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Transcript Document 7264327

Community Participation
and Participatory
Peter Taylor
Institute of Development Studies
Arnstein (1996)
In this session we will:
examine how emerging concepts and practices
of participation in community development
processes are both shaping, and being shaped
by, concerns over a need for more
transformative and participatory learning
draw on cases that demonstrate the potential
of such a shift for individuals, organizations,
and society more widely.
Learning outcomes
By the end of this session, you should be able to:
Describe key concepts and principles underpinning
participatory approaches in community
Reflect, critically, on how shifts towards
transformative and participatory learning processes
are influencing power relations and enhancing
development processes
Select participatory approaches and methods for
learning and action in a development process in
your own context
Guiding questions
1. How do theories and practices of participation contribute
to the engagement of development actors in community
development processes?
2. How does our own identity and personal approach to
learning and action influence the way in which we
engage in community development processes?
Guiding questions
What tools and methods can be used to
increase the quality and extent of participation,
and so enhance the transformative potential of
development interventions at the community
How do lessons learned from participatory
learning processes in different international
contexts contribute to our understanding and
practice of development and poverty reduction?
Which of these images makes you think of
Or these?
Concepts of
power and
Frustrations with existing development
pathways and approaches
“Development” approaches perceived as
contributing to improved wellbeing for some, but
perpetuating injustice, poverty, marginalisation
and lack of voice for millions of others
Perceived failure of economic growth models to
bring benefits to the majority
Emergence of a “knowledge society” determined
and supported by assymetrical power relations
Emerging vision of a world where rights of all
people are assured - civil, political, social, and
rights to action citizenship – engaged in
participatory and deliberative democracy
What do we mean by participatory development?(1)
No “one definition”, but in general:
Seen as a bottom-up, people-centred approach
aimed at developing the full potentials of people at
the grassroots level, especially the poor and
marginal social groups, through their full
participation in development efforts that directly
affect their lives
Belief in the value of participatory approaches in
action and research,
What do we mean by participatory development?(2)
Linking theory with practice and action with reflection,
community members are recognised for their capabilities
and skills in producing unique and diverse knowledge of
local conditions and promising outcomes from their actions
Starts from the premise that people know and are capable
of identifying and sharing issues, analysing and learning
from that analysis, and developing strategies and action to
address their situation
Participatory action research (PAR) - the process of
collective data collection and analysis that leads to the
identification, design, implementation and evaluation of
projects or programs that address local problems - plays
an important role in participatory development efforts.
Participatory development
Seen as a way of addressing shortcomings of
development, as both means and end in itself
Very variable practice (“ladders of participation”)
Often reduced to “methods” rather than praxis (practice
in theory, and theory in practice)
Shifts in understandings over time (“beneficiaries” to
“choosers and users” to “makers and shapers”
May still serve interests of powerful groups (problem of
agency versus structure)
May offload state responsibility onto citizens
Needs to take power relations seriously
From “tyranny” to “transformation”?
White, 2004
“Ladders” of
A shift in focus on participation over time
– ‘beneficiary’
– Project
– Consultation
– needs appraisal
– micro
program design,
and evaluation
Does participation support community development?
Encapsulates aspirations and dilemmas of social
– Commitment to deepening and extending democratic
– Regulation of that process to politically acceptable limits
The “paradox of participation” (Meagher, 2006) – “a potential
route for the distribution of power” or “a means of giving a
false impression of the transfer of power”?
Need for regulatory systems and bureaucracy can stifle and
alienate local forms of knowledge, aspirations and concerns
Democracy as an active social and political practice requires
engaged and active citizens who are informed, motivated
and confident to “talk back to the state”
“Community participation” is complex in concept and in
“Community can be the warmly persuasive word to
describe an existing set of relationships, or the warmly
persuasive word to describe an alternative set of
relationships” (Williams, 1976, p66)
Community - the individual as prior to all other forms of
social life?
Community – “rootedness, a sense of locality, identity, of
interests, fraternity and co-operation and a sense of
identity communally mediated”? (Plant, 1974, p.29)
Individual freedom or the common good? Or something
in the middle?
Shifting ground of “community development”
Concept has been around for a long time but
highly contested
Often seen as radical, relating to transformation
and empowerment
But also used to describe conservative, conformist
practices and dominance over the “other”
Communities are not homogeneous entities
Cannot escape from the tensions between agency
and structure
When do micro-politics (personal troubles)
become macro-politics (public issues)?
