Solidarity Donors and Popular Education in the West Bank
Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, the Palestinians have been among the world’s highest per capita recipients of non-military foreign aid. While some argue that the dependence of Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on donor funds diminishes their ability to challenge the Israeli occupation, this chapter explains how aid recipients can resist depoliticization by collaborating with “solidarity” donors on popular education programs. Palestinian educational NGOs and membership-based organizations (MBOs) in the West Bank work in the informal spaces around the donor-funded official Palestinian curriculum to re-insert Palestinian historical narratives into education. Taking a network approach to understanding NGO agency (Ohanyan in International Studies Review 11(3):475–501, 2009), the chapter draws on sixteen original interviews with Palestinian educational NGOs, MBOs and their “solidarity” donors to demonstrate how these actors’ shared visions of education and development as long term, grassroots processes of sociopolitical change challenge the depoliticizing and demobilizing tendencies of the donor-driven development paradigm. The chapter contributes to new theorizing on popular education as a means of cultivating the values and knowledge that support political resistance and ensure cultural survival.
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