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Awards for preserving culture and achieving development preserving culture and achieving development
There are mountain heroes whose dedication and hard work directly benefits mountain communities across the HKH and we honour them through our annual ICIMOD Mountain Prize. Since 2018, we have sought nominations of individuals, organizations, or private sector entities based in the HKH or beyond whose outstanding efforts in enabling sustainable and resilient mountain development in the HKH region benefit the environment as well as communities—particularly the poor, the youth, and women. This year’s award was shared by two winners – Didar Ali, from Pakistan for his personal contributions to mountain communities in Pakistan, and The Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board (CHTDB) of Bangladesh.
Didar Ali, one of the founding members of the Bulbulik Heritage Centre in Gulmit, GilgitBaltistan Pakistan, has a passion for folk music and has worked to break taboos around women and girls playing music in creating a secular and safe space to teach and learn music. Didar Ali and his work has become a source of encouragement for many other musicians and actors across Pakistan to come forward, showcase their talents, and play a positive role to help preserve cultural heritage and develop a diverse society where everyone can live with mutual respect and harmony.
The CHTDB, the apex body for Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT)’s development is responsible for development intervention in rural roads, education, agriculture, supply of safe drinking water, promotion of mountain sports, culture and tourism, health and sanitation, women empowerment, conservation of wildlife, mountain ecosystem, cleaner energy and alternative livelihoods. Culturally, ethnically and topographically diverse, the CHT area is the only hilly and mountainous region in Bangladesh, covering a full one-tenth of the total area of the country. In the last five years alone, CHTDB implemented 474 long- and short-term projects targeted at improving the socio-economic condition of the people in the hills through which remote villages have been connected with sub-districts and district headquarters. This improvement in communication and connectivity has created market linkages for mountain products and thereby improved livelihoods and household incomes. This over forty year old institution has therefore demonstrated impact across a broad range of work in a marginal area of Bangladesh.
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