Rooting Development

in the Palestinian Context


About us Blog


The Project Rooting Development in the Palestinian Context integrates and builds on the developmental challenges, experiences, and popular strategies of various segments of the Palestinian population in the Westbank, the Gaza Strip, Jordan and Lebanon. It derives from the particularities of the Palestinian people and the specific challenges faced as a result of the fragmentation and territorial displacement from decades of Israeli rule.
Through bridging the divide between academic knowledge producers, community-based knowledge and development strategies, the project aims at building alternative knowledge and practices of development that move beyond Eurocentric, Western models.

CDC Zarqa

About us

Founded upon the previous APPEAR project, the Center for Development Studies (CDS) at Birzeit University (BZU) and the Department of Development Studies (DDS) at the University of Vienna continue to deepen and articulate an alternative vision for development.

The project integrates and builds on the developmental challenges, experiences, and popular strategies of various segments of the Palestinian population in their different locations, in order to bridge the divide between academic knowledge producers and community-based knowledge and development strategies.

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  1. To work out the Palestinian development agenda Rooting Development by establishing a community of critical knowledge producers (researchers, intellectuals, activists, political actors).
  2. To train new fieldworkers from Palestinian communities in Jordan and Lebanon.
  3. To establish an advanced training programme at CDS.
  4. To build an academic network for a young generation of researchers and fieldworkers from the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Austria.

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trainees Lebanon


Event: Helmut Krieger, Klaudia Rottenschlager, Imad Sayrafi: Rooting Development in the Palestinian Context: Research in War and Conflict Zones, May 24th


Helmut Krieger, Klaudia Rottenschlager, Imad Sayrafi will speak about our project at the Department of Development Studies’ event series ie.talks on May 24th.

Location: Seminarraum IE, Institut für Afrikawissenschaften Spitalgasse 2, Hof 5, 1090 Vienna
Chair: Wolfram Schaffar (Department of Development Studies)



VIDC Event: 50 Years of Israeli Occupation – The Future of Palestine

© Raimund Appel

The Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (VIDC) commemorated the 50th year of Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with a panel discussion on the future of Palestine. Two affiliates of our APPEAR project, Tariq Dana, director of the Center for Development Studies in Birzeit, and Helmut Krieger, project coordinator at the Department of Development Studies at the University of Vienna, were represented on the panel. Together with Nur Arafeh from the Palestinian think tank Al-Shabaka, they analysed the history and transformations of Israeli military rule in the last decades and sketched perspectives for the future of the Palestinian struggle.

Find the documentation of the event on the website of VIDC (in German):




Rooting Development featured on Austrian radio station Ö1 [GER]

On 5th of April 2017, Andreas Obrecht spoke with us about our project in the Ö1 radio programme “Dimensionen – die Welt der Wissenschaften”.


Ö1 press text with additional information (in German only):

Aufgrund der forcierten israelischen Siedlungspolitik ist das Westjordanland, die West Bank in aller Munde. Ein 5.800 Quadratkilometer großes Territorium, auf dem rund 2,8 Millionen Menschen leben – ein in Zonen aufgeteiltes, segregiertes, von Checkpoints, Mauern, Stacheldraht und israelischen Siedlungen durchzogenes Land, das eigentlich palästinensisches Staatsgebiet hätte werden sollen.

Seit mehr als zwei Jahrzehnten rückt die sogenannte Zweistaatenlösung aufgrund von Scharfmachern auf beiden Seiten in immer weitere Ferne. Wie kann soziale, kulturelle, ökonomische, aber auch politische Entwicklung für die Palästinenser unter den Bedingungen militärischer Besatzung gewährleistet werden? Was haben bislang von internationalen NGOs und UN-Organisationen implementierte Entwicklungsstrategien in den besetzten palästinensischen Gebieten bewirken können und gibt es überhaupt realistische Optionen und Alternativen für eine – aus palästinensischer Sicht – selbstbestimmte Zukunft?

