This briefing looks at how participatory immersion techniques can be used to promote advocacy in policy planning, focussing specifically on gaining insight into the situation of the poor. Senior staff in aid agencies are involved in daily decisions about policy and practice which have direct impact on the lives of poor people. But in a rapidly changing world, how can they be sure that they are basing those decisions on up-to-date information about what poor people want and would consider to be most helpful? REALISE is a participatory approach to learning, whereby staff from policy institutions and donor agencies spend a few days living and working with host families in a poor community. This enables them to engage in critical self-reflection both on their own and in a facilitated group and can bring long-term benefits to the practice of development. The experience increases motivation and commitment and the personal contact ensures that poor peopleÆs voices and perspectives are heard and integrated into new policy approaches and practice at senior level.
Institute of Development Studies