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Taking onboard immersions within Sida (PLA 57)

The articles in this final section of PLA 57 looks at some of the ways in which immersions are starting to influence policy and institutional direction. The most significant example is from Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency). Sida is trying to keep a balance between high-level dialogue with its development partners (Southern governments) and perspectives gathered ‘from below’. The challenge for Sida is now less about helping colleagues appreciate their importance and more about supporting their implementation.

This first article describes how the Sida understand immersions, and the progress of adoption of immersions in the organisation. Some staff members remain sceptical about the purpose of immersions and whether they can add any value to work within a funding agency such as Sida. However, general scepticism is progressively turning into cautious interest, as more staff members undertake immersions, and senior management encourage them to do so.

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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