What is democracy? Freedom, equality, participation? Everyone has his or her own definition. Across the world countries have a least the minimum trappings of democracy, but for many this is just the beginning. Following decades of US-backed dictatorships, civil wars and structural adjustment policies in the South, and corporate control, electoral corruption and fraud in the North, representative politics in the Americas is in crisis. Citizens are now choosing to redefine democracy under their own terms: local, direct and participatory. In Brazil, they have installed participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre, in Venezuela President Chavez came to power with the promise of granting direct participation to the people, and all across the Americas social movements and constitutional assemblies are taking authority away from the ruling elites and putting power into the hands of their members and citizens. This DVD features interviews with Eduardo Galeano, Amy Goodman, Emir Sader, Martha Harnecker, Ward Churchill and Leonardo Avritzer as well as cooperative and community members, elected representatives, academics and activists from Brazil, Canada, Venezuela, Argentina, United States, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia and more. It takes us on a journey across the Americas in an attempt to answer the question "What is Democracy?"
In 1993, a collaboration was forged between the Center for Medical Guidance and Family Planning (CEMOPLAF) and World Neighbors-Ecuador (WN) to encourage the participation of indigenous populations to utilise reproductive health services provided by CEMOPLAF. The partnership was implemented through the sensitive integration of these services with agriculture and animal husbandry, which resulted in a dramatic uptake by local people. This newsletter follows a learning exchange which took place from November 18 - 26, 2000, between interdisciplinary teams from WN programs in Bolivia, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru and key members of the CEMOPLAF-World Neighbors program in Ecuador. The exchange allowed the participants to explore and analyse the different aspects of the program, draw on their own experiences in relation to implementing reproductive health programs, and understand more fully an integrated approach to implementing reproductive health programs.
Concerted social policies in the field of HABITAT : the case of Social Policy Concerted Action Board in Cordoba, Republic of Argentina
This paper discusses the experience of concerted social policies, with a focus on Argentina. It outlines the various impacts of social policies, the meaning of concerted social policies, and insights and conclusions regarding the issue, drawing on the experience of the Social Policy Concerted Action Board in Cordoba, Argentina. The role of civil society in particular is highlighted.
Contribución a una metodologÝa participativa para evaluar amenazas en áreas protegidas en conjunto con comunidades ruralese y/o indigenas.
Spanish language conference paper on use of PRA for evaluating different aspects of pressure on and conflict about communal national park resources.
This paper discusses the use and facilitation of PRA approaches in working with internally displaced peoples. It uses the specific case study of certain resettled communities in Colombia, highlights the resettlement experience, discusses methodological issues, and provides examples of participatory exercises in the field.
Conference paper on use of PRA in conflict resolution in National Parks in Venzuela.
This article argues that if participation is consistently emphasised in all phases of a project, local people will increasingly become the owners of the changes that they propose. It draws from experiences in a water management project in Haurancca, Peru. It describes the various phases of the project, including a participatory appraisal and planning phase, a process of interactive design, a construction phase and the stage of clarifying water management to enable effective use of the physical infrastructure. The lessons learnt from the experience are also reflected upon.
Compas (Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development) is an international programme whose aim is to understand and encourage the diversity of rural people's knowledge and expand inter-cultural dialogues on farmer's knowledge and indigenous learning. The March 2001 issue of Compas Magazine focuses on indigenous traditional knowledge and the challenges these traditions face in the modern world. It includes articles on perceptions of traditions, positive and negative aspects of tradition, Mayan concepts of health, participatory rapid assessment of local Indian health traditions, and eco-cultural villages in Zimbabwe. (full text of this is available on their website)
This book explores the idea that although the value of participatory approaches is now fully established, the assumption that all participatory interventions are efficient and beneficial is a long way from the reality. It suggests that this has long been ignored and suggests that meaningful participation is an eminently political process, usually struggled for from below rather than granted from above. Using contributions from across the world, the authors show that this involves issues of power, mobilization and collective action which needs to be supported by all elements of civil society.
This article describes the exploratory and preparatory phase of a research project designed to use co-operative enquiry as a method for transformative and participatory action research into relations between donors and recipients in two developing countries, Bolivia and Bangladesh. It describes the origins of the idea, the conceptual challenges that the authors faced in seeking funding, and what they learned from this first phase. The authors analyse why the researchers, as well as the potential subjects of the research, were uncomfortable with the proposed methodology, including the challenges arising from their own positions and the highly sensitive nature of the topic. They explain why they decided to abandon the project, and they reach some tentative conclusions concerning the options for participatory action learning and research in development practice.