Paper: Negotiating Partnership in Collaborative Research on Child Protection

Paper details

Paper authors Mohammed Alruzzi
In panel on Decolonising aid? Issues and directions
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online


Funders of research in the humanitarian- development field now often require projects to involve partnership across the global North / South divide. There is a risk that this becomes a tick-box exercise, sidestepping complex issues of power and leaving in place assumptions about the relative greater importance of the contribution of the ‘global North’ institution over the ‘local’ partner. Such dynamics are, however, being subjected to challenge that is often framed by the growing effort to decolonise the processes of knowledge production.
In this presentation we reflect upon the experience of collaboration in a research project focussed on the protection of refugee children in Jordan. This project was undertaken through collaboration between academics based in Europe and an NGO based in Amman that works with refugees. A team of researchers was recruited from amongst the Sudanese, Somali and Yemeni refugee communities associated with this organisation.
We describe the process through which the project was pursued together. This entailed negotiating the meaning and content of activities - including those labelled ‘capacity-building’ by the funder - to ensure that the work was relevant and enriching for all involved. The complex dynamics of partnership became particularly explicit in efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic within project activities. Insights into the challenges and rewards of working together to overcome neo-colonial dynamics are offered by one representative member of each of the two project partners.



Mohammed Alruzzi