This study was part of a multi-faceted research program for the Government of Israel’s five-year plan to promote the wellbeing of the Bedouin in the Negev, carried out in cooperation with the Senior Division for the Socio-Economic Development of the Bedouin Society in the Negev
Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute conducted an in-depth study designed to provide a basis for optimal adaptation of the programs and services to the Bedouin population in the Negev, according to its unique characteristics, values and needs.
This report presents the first phase of the study – an international review of the best practices employed by various countries to reduce the social and economic gaps between minority populations with characteristics similar to those of the Bedouin population in the Negev and the majority population in their countries of residence;
In the second phase of the study, qualitative interviews and a focus group were conducted with community leaders and officials in the local authorities, with social leaders and with academic researchers, as well as a survey among a representative sample of the Bedouin population in the Negev. To read the report summarizing the second phase of the study see: https://brookdale.jdc.org.il/publication/the-negev-bedouin-population-and-its-leaders/
The goals of this review were: (1) to learn from the experience of other countries about the strategies adopted and the ways of coping with the barriers involved in the implementation of plans for reducing socio-economic gaps between traditional-tribal minority populations with characteristics similar to those of the Bedouin population in the Negev and the general population in their countries of residence; (2) to map the best practices (including the tools and actions) employed by various countries in line with the unique culture and values of the traditional-tribal minority populations to assist headquarters officials and field personnel in the implementation of policy for reducing socio-economic gaps. The review is intended to serve as a basis for improving the development and provision of services for the Bedouin population in the Negev in view of its unique characteristics, its needs, and the barriers and challenges that it faces.
The review was based on various information sources: academic articles published in the international literature; evaluation studies of government plans for selected minority populations (the Roma (Gypsies) in Europe, the Sami in the Nordic countries, and the Aborigines in Australia and Canada); government websites; and the websites of NGOs and other organizations involved in the promotion of services and rights for these populations. The information was collected from March to August 2021.
The minority populations were selected for this review in consultation with the study commissioning body based on the criteria defined considering the characteristics of the minority populations, their countries of residence, and the characteristics of the government plans for these populations.
Four main government strategies were found effective in reducing the socio-economic gaps between traditional-tribal minority populations and the general population in their countries of residence: (1) establishing ties between the traditional-tribal community and the government; (2) promoting the active involvement of the traditional-tribal minority population in all stages of the government programs for this population: planning, development, implementation, and evaluation; (3) developing locally adapted solutions in line with the unique culture and values of the traditional-tribal minority population; (4) cultural adaptation of services and programs.
The review indicates that enhancing the collaboration with all parts of the Bedouin population in the Negev (men and women, youth and adults, town residents and villagers, etc.) while addressing the unique values and needs of this population would be helpful in: (1) establishing trust and cooperation between the government and the Bedouin population in the Negev and its representatives; (2) developing culturally adapted solutions on the local level; (3) working together for change and development while strengthening the local leadership; (4) providing culturally adapted and accessible public services; and (5) successfully implementing programs for the socio-economic development of the Bedouin population in the Negev. It has been further shown that a planned, systemic, structured, and consistent effort was undertaken by each of the reviewed countries to bring about a real change. Such an effort requires the allocation of significant resources over time, in the program planning and development stage as well as for funding in the implementation stage.
Given these conclusions, four practical recommendation are suggested: (1) action should be taken to strengthen the ties between the Bedouin population in the Negev and the government; (2) the active involvement of the Negev Bedouin population should be promoted in all stages of the government programs development, implementation, and evaluation; (3) locally adapted solutions should be developed in line with the unique culture and values of the local population, which would enable the development of infrastructures of cultural, social, and environmental capital and their sustainment; at the same time, local business entrepreneurship and innovation should be promoted and developed; and (4) services and programs in various areas of life, including education, health, higher education, welfare, finance, and employment, should be culturally adapted to the local population.
Citing suggestion: Zohar Or, S., & Aizik, I. (2022). Reducing Socio-Economic Gaps Between Traditional-Tribal Minority Populations and Majority Population Groups: An International Review. RR-913-22. Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. (Hebrew)