Aid and Public Authorities in Fragile Urban Settings in Jordan and Lebanon: Challenges and Success of the Empirical Legitimacy Agenda
This is an excerpt from a long-form report I wrote as an staff member of Impact Initiatives for the Institute of Development Studies, funded by the Netherlands Science Foundation. Over 60 primary documents and 10 interviews were taken from USAID, UK-CSSF, DFID, JICA and other international donors. I have uploaded a brief exerpt of document describing the methodology, as the report is awaiting publication with IDS.
Water for irrigation or cities? Groundwater transfers in Jordan
I lead this academic project on competition for water between urban and agricultural interests. I interviewed policymakers in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, major donors, and academics, and used remote sensing of vegetation indexing to verify the qualitative data. We found that fears of popular unrest shortly after the Arab Spring, coupled with donor pressure, lead the Jordanian government to side decisively with urban users and close a number of politically-connected farms. Smallholding farmers were not targeted and are regarded as difficult to dispossess by the line ministries. As the article is currently awaiting publication, I cannot provide a link.
Dams of Jordan Social Cohesion and Area Mapping Report
In 2018-19 REACH Jordan surveyed households near 5 dams and one heritage site on their attitudes toward Syrians and institutions they interact with. These surveys helped cash for work programs to avoid increasing conflict within the community. I entered the program after the surveys were completed and wrote presentations for government stakeholders interested in the survey results. At times this presenting was challenging due to the sensitivity of tribal politics. As the material has not been released for publication, I cannot provide a link.
Contested public authority in marginal urban areas: challenges for humanitarians
I coauthored this article on urban micro politics under refugee crisis. In it, we discuss the main challenges that aid actors face seeking to be impartial and do no harm in marginalized areas from which the state has withdrawn. We observed that in some of these areas, multiple groups contest the right to govern, sometimes including militias, political parties, refugee camp committees and tribal leaders. In particular, aid actors face a difficult trade off between engagement with exclusionary or politically sensitive authorities. We offer some practical advise on navigating the issue from program managers on the ground.