banglanatak dot com signs partnership agreement with UNWTO at Berlin, March 2015
Culture and Development

"Now the time has come to fully integrate culture into the global development agenda, through clear targets and indicators, as an overarching principle of all development policies, as an enabler of sustainability, as driver of growth".

Irina Bokova, Director General, UNESCO

  • 1 Art Exhibitions
  • 2 Art for social change
  • 3 Creating identity for heritage traditions
  • 4 Developing Folk Tourism
  • 5 Training Programmes
  • 6 Folk artists perform at a programme on Climate Change
  • 7 Folk for the Urban
  • 8 Innovative Designs
  • 9 Pater Gan
  • 10 Preserving Traditional Skills
Art for Life

Our flagship initiative, is our model for fostering socioeconomic empowerment and social inclusion by revitalising the rich heritage of art and culture in rural India. We use the strategy of creating livelihood opportunities for rural marginalized poor by using their traditional culture as a 'skill' thus creating green pathway for development.  Initiated in 2004, the programme has so far covered 25000 traditional folk performing and handicrafts artists and successfully transformed traditional cultural capital into economic asset. Art has become the primary source of income for 40% of the beneficiaries and a significant secondary source for others. The marginalised artists' villages are evolving as cultural destinations. 

Capacity building, direct market linkage and promotion have led to creation of grassroots creative enterprises. Culture has become the driver of local development and contributed to poverty alleviation and women empowerment. 

Roadmap of AFL

Green Economy for Forest Fringe Communities of West Bengal

Sal leaves are in abundance in West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and parts of Bihar surrounding the Chotanagpur Plateau. Sal leaves is a traditional source of livelihood for the forest fringe communities of this region. They collect the Sal leaves from the forest and either sell them as it is or make simple plates by joining multiple plates with twigs.

A market study undertaken under the aegis of West Bengal Khadi Village & Industries Board (WBKVIB) clearly showed that this tradition of the forest fringe communities can be explored to develop grassroots enterprises. This has the dual advantage of augmenting income of the communities in one hand, and developing a green economy on the other through the eco-friendly and bio-degradable Sal leaf products. It will also reduce the dependency of the forest fringe communities on timber produce and encourage them to preserve the forests. The market study also showed that the unstitched Sal leaf plate fetches a meager 20 paise per plate as against a stitched plate which fetches 80 paise per plate. Thus, for fulfilling the aim of developing this traditional livelihood into enterprises, it was imperative that the women are trained on stitching and moulding for proper finished products which will get them more margins.

WBKVIB thus initiated a 17 months project in Aug 2015 across Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum and Paschim Medinipur districts covering 23 blocks and 90 Gram Panchayats with 10000 women of developing Sal leaf based enterprises. The project is being implemented by banglanatak dot com.

The women self help groups have been provided with bio fueled hand moulding machines and heavy duty stitching machines. Trainings on stitching and moulding are underway to produce finished products which will enhance their market opportunity. Market linkages for the women’s collectives are being established. Market study also shows that the current scale of production is much less than the existing demands in the local markets. The Sal leaf based products are also gaining popularity for their eco-friendly nature in the national and international markets like UK as well as with fashion designers, event organizers etc. Designers are experimenting with these products to make them water resistant and damage proof using non toxic treatments. As part of the project’s direct market linkage facilitation, such avenues are being explored for developing sustained business linkages.
Go Green Mission was launched in December 2015 aiming at promoting Sal leaf based products as an eco-friendly alternative. It is reaching out to the hotels and restaurant owners, canteen runners and corporate and encourage them to endorse, promote, use and procure the eco friendly products which would also directly benefit the forest fringe community of West Bengal. Shopping malls and housing complexes are being approached to host Madurkathi exhibitions to popularize the natural fibre.

It is heartening to see the impact the project is creating in just 8 months. Women from tribal communities like Lodha, Shabar, who could not afford to provide a proper lifestyle and education for their children are now supporting school education for their children from their income. The trainers who are also from the local communities are appreciating the pride and recognition. It si also providing them with steady income opportunity.