Community development, power and politics
“Central to the community development task at
any given time is the relationship between
agency and structure – the recognition that
action is always mediated through relations of
power; autonomy always constrained by the
dialectics of control. This is a shifting and
dynamic terrain, that generates both
opportunities and constraints. The role of
community development must surely be to
enhance agency, but this necessitates an
understanding of power and how it mediates and
controls” (Shaw, 2005).
Key concepts emerging about power
Power: an ‘essentially contested’ concept
(different approaches which don’t add up)
‘Agency’ vs. ‘structure’ debates within
social science shape views of power:
– ‘agency’: people and other actors doing
things to each other, holding and
‘wielding’ power; existence of free will to
exert or resist power
– ‘structure’: social structures, institutions,
norms, determining societal power
relations; limited free will to resist or
change power
Why analyse power? What are the implications for
community development?
Because power is dynamic, contextual and relational, we
have to analyse power relations in order to change
How we understand power affects our response to
power and the choices we make - analysis of power can
help us choose appropriate strategies for action
But to work on and challenge all the aspects of power at
once in a given strategy may be difficult and exhausting
How do we find the most effective entry points for
change in a given situation?
How does one strategy for action affect other aspects of
Alternative framings of power
Alternative expressions of power (agency)
power over, to, with, within
Public, Private and Intimate power
‘Three faces of power’
visible, hidden, invisible
Power as socialised and internalised
(Bourdieu and Foucault)
Invited Claimed/
Gaventa, 2004)
Implications for strategy
Power is dynamic. Each of these dimensions of power
are in constant change and inter-relationship with one
another. Changes in one dimension can affect the other.
Power is contextual. Strategies for pro-poor power in
one context may work for disempowerment in another.
Power is historical. Even if new institutional openings
appear, historical actors learned behaviours and attitudes
may still fill them
Power is relational. Those who are relatively powerless in
one setting, may be more powerful in others.
‘Empowering’ actors to claim power in one space may
strengthen their power over others in another space.
(Gaventa, 2005)
Importance of identity and positionality
We need to be aware as individuals of
our assumptions (about learning, about
change…) and our worldviews
How can we explore the ways in which
our identities, positionality and behaviour
impact upon others and change the
context through our own presence?
How can we access our own knowledge
and communicate it in ways that go
beyond the cognitive domain?
How can we juggle different roles and
identities? Being an activist, researcher,
worker, student, teacher, learner, as well
as other identities to do with nationality,
gender, race, ethnicity, age, parenthood
or partnership – is complex!
Active communication becomes essential
Jacobson, 2007
A need for reflexivity
In this case does not mean a “knee-jerk reaction”
Requires “learning tinged with criticality” (Brookfield, 2005)
“ Reflexive learning involves us talking over
with others the conflicting evidence available
to us regarding whether or not things have
been ordered the best way they could be in
society, and whether or not corporations,
bureaucracies and governments act with the
best interests of the people at heart” (p. 250)
Also requires us to reflect on our own learning and
Need for reflective practice
Reflective practice involves “returning to experience, attending to
(or connecting with) feelings, and evaluating experience Boud, Keogh
and Walker (1985)
Includes developing self-awareness of different identities and
roles, and of how one’s position and perception may affect, or be
affected by, cultural norms and power relations
How often do we explore our own personal values, sense of
purpose and motivation, and the sources and inspirations for
these in their lives?
To what extent do we, as professionals and practitioners, look
self-critically at our actions?
Useful tools to help this include creative and exploratory writing,
storytelling and drama, as well as analytical writing.
Moving to action….
