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Participatory Learning and Action 62. Part II: Changing roles and relationships in China - the facilitator

Guest edited by Johanna Pennarz, Song Haokun, Deng Weijie, Wang Jianping

Journal article

Part II of Participatory Learning and Action 62 (PLA 62) explores experiences with participatory processes in China from the facilitator's point of view. As local governments are trying to redefine their roles and relationships with village communities, they discover the potentials of communities taking over responsibilities. Many poverty reduction programmes depend on government staff as facilitators. The key challenge for government facilitators has been to overcome the legacy of their relationship with communities, often marred by distrust, as well as biases on both sides.

This section includes three short pieces that were written by local government staff soon after they started implementing participatory processes. The articles reflect on some of the dilemmas of facilitation in China, particularly on how to deal with indigenous structures of power and inequality. Local communities can show a high degree of strength and resilience in dealing with outside intervention and external facilitators often struggle to balance the need for cultural and social sensitivity with their aspiration to empower communities.

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