Information for G03319
Participatory Learning and Action 62. Part I: Communities taking charge in China
This first section of Participatory Learning and Action (PLA 62) looks at how communities in China have experienced the gradual change of roles and responsibilities through increased citizen participation. It shows that although communities are keen to take charge, the transition to new ways of working is a learning process for both the community and government staff involved.
The articles in this section are written by people who were involved in the process as community members and facilitators and describe how communities took charge of a project and how this created confidence and trust in the community’s ability to take over responsibility. They highlight the energy at the community level that the government often oversaw and neglected. The first article is written by a member of the Lahu ethnic group, one of the most marginalised ethnic groups in China.
The articles show that once communities are given the space, individuals and groups quickly recognise this as an opportunity to become active and demand greater responsibilities on behalf of the communities. There are tensions arising from unclear relationships and insufficient delegation of responsibilities, but negotiation takes place not only around issues of roles, but also on the extent to which responsibilities should remain within the formal governance structure.