance, unity and the effects of war

Our aim is to form a platform i.e. a “safe space” where civil dialogue among all community members is created through applied heritage education, i.e. the time travel method. The methodology is a pedagogical method for deeper engagement and learning, with a focus on the reflection of today’s social, cultural and economic issues, issues that are set in a historical perspective and in an educational context. The result is local commitment, self-confidence, inspiration, empowerment, joy and social cohesion. It creates a safe space where it becomes easier to deal with the issues that are particularly difficult and sensitive today, and everyone in the community has a voice.