The Rozana Association for the Development of Architectural Heritage was established in 2007 to promote sustainable development in rural Palestine. Through its partnerships and networks with other Palestinian organizations and entities, Rozana has implemented a community-based, socially-responsible approach that leverages existing resources and capacities to develop community competencies that can generate income and improve the quality of village lives.
Rozana’s work is focused on five main areas: Architectural Heritage, Trails and Tours, Cultural Events, Community Capacity Building, and Networks and Partnerships. Two significant partnerships for which Rozana provides leadership are the Masar Ibrahim al Khalil (www.masaribrahim.ps) and the Network of Palestinian Tourism Organizations (www.nepto.ps).
The Rozana Association offers an array of cultural and educational events such as the Birzeit Heitage Week, Birzeit Ramadan Nights, and the Maftoul Festival, as well as thematic tours and hikes to Sufi shrines, maqams and restored village historic centers that explore Palestine’s landscapes and historic architecture. Rozana’s strong community connections provide opportunities to meet and engage with Palestinians where and how they live while simultaneously assisting in rural socio-economic development.
In implementing this project, the Rozana Association has four goals:
- To improve the socio-economic status of women, often marginalized, in rural areas of the West Bank by giving them access to local and international tourism markets, advertising their tourist services, and linking them to the supply chain of those services;
- To promote and utilize Palestine’s unique cultural heritage as a pathway to sustainable development through tours and trails (Abraham Path/Masar Ibrahim al Khalil and Sufi Trails) across rural West Bank communities normally ignored by mainstream tourism;
- To protect and preserve the cultural, religious, natural, and archeological heritage held by the people of these villages, information generally unknown to wider Palestinian and foreign audiences.
- To establish an extended network for alternative tourism among the rural West Bank municipalities and village councils which provide hospitality along the Masar Ibrahim and Sufi trails.
Raed Saadeh - Chairman
My efforts in community based tourism development are about building identity, promoting local culture, preserving and employing local heritage such as architecture and handcrafts in the creation of new packages and offers for the discerning visitor.
Tourism development is an indulging experience that enhances and fosters the inclusion of several sustainability elements in its initiatives and activities. These include cross secretarial synergies, promotion of cultural diversity, and interpretation-based programs. The latter is a community based method for program building and guiding that ensures the engagement of both the locals and the visitors and that fosters the protection of local resources, capacities and culture.
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The Rozana Association
can be reached by mail at Old City, Birzeit, Palestine,