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Review of the Francophone exchange meeting on participatory development in Francophone Africa Results and strategies for the future

Laura Greenwood

Journal article

Participatory development in Francophone West Africa has been considerably developed and practised in the region during the last 10 years, primarily through the spread of the Méthode Active de Recherche et de Plannification Participatives (MARP) methodology and associated network. During this time, a great many community based groups (CBOs), local and national NGOs, government agencies, research and academic organisations etc., have adopted participatory methodologies in their work. However, whilst there has been much spread in the adoption and dissemination of participatory methods in practice, there has been little development to support the exchange of information and experiences oriented towards good practice and learning between institutions and individuals involved in participatory development in Francophone Africa. This has resulted in a lack of analysis of participatory practice, duplication of effort and often, nonsystematisation of good practice. In an attempt to address this situation and to facilitate networking and the exchange of information, a regional meeting was convened to provide Francophone practitioners the opportunity to meet and share their experiences around, and to discuss ways forward for, participatory development. The Francophone Exchange was co-organised by IIED Senegal – Programme du Sahel and La Fondation Rurale de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (FRAO) with financial support from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) – UK. This regional meeting was held on 25th-28th April 2000 in Dakar,Senegal and provided the opportunity for practitioners to reflect together on the experiences and results of participatory practice to date, drawing from their own varied experiences, and to identify strategies and challenges for participatory development in the future. One of its principle aims was to try to systematise methods, share innovation and enrich documentation around the use of participatory methods in the Francophone world.

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