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Extract from immersion report: Funsi, Ghana (PLA 57)

Koy Thomson

Journal article

The articles in Section 3 of PLA 57 are a collection of individual testimonies written by some of those who have taken part in immersions. This article is the first of three written by participants in the same immersion in a village called Funsi in Ghana in 2005, facilitated by ActionAid International and its local partner, Tudridep. This was a pivotal immersion for ActionAid in that it cemented the organisation's thinking about the particular model of immersion it would pursue (which Sonya Ruparel described earlier in Section 1). KOY THOMSON describes the vulnerability he felt during the immersion, and the uncertainty of his status – echoing Dee Jupp, Section 2 (this issue) about how downplaying the status and identity of guests is an important part of enabling them to come closer to their hosts. He shows how his time in Funsi both challenged and reinforced his thinking about rights-based approaches and advocacy.

In these are highly personal and subjective accounts, the authors record what mattered to them at the time. Writing is part of the process of reflection, and central to every immersion. The tone and language reflect the intensity of the experience. Each illustrates the power of face-to-face dialogue and the potential of immersions to challenge deeply held beliefs.

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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