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Foreword (PLA 50)

Congratulations on your 50th issue, Participatory Learning and Action! I can still remember when you were just a twinkle in Robert Chamber’s eye at an IDS-IIED workshop back in 1988, when the idea of sharing notes from the field was discussed. The question was – who would coordinate, edit and disseminate an informal ‘RRA’ journal? All it took was an expectant raising of Gordon Conway’s eyebrows, a quick nod of my head, and the Sustainable Agriculture team at IIED had taken you on!

Since then of course you have grown in leaps and bounds, to incorporate PRA and PLA. And it’s great to see that you haven’t taken on any grandiose or glossy airs over the years. You have stayed true to the idea of sharing cutting edge experiences, straight from the field – a field that has expanded to include every imaginable sector, in both the North and South.

This special anniversary issue of Participatory Learning and Action contains articles by previous guest-editors and authors from the last 20 years who were invited to revisit their contributions and provide an update on current thinking. The overview reflects on the overlapping themes and parallels in the lessons learnt and suggestions for ways forward.

Guest editors: Robert Chambers, Nicole Kenton and Holly Ashley

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory learning and action approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board.

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