Evolutions from RRA-PRA-PLA mirror
emerging theory and practice of participation
“Quick and Dirty”
“Dev Tourism”
R-ural (urban)
Learning and
Beyond Participatory
Development to citizens
voice in policy processes;
advocacy; human rights;
governance; downward
“Participatory Reflection
and Action”
Some important principles for participatory
learning and action
A defined methodology and systemic learning process – co-creation
of knowledge
Multiple perspectives are described and valued; reaching
consensus is not always necessary
Group learning processes vary, but are based on dialogue, and can
utilise different inputs
Context determines the approach – no blueprint
Facilitation is key to the process
Change is a natural product of the research process; capacities
may need to be developed to undertake action as part of the
learning process
Power relationships are critical, and consciousness of these is
…A growing family of approaches, methods,
attitudes and behaviours to:
enable and empower people to share, analyse and
enhance their knowledge of life and conditions
affecting then and;
to plan, act, monitor, evaluate and reflect on their
» Robert Chambers 2002
Commonly Used Defining Principles of PLA/PRA
Seeks to catalyse reflection and analysis with and by
local people through the use of visual methods,
interactive processes and group learning;
An emphasis on enabling people to speak up and
Focus on iterative learning, between and among
local people and those from outside;
An explicit concern with quality of interaction: stress
on personal values attitudes & behavior as a
prerequisite for effective work
Commonly Used Defining Principles of PLA/PRA
The use of open ended, adaptable, visual
methods within a flexible learning process
rather than the use of a sequence of specific
methods for pre-determined ends;
A commitment to generating knowledge for
action (rather than simply for understanding)
and to addressing tangible, do-able action plans
for immediate or intermediate follow-up
Some Steps For Initiating a Participatory Process
Initial consultations
Capacity building &
organizing for the process
Preliminary visits &
building relationship
among actors
Planning & publicizing the
Doing the PLA exercisedata gathering, analysis &
Drawing action plans &
Consolidating action plans
in to work plans or strategic
plans Resource mobilizing
for supporting the plans
Feed back &
implementation scheduling
Participatory Monitoring –
Participatory Evaluation –
Participatory Impact
– Mapping
– Transects
– Historical profile/timeline
– Trends & changes
– Seasonal calendars
– Activity Profiles
Livelihood Analysis
– Mobility maps
– Well-being Ranking
– Access & control profile
– Proportional piling/Pie
Institutions Analysis
– Venn diagram
– Semi Structured Interview
– Drama & role plays
– Ranking and Matrix Scoring
– Problem Analysis
– Gender Analysis Matrix
– Community Action Plan
– budgeting
– Visioning & setting of
– Project Proposals
– Implementation schedules
Community Contracts
Participatory video
Case Story – Kyrgyzstan, 2001-present
Central Asia, bordering China,
Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
Following collapse of Soviet Union,
formerly collectivised land offered
for individual ownership by farmers
“Collective management” moves to
“Farming” becomes a profession
Aspiring farmers need to learn how
to manage farming systems
Education institutions need to help
them learn the knowledge, skills
and attitudes they need
How to approach this complex
What happened?
In January 2001, Helvetas-Kyrgyzstan
started an experimental Agricultural
Vocational Education Project (AVEP) on
professional training of men and women
farmers in two schools in Naryn oblast. An
important first step in the project was to
define the competence profile of a farmer.
A farmer needs a range of skills, abilities
and special knowledge in order to carry
out the practical activities of farming.
These skills and knowledge were
identified to prepare a competence
profile - the starting point for developing a
curriculum for vocational training for
farmers, including teaching and learning
Based on a process of “participatory
curriculum development”
Why a competence profile?
To analyse the current situation of
farms in Naryn oblast (structure,
products, market, production
calendar, main problems, potentials,
To enumerate all skills and
knowledge which are needed for
farming in Naryn.
To clarify levels of education needed
(farm labourer, farmer, master farmer)
and skills and knowledge desirable
for each level.
Information came from:
1. Local farmers (from small and big
farms) in villages in the catchment
area for the school.
2. People from different generations
(old and young).
3. Male and female.
How did they make the profile?
1. Interviewing (school working groups were trained in basic
interviewing skills).
2. Participatory rural appraisal methodology with family groups on their
farms, with all outputs discussed collectively. Method used include:
transect walk (around the farm, taking photos, including a photo of
the family)
farm profile/mapping (a big sketch on paper by the family)
seasonal skills profile (making a chart of who does what, when, who
needs to learn more)
product ranking (listed and ranked on importance to cash, and
problem ranking (informants listed and ranked five most important
vision (the family draws its future farm and says what will be the
main products, problems solved, what is done by whom,
what skills they will have)
What next?
