News, Blogs and Events

Top book recommendations from our team...

Members of the Participation Team at IDS were recently asked for their "top book of all time on participation".  Each week we'll feature one person’s top book.  This week it’simage of stack of books the turn of Robert Chambers who’s chosen...

Andrea Cornwall’s edited book The Participation Reader (Zed Books, London and New York, 2011).  Robert says:

Webinar: Disability-Making CLTS fully inclusive

On Thursday 30th October, 10-11.30am (GMT), the Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Knowledge Hub together with Hazel Jones (WEDC) and Jane Wilbur (WaterAid) will be hosting a webinar on the theme of the recently published Frontiers issue 3:

Citizen Participation in Local Governance: a global vision coming from the bottom up

A new book from LogoLink

This book presents the reflections and analyses of more than 500 participants from across Africa, Asia and Latin America.  Brought together by LogoLink (the Learning Initiative on Citizen Participation and Local Governance) they included social leaders, human rights activists, academics and politicians as well as representatives of community, grassroots and advocacy organisations.  Their synthesis culminated in the World Charter for the Right to Citizen Participation in Local Governance.  Whilst this book is not available online, some of the chapters are and can be found on the Logolink website along with details of how to purchase it.

Tackling Urban Violence in Mumbai and Cape Town through Citizen Engagement and Community Action

A new IDS Policy Briefing from J. Gupte, T. Shahrokh and J Wheeler.image of front cover

Urban violence is an urgent and growing problem in many cities across the world. This Briefing focuses on gender-based violence in Cape Town, South Africa, and juvenile crime in Mumbai, India, to explore how those living with this violence may be enabled to address it themselves. Those living in poverty find a variety of responses to violence and this briefing shares evidence of how citizens can contribute both independently and through collective action to building safer communities.

Assessing Impact in Dynamic and Complex Environments: Systemic Action Research and Participatory Systemic Inquiry

Danny Burns.image of front cover

Centre for Development Impact (CDI) Practice Paper No. 8.

Just out and free to download, this Paper explores the implications of complexity and systems thinking for understanding how change happens. This in turn has significant implications for impact assessment. The paper shows how a Systemic Action Research methodology can be employed for assessing impact in complex and highly dynamic environments.  Published by IDS.

Empowering Parents in Australian Schools

An action research project conducted by Good Shepherd Youth & Family Service

Parent engagement in a child’s learning has demonstrated positive effects on the child’s educational, social and long-term employment outcomes.  Yet with students from vulnerable populations as much as two and a half years behind those from high socioeconomic status backgrounds, enabling parental involvement is not easy.  Uplift: An Empowerment Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools, by Susan Maury, has just been published by the Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service in Australia.  It details the piloting of an empowerment methodology that focuses on the parents’ voice and viewpoint. The research process ran three workshops in which the parents created a vision for their children’s school years, then identified actions that families, schools, and the community could take to better support their child’s holistic development.  This process became a leverage point for community action, with members working collaboratively with different agencies to achieve steady and sustainable community change for the benefit of their children.

International Aid and the Making of a Better World: Reflexive Practice

A new book from Rosalind Eybenimage of front cover

How can international aid professionals deal with the daily dilemmas of working for the wellbeing of people in countries other than their own?  Rosalind Eyben, a lifelong development practitioner seeks to answer this question.  In this book she provides a vivid and accessible insight into the world of aid: its people, ideas and values against the backdrop of a broader historical analysis of the contested ideals and politics of aid operations from the 1960s to the present day.  She examines her own behaviour to explore what happens when trying to improve people’s lives in far-away countries and warns how self-deception may construct obstacles to the very change desired. She proposes that those working in international development must respond self-critically to the dilemmas of power and knowledge that shape aid’s messy relations, and advocates the adoption of the habit of reflexivity in order to help make a better world.  Published by Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-65674-0.

Complex Adaptive Systems for Development

Professional Development Programme

8th-13th February 2015, Brighton, UK

An understanding that the world is made up of an interconnected web of complex systems is at last creeping into development thinking and challenging the simplistic linear models that have for so long underpinned aid programmes.  Ben Ramalingam’s book Aid on the Edge of Chaos, published last autumn, offers an in depth exploration of this whole new way of approaching aid and international cooperation.  In addition, Ben and colleagues have just announced a six day course on Complex Adaptive Systems in Development which will take place in February 2015 in Brighton, UK.  It has been developed to meet the needs of practitioners, researchers and policy makers working in development and humanitarian contexts.  It offers them the opportunity to deepen their skills in the approaches, methods and tools employed by leading complex systems researchers.

Organisations and Social Change Course

8th-12th September 2014, London, UKBarefoot guide logo

Organised by Partnership Matters, this is the first Barefoot course to be held in the UK. It will enable participants to improve their ability to listen deeply to others, understand their own behaviour and motivations and identify the stage their own organisations are at along with the most appropriate interventions to take.  It will support their ability to assess different kinds of change and how to support them, along with how to address resistance and improve facilitation.  It is an experiential and interactive course, encouraging participants to learn from each other and is open to people at all stages of their career in international development and social change.  It costs GBP500 and booking requests should be sent to by 15TH AUGUST LATEST.