This report documents the main lessons emerging from a country exchange program on Sharing and Learning from PRSP (Poverty Reduction Strategy paper) experiences in Bolivia, Kenya and Uganda. The report looks at lessons learnt from civil society engagement in PRSP processes on a general level, and specifically, key learnings from civil society (CS) participation. The report argues that if spaces are created for civil society engagement, there are ways in which concerned actors can work towards warming relations with governments without compromising their respective values and autonomy. The authors also propose key guidelines for effectively 'scaling-up' quality CS participation in the PRSP process to include: adoption of a learning approach to the process; accepting the need for sufficient time. Quality participation demands space for trials and errors; recognition of governance issues (i.e., taking into account representation and accountability questions on the part of all actors); self-reflection around institutional strengths and weaknesses; this as a basis for strategic and effective alliances and partnerships. Additionally, in order to ensure quality participation, coordinated efforts and networks should be made to decentralize skills and information downwards. This would address: how consultations or PPAs (Participatory Poverty Assessments) can avoid being extractive and actually build capacity to advocate their own rights among the poor; how capacity building can also be incorporated into monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and processes; that awareness raising and dissemination of information to the grassroots is key, as is civic education; the fact that citizens need to be aware of their rights, and of how to exercise them; the building a democratic culture and sense of citizenship requires a fundamental shift in psycho-social mental models.
xi, 21 p. + appendices