Supported by ICCROM, the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development and the Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities, the project aimed at developing a comprehensive training module that mirrored the syllabus delivered at the First Aid Course held in Rome from 26 Sept. to 28 Oct. 2011, while adding to it a more local relevance concerning the Egyptian context, the took into consideration the nature and scale of local heritage and the current political situation in the country
The training brought together governmental antiquities officials and antiquities professionals through interested local civil society organizations where an exchange can take place. Such exchange allowed professionals, who are eager to protect Egypt’s cultural heritage, to be cognizant of the government’s efforts and also become aware of its weak aspects, for example; where sites and inventories are not registered or protected and how protection efforts can best take place. It will also allow for the coordination of efforts between government and civil society. The concept of the project allowed such entities to meet and learn from their challenges and experiences to supplement each other capabilities. The training succeed in offering an opportunity to explore these issues and to gain skills in the safeguarding of these important assets. By the end of the training, especially during the final simulation the cooperation between the participants, who represent the governmental officers, and the participants, who represent the civil society organizations, was clear and reflected the efforts which have been made during the 3 weeks training in order to qualify one big team represent both.
Training took place in Cairo and site visits were conducted to allow the participants to practically experience the situation on the ground and take specific action in relation to the peculiar situation of each site.
The teaching approach was modern and effective. The teaching team was composed of a wide range of international professionals working in the field of conservation, archaeology, heritage management and law enforcement (Interpol and the Egyptian police force were involved too) who delivered lectures, presentations and used modern multimedia tools, like audio visual aids, to share their knowledge in an attractive and effective way.
Thanks to this wonderful project 29 Egyptians had the chance to take part in this unique training opportunity and are now qualified as First Aiders to Cultural Heritage, ready to intervene in any emergency situation that may impact on the cultural heritage not only in Egypt but also in any neighbor countries in need.
Best of luck to these new batch of First AIders!
For pictures and updates follow the Facebook group First Aiders to Cultural Heritage