The early version of the application was released to select group of heritage professionals for testing and design feedback.

BAHRAIN, UAE (November 1, 2016) – 11 participants from the Middle East and North Africa attended the AMAL in Heritage workshop in Bahrain to test the prototype of AMAL’s mobile application for damage assessment of cultural heritage.

This workshop was organized jointly by Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH) and Global Heritage Fund (GHF) from October 23-25 and was hosted at the headquarters of ARC-WH in Bahrain.

AMAL in Heritage is a program for managing disaster and conflict risks for the cultural heritage of the Middle East and North Africa through a combination of tools, training, and community development. AMAL was launched by GHF and its international partners, ARC-WH, ICOMOS-ICORP, ICCROM, and Prince Claus Fund.

The AMAL mobile application is intended to assist professional and volunteer teams to prioritize and strategize emergency interventions for cultural heritage following a disaster or conflict. In support of this goal, the participants answered critical questions for developing a mobile application for Rapid Damage Assessment through design, prototyping, and testing the ideas with GHF’s team, represented by Mr. Andres Acosta and AMAL Director Bijan Rouhani.

“The design phase was a critical moment for AMAL in Heritage,” says Nada Hosking, Director of Programs and Partnerships at Global Heritage Fund. “Ultimately, this application needs to be used by people on the ground. We needed their feedback to fine-tune the application and provide them everything they needed to do their work.”

Following theoretical discussion of the application, the participants carried out an on-site exercise for damage assessment in a number of historic houses and properties in Al Muharraq, Bahrain. The data and information the participants gathered off-line during the on-site exercise were then input into AMAL database. The site visit was facilitated by Dr. Alaa Alhabshi from the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities.

The workshop concluded with the establishment of the AMAL Beta Community, composed of cultural heritage professionals from Syria, Iraq, and Tunisia. The AMAL Beta Community will contribute to ongoing the design process of the damage assessment mobile application and will conduct on-site damage assessment exercises and projects in Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, and other countries in the region when able. The case studies and feedback from the AMAL Beta Community will feed into the improvement process of the final phase of AMAL mobile application.

“I am immensely proud of AMAL in Heritage and the AMAL in Heritage team, and especially our new partners on the AMAL Beta Community. Their efforts have brought us very far towards creating the first scalable, community-based mobile application designed specifically for safeguarding cultural heritage sites. With further testing and refinement, we will soon have a product ready to release to the public” said Hosking.

Participants in the workshop and their institutional affiliations included: Kamal Bitar (ARC-WH), Bijan Rouhani (Director, AMAL in Heritage), Andres Acosta (App Designer, GHF), Mustapha Khanoussi (ICOMOS-Tunisia), Anwar Sabik (ICCROM-Athar), Aram M.A. Ahmed (Iraqi Institute for Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage), Ahed Diab (Syria Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums), Lamis Bakjaji (Syria Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums), Rahaf Orabi (Syria Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums), Nailah Alkhalifa (Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities), Ahmed Aljishi (Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities)

About Global Heritage Fund

Global Heritage Fund (GHF) is an international conservancy dedicated to protecting, preserving, and sustaining the most significant and endangered cultural heritage sites in the developing world. GHF utilizes its 360-degree Preservation by Design® methodology of community-based planning, science, development, and partnerships to enable long-term preservation and sustainability of global heritage sites. Since 2002, GHF has invested over $30 million and secured $25 million in co-funding for 20 global heritage sites to ensure their sustainable preservation and responsible development. To learn more, please visit www.globalheritagefund.org.