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Deepening participation for social change: case studies from Africa and Asia

RCPLA network


Since their introduction in the 1970s, participatory methods and techniques have become central tools for community development. These methods have been applied in a variety of contexts and sectors, including livestock management, village health promotion, watershed management, urban sanitation provision, impact assessments, gender awareness and the building of microcredit organisations. Participatory approaches to development have been promoted on the basis that they support effective project implementation and enhance communities’ well-being. Gradually, participation has become a fashionable, frequently used and misused, concept which is often ambiguous, vague and abstract. It is presently applied in many projects in limited forms and manners.

Aware of the lack of an actively participatory process in projects’ design and implementation, the Resource Centre for Participatory Learning and Action (RCPLA) members identified “Deepening Participation for Social Change” as the theme for 2008-2009. In this context, the network issued this publication to present information on how to design full, beneficiary participation in projects which aim at reaching and involving the poor, weak, and marginalised.

This book, published in 2010, is for those who aim to design and implement projects that aim to incorporate effective beneficiary participation in development projects to realise social change.

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