New fieldwork programme to increase knowledge on local democracy

ICLD provided details of its application requirements via email, posters and a number of phone calls to universities across Sweden, inviting students to apply. They had the opportunity to apply for funds of up to SEK 20,000 to carry out field work in countries where ICLD operates.
The papers are to focus on local democratic development.
“Many have chosen interesting subjects for their research, including a comparison of local development between villages in Kenya and Ethiopia, research on the link between climate change and gender issues in Vietnam, one study on environmental justice and one that, broadly speaking, is about legal activism,” says Erik Nilsson.

Destinations for forthcoming research visits include Zambia, Kenya, India, Vietnam, Kosovo, Turkey, Kenya and Ethiopia. The students that have been accepted either have links with, or were born in the country that will now be the subject of their research.
“We’ve examined the feasibility of the students’ applications. Having knowledge of, or some kind of link to the country, and perhaps being able to speak the language, is an advantage, and can be an important factor in the success of the study,” says Erik Nilsson.
The applications were assessed by a group of ICLD employees together with Håkan Magnusson, Professor of Political Science at Lund University and former head of ICLD.

What expectations do you have of the studies?
“One expectation is that we will acquire new knowledge within the thematic areas. Some of the studies are almost interdisciplinary in their nature rather than being purely from a political science perspective, which is exciting.”
One study which is slightly outside ICLD’s usual area of work involves research into the implementation of UN Global Goal 16, and what the local council is doing to prevent crime.
“It’s about the shift from criminality to local rehabilitation. It’s an area that we haven’t done much research into previously. Bringing in aspects from criminology and looking at them alongside the political science perspective sounds fascinating,” says Erik Nilsson.

ICLD has met the selected students to give a more detailed presentation of ICLD’s work, and to talk about expectations and conditions.
The papers will be presented at a workshop organised by ICLD in May 2018.