Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World

Valuing Water: Religious, social and cultural perspectives from a water-scarce region

In 2022, Alwaleed Lecturer in the Globalised Muslim World, Dr Kholoud Al-Ajarma, will be leading an exciting impact project funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

Valuing Water

About the Project

The value of water is about much more than its price – water has enormous and complex value and is at the core of sustainable development. Nonetheless, official and academic discourse on water management largely ignores a wealth of traditional knowledge about, and non-economic values attached to, water.

'Valuing Water: Religious, social and cultural perspectives from a water-scarce region', highlights the value of water from perspectives that are often ignored in traditional water management policies in the Mediterranean region. Using ethnographic anthropological methods, the project team will connect local communities (including women, refugee communities, and young professionals) from water-scarce countries with policy-makers and regional actors in hydro-diplomacy.

The project aims to encourage a more comprehensive understanding of water's true, multi-dimensional value, using workshops, local and regional meetings, and audio-visual production. The project seeks to increase water awareness to help safeguard this critical resource, and work towards water security and sustainability in the Mediterranean region and beyond.

For this project, Kholoud has partnered with Laje'oon Center, a community-based grassroots creative cultural centre that works with new generations of Palestinians, who will be providing additional support for the project's activities. Throughout 2022, Kholoud will be working alongside a team of local facilitators, filmmakers, musicians, translators and storytellers, to run a series of workshops in the West Bank, and to produce a number of related audio-visual resources. The resources will be shared with the wider community, and the recommendations from the workshops will be disseminated in meetings with government officials and funding agencies, to advocate for community-led development of water management.

Dr Kholoud Al-Ajarma

Dr Kholoud Al-Ajarma

Dr Al-Ajarma is Alwaleed Lecturer in the Globalised Muslim World with research interests in environmental concerns across the contemporary Muslim World.

In addition to her academic experience in anthropology and religion, Kholoud has worked in the fields of refugee studies, gender, youth development, migration, human rights, and environmental justice in several countries of the Mediterranean region including Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco. She was a Chevening visiting fellow at Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) and peace fellow of the MENA cohort fellowship programme of the United Nations Allience of Civilizations (UNAOC).

Learn more about Kholoud's work here.