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Developing training courses in heritage related construction skills for job creation and reduction of emigration in the Sahel region

© CRAterre | Arnaud Misse
Geographical focus

Over the last decade, several countries from the Sahel region have experienced insecurity and conflicts generated by rebel groups. This has affected the lives of the communities, worsening the region’s economic difficulties and leading to a considerable increase of migration of young men and women.

This is the case for Niger, which was affected by a Tuareg rebellion between 2007 and 2009, contributing to the emergence of a migration crisis. In addition, the city of Agadez, known as the “gateway to the desert” and whose Historic Centre was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2013, has today become a hub for human migration. Many young West Africans are now passing through this city to try to emigrate to Libya or Algeria, with the hope of reaching Europe to access a better life.

Simultaneously, the lack of implication of African youth in the safeguarding of heritage is detrimental to the conservation of the region’s heritage properties. Yet, the knowledge and skills which regulate the local building cultures of Agadez are still vivid through organizations such as the masons corporations, whose perpetuity is ensured thanks to their linkage with the city’s Sultanate. They are the main actors of the maintenance of the houses and monuments of the city, and are at the core of many rehabilitation projects.


In response to this critical situation, UNESCO is implementing a project that aims to develop an educational kit on heritage construction techniques to support job creation and the reduction of emigration in the Sahel region, as well as to train young people of Agadez in these techniques. More specifically, it will contribute to the following objectives:

  • Raise awareness on the importance of preserving the traditional building cultures of the Sahel among local communities as well as construction professionals and traditional practitioners, and to document them;
  • Create vocations among local communities (particularly youth) to incite them to work in the field of heritage-related construction;
  • Enhance the professional capacities among construction professionals and traditional practitioners of the Sahel region;
  • Explore new ways to respond to the evolving needs of the local communities living in heritage sites regarding their housings;
  • Enhance the state of conservation of the Historic Centre of Agadez and set it as an example for the countries of the Sahel region.

Progress made

  • Identification of national and international partners.
  • Elaboration of a roadmap for the implementation of the project.
  • Establishment of the contracts with the partners.
  • Due to several delays and challenges encountered during the development of the project, the activities could only start in January 2021 and the project implementation has been extended to October 2021.


  • International Committee for the Development of Peoples (CISP)
  • National Commission of Niger for UNESCO and ISESCO 

This project is made possible thanks to the financial support of the Government of the Netherlands through the UNESCO/Netherlands Funds-in-Trust (NFiT) cooperation.

World Heritage Properties 1
States parties 1
Geographical focus
Date Start: Wednesday, 3 February 2021
Date end: Wednesday, 3 February 2021