Competence profile used as the basis for a
completely new curriculum
Profile and curriculum validated by those
engaged in sharing their views and
subsequently revised
Teachers received methodological training to
help them develop their own skills for
facilitation of learning and teaching
“Experimental” classes offered in a few
schools, and gradually increased to a wider
geographical coverage
Lessons learned?
High level of appreciation from
students, teachers, and members of
local farming communities –
empowerment through ownership of
learning process – shifts in micropolitics of learning and change
Challenges from institutionalising
approach within Government vocational
education and training system; funding
and resource difficulties – harder to
shift macro-politics of learning and
Sufficiently long project durations and
intensive training and coaching of the
community members are needed to
help them develop their own
participatory behaviour
Some conclusions from the Kyrgyz story
Finding the “optimal” level for participation is very difficult – determined by
context, expectations, levels of trust and relationship building, and
acceptance of both rights and responsibilities that come with participation
Guidance, coaching, mentoring are all critical as part of a wider learning
process. These take time, and effort
Need to find a balance between achieving quick results and moving on at
the learning speed of the community members
“Handing over” a process is a crucial stage – too early, and people may
not be confident enough; too late, and dependency on an external project
may have been established
Participation needs to take place at all levels, in a sustained way, if power
relations and hierarchies are to be challenged
Participation is not neutral; champions and saboteurs can both make a
With participation comes need for accountability – from all sides
Method example - Venn Diagram-Institutions Analysis
A Venn Diagram is a tool used to identify and analyse institutions,
relationships, using symbols or circles (objects) of varying sizes to
represent individuals,groups or organizations and their perceived
importance by a community or a given group of people.
The size of the symbols/objects or circles indicates their perceived
The positioning – overlapping, touching or separate – indicates their
degree of interactions.
The diagram can thus illustrate the relationships between several
different institutions and the community – and provide entry point for
discussing ways of improving relationships between such
Example from a PLA exercise in a Nigerian village to identify ways in
which community members could engage more actively with the
Women doing Venn Diagramming in
Bohar Village –Nigeria April 2001
Outcomes from the Nigerian village case
The institutions analysis diagramming and
presentation revealed that the church, traditional
leaders and the school were perceived as the most
important institutions
» “..the church is where we meet to pray
to our God to help us…we sing, play and
fellowship together…even when the
government forgets you God cannot”,
one of the youths remarked.
Broken Promises
All the groups considered the politicians and
political parties as the least important.
» “They do not fulfil their promises and
they also sell off our contracts once
approved by the government. They
are corrupt”.
Discussion on the outcomes revealed that the
politicians only come to the village during
elections (seeking for our votes).
Learning & Action
The villagers agreed to mobilise themselves to
forward their complaints to the government about the
practices by the politicians.
The church and the Youth Association were given
the task to mobilise and sensitise the people on their
rights and to call on the government for change.
Through the discussions the community members
saw the importance of being organised in order to
speak with one voice and realise their development
More Lessons & Challenges
The exercise also revealed that;
– women and the youth were better organised in functional
groups that helped them in addressing their basic needs.
– YMCA (the convenor of the PLA exercise) was missing in all
the Venn diagrams.
– Attempts by a YMCA representative to have the youth to put
YMCA in the Venn diagram were rejected.
• “We have never heard of YMCA so putting it in our
diagram would be wrong” .
• YMCA was advised to organise for a public meetings
with the community to introduce themselves and their
Some examples of “success stories” in
participatory development
“Reflect” (adult learning and community development)
“Stepping Stones” (HIV/AIDS awareness and education)
Farmer Field Schools/Integrated Pest Management
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper processes
Participatory Poverty Mapping
Participatory Curriculum Development
Community-led Total Sanitation
But there is no “perfection in participation” – it is constantly
adapting, being re-imagined and re-shaped in many
different contexts. This makes it both beautiful and slippery!
Challenges as you work in local
What are optimal levels of participation for what
What form of participation in what context?
How to understand and take into account power
How to link to, or combine with, other
methodological approaches?
How to avoid “fake participation” and to avoid cooption, especially when “scaling-up”?
How to support people to participate in ways that
will lead to positive change?
A final comment on facilitating participatory processes
from Kyrgyzstan
“As there is no ideal level of participation,
the question should not be whether
participatory approaches are needed but
what degree of participation has the most
sustainable impact on community
(Messerli and Abdykarov, 2007)
Thank you for your attention