Masar Ibrahim, a sustainable and relevant tool for local development in Palestine:
To continue what started 6 years ago, A Rural Development program in Palestine was supported by AFD and French and Palestinian local authorities through the decentralized cooperation through the consortium AFRAT – Tétraktys – Masar Ibrahim Al Khalil (MIAK) are aiming to structure rural development around the Masar in Palestine. Validated in phase 1 (2013-2016), the development model was reinforced in phase 2 (2016-2019) with an extension of the path and an advance towards empowering stakeholders and trail management. The relevance of the initiative has been validated by all the actors of the program at the cultural, political, historical and social levels, as well as in terms of potential for sustainability and replicability. Solid foundations have been established: economic impacts for communities, involvement of women, youth and marginalized populations, strengthening of social cohesion, diversification of tourism in Palestine, development of local tourism and hiking tourism, national and international recognition of the hiking route. Today, the challenge is to transfer ownership of the path from MIAK to local authorities and communities in order to foster the governance in addition, the program will cover the entire trail in order to harmonize the impact for the villages crossed and to reinforce the coherence of the activities carried out in Palestine.
In order for MIAK to continue to be an effective and sustainable tool for local development and social cohesion, the project objectives must be carried by local actors capable of maintaining and animating it. Therefore, MIAK is implementing this three years’ project (November 2019-April 2022) to achieve the following expected results:
– Sustainability of the trail management: through Reinforcing the involvement of local authorities and communities and their ownership of the trail. This objective will strengthen the involvement of the local and national authorities and of the local communities and their belonging to the path through implementing several activities like creating tourism clusters which will participate in the strategy and decisions for the management and the development of the Path.
– The sustainability of MIAK: through Reinforcing MIAK in its role of territorial animator/facilitator and representative of multi-day hiking/ biking trails in Palestine.
– The sustainability of the tourism product: through Reinforcing the Masar as a tourist product, vector of economic development for the communities.
Several project activities were rescheduled until after the quarantine. Amongst these is the tourism clusters creation, local guides trainings, hiking and biking guides trainings, trainings and hikes for local authorities; MIAK staff trainings and capacity building activities and, trail development, management and marketing activities.