$2.3 Million Grant Bolsters Economic Development on the Abraham Path in the West Bank
Autumn 2014 has seen a bustle of new activities popping up along the Abraham Path between Jenin and Hebron. Girl and boy scout trail clean-up events, university photography competitions, guided weekly walks, homestay trainings, trail analysis thru-hikes, and educational meetings with Palestinian municipalities are just a few examples of the hive of activity that is energizing the path.
These activities are largely possible thanks to a two-year, $2.3 million grant from the World Bank State and Peacebuilding Fund for a project entitled “Abraham Path/Masar Ibrahim: Economic Development Across Fragile Communities.” The Abraham Path Initiative and Palestinian partner organizations will utilize the funds to engage more communities, bring more walkers, and increase job creation and income generation on the path, especially for women and youth.
“This investment by the World Bank allows one of the most innovative social change projects in the Middle East to grow to scale,” commented Stefan Szepesi, Executive Director of the Abraham Path Initiative.
The main elements of the grant include:
- Investment in People and Institutions, including a comprehensive one-year guide training program by Bethlehem University and capacity building for local partner organizations
- Path Development, including increasing trail distance in the north and south and improving maps and other practical hiker materials
- Marketing, Business Development, and Communication, including outreach to tour operators, profiles on points of interest, and production of marketing materials
- Action Research, including the publication of 10 research papers which analyze the impact of the Abraham Path and capture lessons about job creation through trail development
API partners with Masar Ibrahim al Khalil, a Palestinian nonprofit developing the path in the West Bank that is comprised of a union with the Rozana Association, the Siraj Center, Palestine Wildlife Society and Bethlehem University Institute for Community Partnership.
Photo Credits: Sumaya Agha/API