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Immersion: the soul of development (PLA 57)

Qazi Azmat Isa

Journal article

The four articles in Section 4, Part 2 on programme development and accountability illustrate different ways in which NGOs and donors are using immersions to strengthen the quality of the programmes they run and their accountability to those they serve.

In this article, the author describes how informal but regular meetings in the homes of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) clients have become an essential and valued part of the project’s monitoring system. Author Qazi Azmat Isa is the World Bank's Senior Community Development Specialist in Pakistan. Despite institutional barriers, he has made a personal decision to continue using immersions in his work, particularly to monitor and evaluate the work of the PPAF. The author summarises the benefits of immersions over standard monitoring and evaluation practices, but acknowledges that a more profound transformation in how the Bank conducts its business will only be achieved once a critical mass of immersion experience has been built up. Finding ways to demonstrate the impact of immersions will help make a strong case for their widespread use.

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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