In employing participatory techniques, it is vital that facilitators establish a relationship of trust and reciprocity with participants by becoming co-learners. This paper assesses the challenges faced by facilitators in achieving this goal and suggests some ways in which the traditional hierarchical and unequal relationship of teacher and student can be overcome. The authors consider that the major challenges are; shifting the power, discomforts caused by structural changes and shifting the control of information. Ways in which such challenges can be tackled include: seeking out others supportive of the transformation process; 'selling' participatory methods; ensuring a physical space which promotes co-learning; and using tools such as story telling and personal reflective journals which encourage transparency and trust.
International Institute for Environment and Development