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Pathways to Participation
Reflections on Participatory Rural Appraisal
Paper: 978 1 85339 569 7
Published: January 2004
6 1/8" x 9 1/4"
‘Participation’ may have become the buzzword of the 1990s, but the pathways of current enthusiasm for participatory methods stretch back over decades. The most popularly recognized and widely used participatory approach, Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) had its genesis in the late 1980s. Since then, it has come to be used in countless communities, in dozens of countries and in a huge variety of contexts. Once a marginal practice, it has now become an instrument used by the most powerful of global development institutions.
Pathways to Participation offers a fascinating and unique perspective on PRA. In it, thirty-two practitioners from twenty countries -- including pioneers like Robert Chambers and Jules Pretty - reflect critically on what PRA has come to mean to them, and draw on the wealth of their experiences as NGO workers, donors, activists and trainers to explore some of the lessons the past might offer future participatory practice. Embracing a range of entry points and experiences, past and future, challenges and opportunities, their stories speak of moments of frustration and revelation, of dilemmas and discoveries; together, their accounts speak of and about the sheer variety of the practices that have come to be called ‘PRA’.
Table of Contents:
Andrea Cornwall and Garett Pratt: Introduction
John Kennedy Alumasa: Hanging on the Edge of a Cliff: my loud thoughts as I walk along the winding path of participatory development in Kenya
Eloy Anello: My Pathway to Work on Participation in Local Governance
Qais Anwar: Six experiences with PRA
Karen Brock: Participation, policy, poverty: where now?
Robert Chambers: Reflections on PRA Experience
Rene ‘Pong’ Clemente: From Participatory Appraisal to Participation in Governance in the Philippines
Andrea Cornwall: Broken journeys, winding paths: travels with PRA
Chandan Datta: Personal reflections on PRA
Michael Drinkwater: Reflections on Participation and Empowerment
Marc Fiedrich: Maps turning to minefields: local knowledge of PRA in a Ugandan village
Bara Gueye: Pathways to participation in french-speaking Africa: a learner’s itinerary
Irene Guijt: Intrigued and frustrated, enthusiastic and critical: Reflections on PRA
Regis Gwaba: Reflecting on PRA, Participation and Gender
Katja Jassey: PRA from an End-user’s Perspective
Barbara Kaim: Personal reflections- on petrol queue time
Humera Malik: Sharing my dilemmas: mixed messages on PRA and participation
Mwajumah Saiddy Masaiganah: Reflecting on the Past: my journey to participation
Jessica Nalwoga: To reflect or not to reflect?
Koos Neefjes: PRA, poverty and livelihoods: reflections from inside the bowels of an international NGO
Bardolf Paul: PRA values- how to become a true believer?
Ditdit R. Pelegrina: Rediscovering a dream: reflections on PRA experience
Kamal Phuyal Sharing: happiness through PRA
Michel Pimbert: Learning to live the politics of participation
Rajendra Prasad: PRA as learning and empowerment- for children too
Garett Pratt: Discovering new faces of PRA
Jules Pretty: Reflections on participation
Mallika Samaranayake: Tracing my participatory footsteps
Tilly Sellers: Making Waves: A Case For Handing Over PRA
Meera Shah: The Road from Lathodara: some reflections on PRA
Marja Liisa Swantz: My road to Participatory Action Research
John Thompson: Learning from mistakes: reflections on improvisational participation
Andreas Wilkes: Rewriting the Mass Line: an outsider’s reflections on participatory approaches in Southwest China
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Reviews & Endorsements:
"Contributors to Pathways to Participation reflect on one of the most successful movements within development studies and practice--participatory rural appraisal (PRA)--dwelling more on its shortcomings and limitations than on its accomplishments. The self-critical commentaries show how easy it is to do wrong things for right reasons, and how difficult it is to keep means from becoming ends in themselves, with process trumping substance and even values. Such thoughts are what PRA needs to remain on the cutting edge of development work."
- Norman Uphoff
Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development
"This is a readable and thoughtful book by 30 of the pioneers, from the industrialized and developing countries, in the evolution of Participatory Rural Appraisal. In many respects PRA represents a radical change in the way development is 'done' and in Pathways to Participation the leading practitioners describe how they became involved, what went right, what went wrong, their moments of excitement and frustration, and reflect on the lessons they have learned."
- Gordon Conway, President
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