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Immersions in ActionAid (PLA 57)

Sonya Ruparel

Journal article

SONYA RUPAREL tells the story of immersions in ActionAid. Its offices and partners in several countries in the South have hosted immersions for officials from donors, NGOs, and governments. Their approach involves a high level of support to participants. Immersions are a practical and powerful way to experience someone else's life and to make a personal connection with the issues they deal with on a daily basis. In the last 3 years ActionAid has been trying to use immersions in ways that have influence beyond the individual participant. Whilst ActionAid continues to use different models of immersions for different audiences, this article focuses on a multi-country initiative which aims to bring together development decision makers (donors, government officials, NGO staff, academics etc.) to learn directly from poor people. ActionAid sees immersions as one way to influence decision makers who are ever more divorced from the daily realities of the poor. This article shares some thoughts on how the impact, influence, and learning from immersions can be scaled up.

Further aspects of Action Aid’s approach are discussed in other sections of this issue of PLA 57.

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.

Guest editors: Izzy Birch, Raffaella Catani with Robert Chambers.

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