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Editorial (PLA Notes 46)

Holly Ashley

Journal article

PLA 46 reports in depth into the debate that followed the publication of a report into a citizen's jury experiment, Prajateerpu, in Andhar Pradesh in southern India. This programme of scenario workshops and juries focused on farming and food policy, with its ultimate aim of identifying the key areas that were of importance to the poor and marginalized groups. To do this members of the jury were hand picked, rather than selected randomly, from various groups that would perhaps be over looked or drowned out in normal participatory processes; women; landless poor; lower castes; marginal farmers. The debate that followed the publication of the report into the workshop was heated, with many people involved in participatory work around the world becoming involved. In an attempt to manage this debate and to use this exchange of views to develop the participation field, an e-forum was established, with people encouraged to contribute their views and opinions. This edition of PLA notes is a direct result of that e-forum, with articles from a variety of the contributors; the original workshop facilitators and report editors; academics working in the field; researchers carrying out other research in the same region of India; UK Government Officials; and the people that established the e-forum. The findings of the Prajateerpu report are discussed, but within the wider context of participatory methods in development.

PLA is the world’s leading informal journal on participatory approaches. Guest editors provide up-to-the minute accounts of participatory approaches in specific fields. Since 1987, PLA has provided a forum for participatory practitioners – community workers, activists and researchers – to share experiences, reflections and methodological innovations with others, providing a genuine ‘voice from the field’.

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