Mit diesen Fragen beschäftigt sich eine Forschungs- und Lehrkooperation zwischen der Birzeit Universität in Ramallah und der Universität Wien, die im Rahmen von APPEAR – dem Austrian Partnership Programme in Higher Education and Research for Development – durchgeführt wird. APPEAR ist ein Programm der Österreichischen Entwicklungszusammenarbeit und wird von der OeAD-GmbH implementiert. Das Projekt Rooting Development in the Palestinian Context bildet zudem insgesamt 50 Sozialwissenschafter/innen in Flüchtlingslagern im Libanon und in Jordanien aus.

Auch wird in der Stärkung landwirtschaftlicher Genossenschaften ein Schlüssel zu alternativen Entwicklungswegen gesehen, wie eine Forschungsinitiative der KEF – der Kommission für Entwicklungsforschung bei der OeAD-GmbH – gezeigt hat. Eine Bilanz über Projekte in einem militärisch besetzten Land, die palästinensische Forscherinnen und Forscher in der West Bank, in Gaza und in der Diaspora ermächtigen will, die eigene soziale, kulturelle, ökonomische und politische Situation nach sozialwissenschaftlichen Kriterien zu erfassen und möglicherweise auch zu verändern.


Ö1-Radiosendung “Dimensionen – die Welt der Wissenschaften”

Project Presentation at 13. Entwicklungspolitischen Filmtage “Palästina” in Linz [GER]

Georg Layr presented our project at 13. Entwicklungspolitischen Filmtage “Palästina” in Linz after a screening of the documentary 5 Broken Cameras by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi.
Find more info and documentation here.

Voices from our MA trainees

The project provides a set of answer to the needs that emerged during the past few years, particularly in the field of development. Therefore, the project’s activities commenced with a training that represented a fertile debate about the philosophy of research. The activities are carried out in different geographical areas, allowing wider dialogue on scientific research methodologies in light of the Palestinian situation under settler colonialism. The approach used in the project directs the expected studies towards the Palestinian cause and means to reinforce the Palestinians’ steadfastness in their lands against the colonial incursions of the occupation.

Mohaned Abdul Bari, Gaza


The yielded benefit was considerable as the project included a range of salient and diverse activities in the context of knowledge development and enhancing the critical and analytical thinking skills of the participants. The most important activity was implementing workshops that discussed many development topics such as youth employment projects. This workshop was concluded with a set of significant recommendations which we hope will widen the prospects of youth employment in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, the project is also expected to include the enhancement of critical thinking among participants in reading development studies.

I had a unique experience in participating in a paper submitted for the study day of Human Development Report 2015, and by participating in the preparation team to hold the debate about the role of youth employment projects in advancing development. In the next phase, I anticipate preparing a clear plan for the project along with the participants to identify the future activities that will include the remaining five panel discussions and the remaining training topics to be fully informed of such a plan.

Zubaida Abu Tawaha, Gaza


I had the honor of joining the rooting development training course and identify scientific research approaches as well as getting to know the trainer. I do really appreciate the opportunity to take part in this great course, with its solid material and highly qualified trainer.
Fatma Zakaria Wafi, Gaza

The course equipped me with a new and clear knowledge about scientific research approaches and methods as well as knowledge formation. I’m looking forward to gaining new skills in research preparation and correctly employing quantitative methods, in addition to know how to set up critical studies and scriptwriting methodology.

Mahmoud Abo Awda, Gaza


Actually, I’m interested in this kind of training specially its focus on development in Palestine, thus; I would really appreciate to give me the opportunity in this training to enforce my skills in this topic or regard. According to my knowledge the method is so special and unique because it will include the practical side and field activities which is really important to make sure that the received information for the participant’s will be in the right and successful way.
Horieh Hamed, West Bank


I’ve learned about the training program, from Dr. Hassan Ladadweh from the social and Behavioral science Department at the university. My desire to participate in this training for several reasons, including: Develop my skills in the preparation of research and social studies, Identify the most important issues of the Palestinian society and social phenomena, understanding deeply the Palestinian situation and exchange of experience and work with all colleagues. Also the supportive team at CDS: Program Coordinator, provide references and accessibility to all resources at the university.

Anas Lahaseh, West Bank