About Welfare Association:
Welfare Association is a private, non-profit foundation established in Geneva in 1983 to support Palestinian society in sustainable development. As a pioneering development Palestinian organization, WA dedicates its work to provide a unique contribution to support development efforts of Palestinians, help preserve their heritage and identity, support their living culture and develop their civil society.
WA contributes to the development of the Palestinian society in the different regions, mainly in the 1948 Palestinian areas, the West Bank, including Jerusalem, Gaza Strip and Palestinian communities in Lebanon, through the following tracks: Culture & identity, Capacity Building, Human Resource development, Emergency response.
About The Old City of Jerusalem Revitalization Programme
The Old City of Jerusalem Revitalization Programme (OCJRP) was established by the Welfare Association in 1994 with primary funding from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development in order to achieve sustainable development and renewal of Jerusalem's much neglected Old City. In 1995 WA established a Technical Office to implement various OCJRP components through an interdisciplinary technical team of urban planners, architects, engineers and archaeologists.
The Technical Team also calls upon a number of local and international experts in the field of architectural history, archeology and sociology. The team works in partnership with local institutions, such as the department of Islamic Waqf, various churches and a number of local organizations. OCJRP's main international partners include UNESCO, ICCROM, and the Istituto Veneto per I Beni Culturali.
The OCJRP is the only professional body carrying out a comprehensive revitalization programme in neglected areas of the Moslem, Christian, and Armenian quarters of the Old City. Its purpose is to help protect Jerusalem's cultural heritage, applying international conventions and the highest professional standards, for the direct benefit of residents, building users and visitors to the Old City as well as for future generations.
Since its establishment the OCJRP has comprised four main components which are implemented in parallel. Consequently, this will achieve a comprehensive and integrated revitalisation process that goes beyond the restoration and rehabilitation of the historic buildings and monuments. By providing training and capacity building in the field of heritage preservation, resulting in jobs created in this field, and engaging the community in the protection of the architectural and cultural heritage, OCJRP aims to achieve a development goal as well as a cultural objective. The main OCJRP components also include the creation of an information and documentation centre. This is being achieved by establishing a comprehensive database for the Old City based on extensive research and field surveys.
Since 1995 more than 654 housing units were restored and 68 historic build and monuments were restored and adopted for institutional use in the Old City of Jerusalem, Disbursing more than 44$ million in project funds from various donors. The programme is recognized internationally as a signal programme in its field: in 2004 OCJRP received the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in its 9th award cycle.
Recently, the programme has expanded its activities to reach out the Old City of Nablus. In 2007 WA institutionalized its training effort by developing an institute for architectural heritage funded by the EU. The institute first phase completed by February 2011. The second phase funded by Arab Fund to consolidate the achievements of the first phase and finalize the establishment of the Institute started 2012. A further fund was recently granted by the EU to continue with the project by implementing housing projects in the Old City of Jerusalem applying the same training needed to build the capacity of professionals and skilled labor.