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


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


Panel discussion on youth employment at Al-Azhar University (AR)

Working towards a new development agenda for Palestine, the project organised a panel discussion at Al-Azhar university to discuss the role of youth employment projects in advancing development. For more in formation in Arabic, click here.


Radio feature on decolonial research methods in Palestine (GER)

Klaudia Rottenschlager and Helmut Krieger speak about local knowledge production and decolonial research methods in/on Palestine with Maiada Hadaia from Ö1 Campusradio (in German):



Original content posted here.

Helmut Krieger talks about the project with Mattersburger Kreis (Video/GER)

Project coordinator Helmut Krieger talks about the APPEAR-Project “Rooting Development in the Palestinian Context” with Mattersburger Kreis für Entwicklungspolitik, a Vienna-based association for development research and education:



Originally published at Mattersburger Kreis

Development Dialogues Series I

The Center for Development Studies (CDS) started to conduct a series of Development Dialogue workshops complementing the discussion at the center had held in the previous week. On the 18th of December 2016 CDS held a first meeting in Al-aqaba village, north east of Tubas city to learn about their development experience.

The workshop was held in partnership with local organizations in the village; namely: the Rural Woman Organization, Al-aqaba Cooperative Agricultural Organization, Al-aqaba Development Organization for housing the displaced persons, Al-aqaba Hope and Unity Club, and Al-aqaba Village Council. The workshop was attended by the trainees of the program that targets the MA in social sciences students at BZU, and the program staff: Ayman Abdulmajid and Abaher Alssaqa.

The head of the village council, Sami Sadeq, gave a talk about the struggle of the people in Al-aqaba against the Israeli occupation policies, and the sacrifices they make as a means to resist and empower the residents of the village. They do so by working on three levels:

      1. The Israeli High Court of justice: the villagers were able to use legal means in order to achieve legal orders in favor of their struggle.
        • The elimination of Tesva’ Military camp in 2003
        • Banning the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) from entering Al-aqaba with tanks in 2003.
        • Banning the IOF from storming the houses with arms.
      2. Donor countries: addressing the donor countries to rebuild the village and combat the demolition alerts. By this, Al-aqaba people were able to build the village’s different organizations, and to mobilize visits of 17 ambassadors from different countries to stand against building a wall that separate between the village and Tayaseer Village.
      3. Media outlets: The people of Alaqba were able to use international and local media outlets to gather support for the village and to create international pressure on the Israeli authorities, in order to gain their rights. Until now, the village received about quarter a million solidarity letters, in which different parties expressed their support for the villagers and opposition to the occupation and its policies.


The local organizations provided additional information related to the establishment of local associations and economic facilities. During the last years, the residents were able to establish a library that contains around 5000 books, a mixed school from first to the tenth grade, a medical herbal factory (the first of its kind in the West Bank and Gaza Strip), as well as a diary manufacture, two kindergartens for up to 165 children, a hotel that provides residence for foreigners, a and sport club.

The five organizations participating in the workshop were also established during this period. These organizations cooperate under the umbrella “Al-Aqaba Village Organizations Union”, while each organization retains its own independent character.  They have already had great successes, such as buying agricultural tractors and exporting local products to countries like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

The workshop has shown the great capacity of local organizations to perform indispensable social and economic roles, to achieve political objectives and generate revenues for the people. The cooperative organization working in housing displaced people was able, for instance, to help three families return to their houses this year, and four families last year. In addition, it helps dozens of families to finish their houses, provides livestock and support in farming medical herbs to families.

Another evident positive impact of their work is that women gained working opportunities and were able to have educational possibilities that were previously unavailable. The head of the village council blames the PA and Palestinian businessmen for the fact that they did not offer any support for the village while many international parties did so by providing logistical and financial support.