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Palestinian Civil Society

 
Palestinian civil society was the focus of his doctoal dissertation whose purpose was to assess the impact of international aid earmarked for civil soceity promotion, good governance and democratization. The research was based on in-depth semi-structured interviews with about 40 donors and as many local NGOs, active in health service-provision and in the advocacy sector.

For this research, he gathered a longitudinal on Palestinian NGOs existing in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip from the 1990s onwards (the exact number of NGOs is widely disputed and his crossed sources come to interesting findings). the same was done about international donors to see the evolution of the type of international actors active on the ground.

In an article published in the Palestine-Israeli Journal (2005), he argues that donors should 'look beyond the pale' and concentrate more on the substance of civil society and not only on its rhetoric. It is counterproductive in the long run to work only with professional organizations that have the capacity to adapt to the technical requirements and finesse of big donors, because this creates an island of elite organizations (if not personal empires) that gradually become undemocratic in their internal functioning.

An effort should be made by international donors to consider more closely the variety and depth of Palestinian civil society, even if they are charitable or religious associations — religious by no means automatically signifying militant. They should also give more serious attention to local ways of collective-action organization, such as local self-help, different forms of deliberation, balance between popular legitimacy and technical expertise, rather than working quasi-exclusively with self-proclaimed civil society champion.

In 2009, Benoit Challand was commissioned a comparative report on the role of Israeli and Palestinian civil society organisations active in the field of conflict transformation. This was part of a broader study on the role of the EU in supporting civil society in conflict settings (MICRO-CON Project).  


Less seriously, a caricature on the univeralist mision of democracy promotion...

Democracy Promotion a la G W Bush

 

Last Updated ( Friday, 16 October 2009 )
 
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