This paper raises issues around PRA as an empowering process. For the poor, product matters more than process and "it is the functional, material gain which is the entry point, not the empowerment". PRA can be seen as "Orwellian manipulation" from the point of view of "elaborate processes imposed to secure participation". In practice, those "least familiar with Western cultural processes will be the most excluded and manipulated" - usually the women of a community. Any approach or technique has "differing meanings in differing geographical, cultural and temporal contexts", so PRA should also be seen as "context limited and context enhanced".
This brief but provocative paper raises issues of relevance to trainers, planners, fieldworkers and researchers.
PRA and Gender Workshop
Institute of Development Studies, Sussex