Building on 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 objectives of the present project are as follows:

  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.

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. Furthermore, the project trains 50 fieldworkers and five trainers in local communities, investing their young people with the skills and ability to produce knowledge in and for their own localities. We will mainstream this training programme within CDS, thus strengthening the own institutional capacities. The project also extends the academic network created during the earlier phase of the project, further linking young researchers and fieldworkers and solidifying the infrastructure necessary to sustain a community of critical knowledge producers. The project activities enables the participating institutions to lay a foundation for translating critical alternative praxes of development into tangible material and research outputs that can be used to produce a critical pedagogy and to strenghten alternative alternative knowledge and practices of development.The outputs will enable concerned academic researchers and activists to incorporate our popular communities’ alternative strategies and knowledge into course curricula, academic research and policy recommendations. The project will further our efforts to transcend the theory-practice divide and address the aforementioned disconnect between intellectual knowledge production and community-based knowledge and experiences.

Duration of the current project: 15 January 2016 – 14 January 2019