Taking a participatory approach to planning and to monitoring and evaluation (M&E) implies a shift in power from aid actors to people. It is the people who set the direction for change. They plan their priorities. It is they who decide whether a programme makes progress, delivers and is relevant.
The term actors, used in the context of development and politics, is not about TV personalities or film stars. It is used to describe the range of different people who play a part in a particular development or political scenario. It might include donors, activists, NGO workers, participatory practitioners, researchers, community members, government officials and facilitators. These actors all work within complex webs of power and relationships which enable and constrain them. Being an effective practitioner of PMs means reflecting critically on these intricacies, and on ourselves as actors.