Through the Cultural Heritage Unit, SFD supports the preservation of Yemen’s unique architecture, historical documents, handicrafts and other aspects of cultural heritage. Architectural assets receive special focus as they strongly reflect the uniqueness of the Yemeni identity and are increasingly threatened by modern building techniques and materials.
The overall objective is to effectively participate in protecting different cultural heritage assets. The aims of the Cultural Heritage sector are to help in the conservation of Yemen’s main historical sites, to build capacity for protecting cultural heritage, to document cultural heritage endangered and increase public awareness and to save Yemen’s most threatened sites. SFD’s Cultural Heritage support also contributes to poverty reduction through employment of labor and traditional craftspeople.
The objectives are achieved through four main strategies:
- Contributing to the conservation of main historic cities especially those inscribed in the World Heritage sites and those of architectural importance;
- Expanding the national technical, professional and managerial capacity at different levels to protect cultural heritage.
- Assisting in the establishment of inventories of the country’s cultural heritage assets, and:
- Saving most endangered, most significant sites and monuments.
Most projects under Cultural Heritage are implemented from SFD headquarters. Potential projects are screened on a case by case basis and criteria used for screening are likely to include aspects relating to cultural, historical and aesthetic value, uniqueness, degree of threat, involvement of traditional crafts people and labor, its potential for tourism or other income generation, gender balance and technical feasibility.
Examples of the types of intervention undertaken are:
- Documentation of endangered assets of cultural and historical importance.
- Conservation, restoration, and rehabilitation of monuments and built assets.
- Training and other support to crafts people.
- Financing interventions aimed at capacity enhancement of SFD’s partners.
- Various training activities at a number of levels.
The diverse nature of the sector does not allow ‘standard’ designs and contracts and consequently require different ways of implementation, monitoring, quality assurance and evaluation.