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PLA 53: Tools for influencing power and policy

Sonja Vermeulen

Journal, 96 pages

This edition focuses on the Power Tools Initiative, which aimed to develop tools to help people bridge the gap between day-to-day management and institutional and government policy.

The initiative involved 35 partners from Africa, Asia and Latin America. It developed policy tools – tips, tactics and approaches – designed to provide practical help to people working to improve the policies that govern access to and use of natural resources.

The introduction examines the explicit connection between power and tools – and how tools can change power relations. The following articles analyse and suggest ways forward for the application of tools in participatory action and learning situations, where participants must deal with more powerful institutions and individuals. With each article, we have included a summary of the corresponding Power Tool. The articles provide examples from India, Brazil, Ethiopia, Mali, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

There are also two general articles in this issue:

A paper reporting on integrating two approaches to participatory meeting facilitation: open space technology and dynamic facilitation.

A paper exploring the importance of methodological diversity in agricultural research and development.

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