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Aura Liliana López López | Local peacemaking trajectories and hybrid peace: Tracing knowledge, capacity, and agency in conflict-driven areas.

Development practice is a journey where the complexity of the social world constantly challenges me to reconsider my views and constructs, and how much I take as given based on other experiences. The richness of knowledge found in individuals and groups in communities, and their tenacity in building a life that endures the enormous structural constraints existing in countries like mine, intrigues me and astounds me. Yet in our pursuit of understanding and engagement of this richness, we often strive to create boxes where people’s complex lives can be neatly packed.
Thus, with deep gratitude, I acknowledge that my curiosity and eagerness comes from my privileged exchanges with a vast spectrum of communities and individuals, and in this particular case, my eye-opening experience with the people of the District of Aguablanca and Fundación Paz y Bien. They have encouraged me to propose approaches to knowledge and capacity in development that are self-reflexive, inclusive, dialogical and enabling. This dissertation was an opportunity to further explore pathways for this.

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Karen Serrano | Rethinking return from the 'left ahead': The case of migrant Filipino workers in transnational spaces in Rome, Italy

In the study of migration, return has been a critical component in analyzing migratory flows. However, the seemingly borderless international labor marketshave transformed states and transcended societies beyond territorial borders, making return dynamics complex and multifaceted as return realities goes beyond the expected A to B and single out-and-return movement (Skeldon, 2012). Interrogating this dichotomy and understanding migrant’s multiple attachments and varying migration return plans call for a transnational approach in migration. Positing the migration-development nexus, Cassarino (2004) emphasizes that for migrant workers to become development actors, return must be achieved successfully, and this calls for analyzing the degree of maturation of migration experiences of migrants and how they are able to mobilize their resources in cross-border social and economic links and networks between their home and host countries. One case at point is a known labor-sending country, the Philippines.

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Eva Wuyts | Introducing participatory intra-household decision making in smallholder coffee farms in Uganda A mixed methods study of the impact on women's empowerment

This research explores the effect of introducing participatory intra-household decision-making in smallholder coffee farms in central Uganda on women’s empowerment. Given typical constraints on women’s voice and agency within rural developing households caused by patriarchal norms and traditions, the introduction of participatory decision-making can be expected to have a positive impact on women’s empowerment in- and outside of the household. Participatory decision-making is introduced in coffee farming households in Uganda through the gender program of the Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS).

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