At the heart of each immersion is the contact established between a host family and their guest, which is (sometimes) supported by an interpreter and/or facilitator. The quality of the relationships between these various protagonists is critical to the success of an immersion. The articles in Section 2 (PLA 57) explore these roles and relationships.
Here, IZZY BIRCH et al. start with the perspective of the hosts, and show how the normal tensions and dynamics within the host community will inevitably surface during an immersion. The voices of those who host immersion participants are seldom heard. The visitors leave and attempt to describe for a wider audience what they felt and learnt, and what the implications might be for development policy or practice. But the thoughts of their hosts rarely leave their villages. To try to redress this imbalance, the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) and ActionAid were asked to carry out some interviews with host families to hear what they had to say. The following conversation took place between SEWA staff and a group of four SEWA members. All four had hosted several Exposure and Dialogue Programmes (EDPs), mostly for staff from the World Bank (see also Section 1, this issue).
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.