A joint project between AUB and Fondation Diane named Daskara:
An exceptional new app for nature and heritage exploration and conservation begins to see the light.
Civic awareness and sustainable development sit at the core of Fondation Diane’s expertise and mission. Virids, the green investment fund created by Fondation Diane, is always on the lookout for green, innovative, and sustainable business ideas and has found big interest in AUB’s latest project: Daskara
What started as a participatory mapping research project dubbed “baldati bi’ati” in 2010 by the Nature Conservation Center (NCC) at the American University of Beirut (AUB), with the aim to better capture the social-cultural dimension embedded in nature conservation and the findings from 80 participating village communities in Lebanon by 2016, is currently undergoing a digital makeover and becoming an app called Daskara. The recent investment by Fondation Diane kickstarted the development process.
Designed and built as a free digital platform, Daskara will be available on iOS and Android devices and will feature a website version compatible with most browsers. The app will be for everyone interested in exploring local natural and cultural sites. It will also serve as a tool for everyone who wants to actively, voluntarily, or financially, engage in conservation and sustainable development in pre-selected projects in their beloved hometowns and villages with the touch of a button from anywhere in the world.
NCC and Fondation Diane believe Daskara will benefit a broad constituency of users including local residents and business owners, tourists, members of the diaspora, enthusiasts of outdoor natural and cultural activities, experts, and academics. The uniqueness of Daskara is its aim of defining and initiating competitive and sustainable nature related opportunities that draw on the cultural and natural heritage of Lebanon, as well as the team behind it that consists of experts in nature, culture, and rural and eco-tourism from the Nature and Conservation Center at AUB as well as sustainable, natural and cultural development expertise from Fondation Diane.
Starting in Lebanon with an eye toward expanding globally, Daskara will become a venue for promoting and instilling unquestionable cultural, natural, and heritage value with the importance of preserving these assets for sustainable growth and for generations to come.
With such a project and investment, both NCC and Fondation Diane, are proving that eco-sustainability and profitability are compatible. On an academic level, the data collected will constitute the basis for multidisciplinary research spearheaded by NCC, starting with the research objective of investigating whether local participatory mapping of cultural ecosystem services (CES) helps build a sense of place, which is socially and locally constructed, giving meaning and attachment to a place.
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