Felix M. Bivens

The Outreach and Community Service programme at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, was created in 1989. It was part of a wave of many such programmes started by US universities and colleges in the late 1980s and early 1990s, bolstered by Boyer's Scholarship Reconsidered report for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University of the South, more commonly referred to as Sewanee, is a small, private liberal-arts college owned by the twenty-six southern dioceses of the Episcopal Church. Since 2003, the outreach programme has been pivotal in enabling a series of new courses which include action learning and community-based research (CBR). The series of new courses includes summer-in-South-Asia programme, documentary photography, human health in the environment, politics of poverty, medical ethics, introduction to anthropology, civil rights, music and social change, and community-engagement minor.

in Knowledge, democracy and action
Crystal Tremblay and Sarah Amyot

People who live off materials recovered from the waste stream exist in every corner of the world. However, these recyclers are among the most exploited and socially and economically excluded people. Recyclers face enormous stigmatization, discrimination and marginalization. This project focused on participatory waste management as an opportunity to generate income and improve the quality of life of informal recyclers (called catadores in Brazil), while promoting environmental sustainability and inclusive public policies on integrated waste management. The project has also made a number of contributions to theorizing the social and solidarity economies, areas of research that remain relatively undertheorized, while also contributing to the critical discourse on collective commercialization and microcredit. Further, the research has helped to expand the body of theory about community-based research and empowerment concepts.

in Knowledge, democracy and action
Norbert Steinhaus

The Danish Society for the Conservation of Nature (DN) of Frederikssund is a local committee of a national non-governmental organization (NGO) working towards protecting nature and the environment. DN Frederikssund addresses local issues regarding the protection of nature and the environment to achieve local sustainable development. It initiates local campaigns, participates in political hearings and comments on the municipality's environmental strategies and plans. In the mid-1990s, DN Frederikssund became aware of science shops through correspondence from the science shops at Roskilde University Centre (RUC). DN Frederikssund saw this as an opportunity to engage in research about the pollution levels in village ponds in Frederikssund municipality. DN Frederikssund has defined more project requests for the science shops at RUC and the University of Copenhagen (KU). The NGO was able to use the results to pressure the municipality of Frederikssund on the issue of the lakes' health.

in Knowledge, democracy and action
Mandakini Pant

Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) initiated a project in 2008 on Women Political Empowerment and Leadership (WPEL) to address the gaps in the education and training of women leaders for political roles in institutions of local self-governance, at both urban and rural levels. The Prem Chadha Memorial Youth Leadership Programme was initiated by PRIA in memory of the late Mr Prem Chadha, a founder of PRIA. The programme Strengthening Scheduled Caste Leadership in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) aims to strengthen SC leadership by providing them opportunities for systematic learning; facilitating such learning; and supporting capacity enhancement on an ongoing basis. While women elected representatives (WERs) share a political mandate of leadership as people's representatives, non-WERs from informal associations, self-help groups (SHGs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) assume de facto leadership roles.

in Knowledge, democracy and action
Chantier de l’Économie Sociale Trust, Montreal
Jean-Marc Fontan and Denis Bussières

Managers of social economy enterprises have been expressing the need to have access to financial products other than traditional grants and loans, while at the same time asking how best to maintain their business capital over the long term. They deemed that new products which kept their social mission in mind would be needed. At the request of the Chantier de l'Economie Sociale Trust, a study on these issues was initiated by the Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) on the social economy. A working group gathered key players in the social economy sector and university researchers interested in the question of financing within this sector. A research partnership group for financing the social economy finance known as the Chantier d'activite partenariale Financement (CAP) was created within the social economy CURA. Politically, the Fiducie supports Quebec's social innovation system, developed around the social economy.

in Knowledge, democracy and action
Lamine Kane, Aliou Guissé, and Latyr Diouf

Lamine Kane and Juliet Millican used a travel grant from the British Council to meet for exploratory discussions in Dakar with members of sub-Saharan Africa Participatory Action Research Network (REPAS), the Department of Applied Economics (ENEA) at Cheikh Diop University (UCAD), and nearby local communities. These discussions led to the joint preparation of a full project proposal, which was funded by a partnership grant from the British Council. It was against the backdrop that the partners launched their new project. The initiative aimed to pilot a new six-month postgraduate course for students from Cheikh Anta Diop University and ENEA leading to a Certificate in Community Engagement for Employability and Entrepreneurship. Senegal is a former French colony and Dakar was the base from which France conceived and implemented its 'assimilation policy', which aimed to make Senegalese citizens French and to integrate them into the French culture and nation.

in Knowledge, democracy and action
José Luís Fiori

This article explores the significance to the inter-state capitalist system of the new US national security strategy, as defined by the Donald Trump administration on 17 December 2017. By looking beyond the inconsistencies and idiosyncrasies of President Trump, we see that this strategy represents a break, not only with the strategies of recent US administrations but also with a longer tradition in US foreign policy. This article proposes that the supposed crisis of ‘liberal order’ is a direct and inevitable result of the expansion and success of the inter-state capitalist system. To explain the strategy of the US in this scenario, the article adopts an unorthodox approach, analysing the myth of the Tower of Babel.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
From the Global to the Local
Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh

This article explores the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees’ (UNRWA) responses to the US Government’s decision to dramatically cut its financial contributions to the Agency in 2018. Acknowledging the complexities of the fast-moving changes and dilemmas faced by UNRWA and Palestinian refugees, this article focuses specifically on the events that unfolded in the first six months of 2018. Through a multiscalar analysis, I start by situating UNRWA’s key responses as they have played out on the international stage through a high-profile fundraising campaign (#DignityIsPriceless). I then develop a close reading of three regional-level UNRWA circulars disseminated to UNRWA staff pertaining to the provision of maternal and neonatal health services, and to Palestinian UNRWA staff members’ employment and pension rights. Against the backdrop of the impact of UNRWA’s responses across the region, I subsequently examine how these operational changes have been experienced and conceptualised by Palestinians living in refugee camps in Lebanon, noting that those experiences must be analysed within the broader context of protracted displacement, enforced immobility and overlapping displacement.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Mel Bunce

When people look online for information about humanitarian crises, they increasingly encounter media content that blurs the line between reality and fiction. This includes everything from rumour and exaggeration to partisan journalism and completely invented stories designed to look like real news (so-called ‘fake news’). This article shows that disinformation is causing real and serious harm to those affected by humanitarian emergencies; it can undermine the ability of humanitarian workers to provide relief; and it has exacerbated conflict and violence. Disinformation is also making it harder for journalists to report on the humanitarian sector, and hold the powerful to account, because it undermines audience trust in information more generally. The article concludes by considering interventions that could address the challenges of disinformation. It argues for more support of quality journalism about humanitarian crises, as well as media literacy training. Finally, it is crucial that aid agencies and news outlets commit to accuracy and fact checking in their reporting and campaigning.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
David Rieff

The political landscape in which the humanitarian movement took current form has changed radically. If humanitarian certainties have been upended, it is not in Sri Lanka, or even Syria or Afghanistan, but in the NGO response to the migration crisis in Greece and in the Mediterranean. However overstated, the claim of neutrality has always played an important role in establishing the legitimacy humanitarian action has enjoyed in Europe. But it is no longer possible, if it ever was, for relief workers to separate their ethical commitment to helping people in need from their political convictions, including about what the EU should stand for.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs