Institution Buildings

The development and implementation of a project such as the conservation of Ganish cannot be conceived without the backing by an organized community effort. An effective and representative community organization can provide the much needed convergence of opinion, based on which decisions can be taken, collective energies harnessed, and commonly agreed goals achieved.

In the beginning, AKCS-P applied a community – wide model of development through institution building (similar to the town management institution established in Karimabad), embracing the population and territory of greater Ganish. Yet, the community-wide management model did little to foster a better understanding of the problem of cultural survival and environmental threat faced by the larger community and failed to generate a sense of common purpose.

As a result, the institutional basis for development at the scale of greater Ganish remained at best informal and could not be consolidated and shaped to lend its strength to the conservation of heritage assets in historic Ganish. However, community leaders with strong ties to the old village appeared to appreciate the value of the heritage assets of Ganish Khun and how heritage and economic well being could be linked. It was at the level of the historic village, therefore, that the most progress was made in demonstrating this link. Conservation in Ganish Khun happened in spite of the institutional dysfunction at the scale of greater Ganish. It happened because of informal, small –scale and intimate organizational structures that emerged within Ganish Khun.

What has been achieved in this way has helped in returning to an emphasis on institution building. In the spring of 2001, the thirty-odd households of Ganish met in the Ganish Jataq and resolved to establish the Ganish Khun Heritage Care and Social Welfare Society, registered under the Societies Act. The Society aims at the management of the conservation, rehabilitation and maintenance of the village as a continuous process, in addition to a wide range of social aims. Visits to the village are henceforth regulated and the Society has already
shown impressive progress in the organization and management of the village as a source of revenues. This small institutional foundation at the level of the historic village is now leading the process of the establishment and consolidation of community wide institutions, by increasingly being looked upon by the people of Ganish as the appropriate model of managing their community assets.