Strengthening Participation in Local Governance : report of the workshop held at IDS, 21-24 June, 1999
This report highlights key discussion points that emerged from a workshop on "Strengthening Participation in Local Governance". Conceptual issues around participation, governance, citizenship and decentralisation are discussed. Country presentations highlight various experiences in strengthening participation in local governance: these include looking at the context (particularly with respect to existing legal frameworks), the dynamics of participation, strategies and approaches that are employed to overcome barriers, and the key lessons and proposed ways forward for future research. Lessons and challenges from previous research as well as a summary of action plans for collaboration and future research are also presented.
This bibliography was prepared for the Development Research Centre (DRC) on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability, a research network co-ordinated in the UK by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). This DRC aims to include the voices of citizens into the debates around citizenship and contribute to the understanding of citizenship: the realities, challenges, and opportunities it poses for different people and the utilization of citizensÆ knowledge to develop strategies for change. The range of contemporary thinking around citizenship is reviewed in an essay included in the booklet. This provides a theoretical frame of reference for empirical work on the relationship between citizenship, participation and accountability. Also included is a section of references of recent texts that have been selected by the authors relating to citizenship, participation and accountability. Each one has a brief description.
Assessing participation in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers: a desk-based synthesis of experience in sub-Saharan Africa
This review provides an update on practice and experiences of civil society participation in the development of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs). It was commissioned by DFID and conducted from August-October 2001 by the Participation Group at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). It begins with an overview of how the principle of participation has been interpreted by a range of actors and how these vary between International Financial Institutions, civil society and governments. Underpinning these variations is the difference between civil society participation as a means to a more effective poverty reduction strategy and participation as a means for non governmental actors to gain voice in their country's policy making and political processes. The review suggests that on balance civil society participation can add considerable value to PRSP processes and to transforming policy environments in ways that are beneficial to the poor and supportive of better governance and more responsive behaviour by governments and donor institutions. Although participation can add value, the review does not demonstrate conclusively that in all countries significant value has been added to date, nor that as much has been added as could be with better quality participatory processes.
This research report concerns the poverty reduction policy process in Kampala, Uganda. The report describes and analyses, in turn, the actors involved in policy processes at national level, the kinds of knowledge on which the processes draw, and the spaces, formal and informal, in which policy actors engage with each other. It finds that the contemporary poverty reduction policy context in Uganda holds several opportunities and several risks. The risks relate to: " The contradiction between the nature of the national political space and the way the Government of Uganda (GoU) is energetically opening up new policy spaces and ushering in a range of diverse actors; " The disconnection between the international-national alliance operating in Kampala, and the relationship between Kampala and the rest of the country. Opportunities include: " The current state of flux of poverty knowledge in Uganda; " The already considerable experience of blending diverse kinds of knowledge for policy purposes. These opportunities allow for optimism about how the "new poverty experts", sub-national actors and others outside the GoU-donor nexus might affect the course of policy in future. The report concludes that civil society actors, and especially non-governmental organisation poverty advocates, are at a critical juncture in Uganda today. To enhance their impact on policy, they can either remain passive participants in processes into which government invites them, or exercise greater agency and autonomy. The report also calls for non-governmental policy actors to reclaim from government and its donor partners the territory of participation, and to make it more their own again.
Assessing Civil Society Participation as Supported In-Country by Cordaid, Hivos, Novib and Plan Netherlands, 1999-2004. Synthesis Report
This report presents the findings of the programme evaluation on ‘civil society participation’ commissioned by the Dutch co-financing agencies Cordaid, Hivos, Novib/ Oxfam Netherlands and Plan Netherlands. It is the fourth study in a series of programme evaluations organised during the period 2003-2006 by the MBN, the Network of Co- Financing Agencies in the Netherlands.
The main focus of this report is to understand how positive change can happen from the perspectives of people living in greatest poverty and marginalisation and what can be done to promote this change. It is based on findings from participatory research, conducted by the Participate Participatory Research Group (PRG), that was undertaken by grassroots organisations, activists and citizens in 29 countries across the world. The views, stories, and experiences of the participants were collected and shared through diverse mediums including participatory film-making, digital storytelling, public forums, public theatre and art.
The report highlights how the poorest and most marginalised communities' experience of poverty is multidimensional, often characterised by low incomes, insecure livelihoods, limited or no assets, harsh living environments, violence and environmental degradation. These factors combine with multiple and interconnected inequalities, and close down the opportunities that people have to change their situation themselves. Most of all this research showed the depth of insight and intelligence of people who face extremely difficult circumstances and is a call to pay attention to what this ability offers to those who seek to promote development.
The report's authors argue that development should focus on the very poorest and work with them to make the decisions that matter most in their lives. The research shows that development interventions are targeted at those who are easiest to reach. They are often based on strong assumptions about the experiences of the poorest, rather than a real understanding of how they experience poverty and inequality. The results of this research will contribute ongoing international discussions about a new set of poverty reduction and environmental sustainability targets to replace the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.