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 contributions to the development of the Palestinian society in the different regions, mainly in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, 1948 Palestinian areas, and Palestinian communities in Lebanon, through the following tracks: Culture & identity, Capacity Building ,Human Resource development, Emergency response.
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 team works in partnership with local institutions, such as the department of Islamic Waqf, various churches and local organizations involved in conservation of architectural heritage. OCJRP’s main international partners include UNESCO, ICCROM, and Istituto Veneto per I Beni Culturali.
Since its establishment the OCJRP has comprised four main components which are implemented in parallel to 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, through research, field surveys various technical studies in cooperation with a number of local and international experts. Over the past 15 years, OCJRP were able to establish two comprehensive data bases for the Old City of Jerusalem and the Old City of Nablus. Two Revitalisation Plans for both old cities were completed. The Jerusalem Plan was published in 2002 and the Nablus Plan will be published by the end of 2010. A number of publications were also produced including technical books and references.
Since 1995 a total of 460 housing units were restored and 62 historic build and monuments were restored and adopted for institutional use in the Old City of Jerusalem, Disbursing more than 28$ 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.
In recent years, OCJRP expanded its activities and started implementing restoration projects and related programmes in the Old City of Nablus. In 2007, OCJRP launched its new project to establish an institute for Architectural Heritage Institutions in Jerusalem in partnership with UNESCO and with EC funding.