Our Culture & Livelihood Experience


Supported by



Rural Enterprises covered

Focus Areas

Empowering forest fringe communities to improve quality of life

West Bengal Khadi & Village Industries Board (WBKVIB)

Purulia, Bankura, Paschim Medinipur, Birbhum

West Bengal

1000 SHGs involved with making Sal leaf based products

Developing skills, market linkage and equipping with machines

Strengthening traditional Madurkathi based cottage industry

Under National Fibre Mission, WBKVIB

Purba Medinipur

West Bengal

4000 artisans

Training to improve weaving skills, strengthening market linkage and developing cultural tourism

Feasibility study of introducing traditional culture based livelihood in Tea gardens

UNESCO, New Delhi



100 families

Assessment of traditional cultural forms and tradition bearing communities, their socio-economic condition and interest

Assessment of tourism potential

Directorate of Handloom, GoWB


West Bengal

Handloom and Handicraft clusters

Identifying potential

Developing Rural Craft Hubs

Department of MSME&T, GoWB

Coochbehar, Dakshin Dinajpur, Nadia, Bardhaman, Birbhum, Purulia, Bankura, Paschim & Purba Medinipur

West Bengal

3000 families involved with Sitalpati, Wooden Doll, Wooden Mask, Clay Doll, Terracotta, Kantha Embroidery, Dokra, Chau Mask, Madurkathi

Capacity Building to improve technical, business and life skills, Market Linkage, Exchange & Collaboration

Developing culture as livelihood

Project JEEViKA, Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society, GoB

Saharsa, Supaul, Madhepura, Khagaria, Purnea, Muzaffarpur, Gaya,Nalanda, Madhubani


1500 people involved with traditional folk songs, dance, theatre and visual art

Capacity Building, Market Linkage, Exchange- Collaboration

Empowering Women Folk Painters at Madhubani to Run Creative Business

U.S Department of State



Madhubani painters of four GPs namely Simri, Satghara, Chichri Kanungo and Ranti

Cluster development, Sustained Business Processes

Ambedkar Hasthshilpa Vikas Yojana

Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts),Ministry of Textiles, GOI


West Bengal

Patachitra Craft Enterprise

Development of  Patachitra Cluster

Ethnomagic Going Global (EGG)

European Union. Partners IICTD, London & PAX, Liverpool, associate UNESCO, Delhi)

Purulia, East and West Medinipur,Malda,Nadia, Bankura

West Bengal

The six art forms of Chau,Jhumur,Domni,Gambhira,Patachitra and Baul Fakiri.

Promoting Rural enterprise on the six identified folk forms

Evaluation study of UNESCO South Asia Seal of Excellence Awards for Crafts


India ,Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives

West Bengal

Handicrafts :Textiles, Natural Fibre, Ceramics, Wood, Stone, Metal, Other (including paintings)

Evaluation Study of the impact of the Award

Baseline Study of Handloom in Fulia

Crafts Revival Trust

West Bengal, Nadia

West Bengal

Handloom (Tant ) saris of Fulia

Baseline study of the status of the Handloom Industry

Development of Cluster with weaver SHGs

Ministry of textiles, Government of India


West Bengal

200 Weaver SHGs in Shantipur Block

Cluster development, market linkage

Action research to set up rural business hubs

Ministry of Panchayat , GoI

Coochbihar, North 24 Parganas, Birbhum, Purulia, Purba and Paschim Medinipur

West Bengal

Jute, Sitalpati, Lac, Tassar, Embroidery, Patachitra, Madurkathi, Pottery, Incense Sticks

Cluster development, Market linkage and promotion

Action research on forest based livelihoods

Department of Forest

Purulia, South 24 Parganas

West Bengal

Lac, Tassar, Sal leaf plates, Incense Sticks

Capacity building

Leveraging economic activities of the Poor (LEAP)

Kolkata Urban Services for the Poor Project (KUSP)

Hooghly, North 24 Parganas

West Bengal

Embroidery, bag making, jute products

Capacity Building, Cluster Development, Brand building and promotion

Knowledge Aided Rural Marketing Initiatives (KARMI)

DRD Cells

Purba Medinipur (Satadal) and North 24 Pargans (Angana)

West Bengal

Conch Shell, Jute, Wood carving, Madurkathi, Embroidery etc.

Capacity Building, Cluster Development, Brand building and promotion

Study to develop five year  district action plan for developing nonfarm sector



West Bengal

Study covered non farm sector enterprise across all the  blocks

Action Plan development


AFL in West Bengal

Since 2005 we are working with 3200 folk artists in six districts of West Bengal.
The art forms are Chau Dance of Purulia, Jhumur song and dance of Bankura and Purulia, folk drama Gambhira and Domni of Malda, Baul & Fakiri songs of Nadia and Patachitra of Purba and Pachim Medinipur


AFL in Bihar

Since 2011, AFL is being implemneted in 9 districts of Bihar. we are working with 3200 folk artists in six districts of West Bengal.
We are working with 4 art forms namely Lokgeet, Lokgatha, Loknritya and Madhubani painting.


AFL in Punjab

Punjab's culture has always maintained immense popularity for its vibrancy and liveliness. Presently the Givernment of Punjab is planning to promote the folk art forms and use rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Punjab and its potential to contribute to the development of teh state.

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