This book brings together writings on the discourses, politics and practice of participation in development. It explores the conceptual and methodological dimensions of participatory research and the politics and practice of participation in development. It brings together classic and contemporary writings from a literature that spans a century and in doing so offers a unique perspective on the possibilities and dilemmas that face those seeking to empower people affected by development projects, programmes and policies.
All over the world we are seeing exciting experiments in participatory governance. But are they working for the young? This issue of PLA highlights how young Africans are driving change by challenging the norms and structures that eclude them, engaging with the state and demanding accountability. It is the result of a writeshop in Kenya in 2011, where a a group of adults and young people involved in youth and governance initiatives across Africa came together to share experiences, build writing skills, form new relationships and write articles for this issue. The articles are divided into four parts: from youth voice to youth influence; rejuvenating spaces for engagement; learning citizenship young, and power to young people.
Recent research in the field of development aid persuasively problematises aid relationships and begins to reveal their significance for the real-life application and effectiveness of international development cooperation. Until insights from such research percolate through aid machineries such as the OECD DAC and its workings, the country-level consequences of universal aid frameworks and prescriptions will continue to be insufficiently foreseen, and in some cases unexpectedly problematic. This paper is about an in-depth, qualitative study of the application of the Paris Declaration (PD) on Aid Effectiveness in Colombia. This middle-income, non aid-dependent country with a prolonged and complex internal armed conflict and a poor human rights record, hitherto on the margins of international aid circles, has fast assumed a high-profile role in them via its adoption of the PD.
The study stemmed from a conviction that PD application in Colombia has unanticipated consequences, with under-appreciated impacts on the strategies of donors and social actors. Donors are subject to an attempt to push them (back) into a technocratic corner. In this politically complex context where donors' presence owes at least as much to concerns over Colombia's international human rights performance as to classic aid donor concerns with widespread extreme poverty, this is worrying and undesirable. It also has serious implications for the tripartite aid dialogue process established in 2003, involving Government, donors and social actors. This, for all its flaws and frustrations, is unique and important in a historic context of polarised, antagonistic and violent relationships between the state and left-wing advocates of human rights and social democratic principles. It will require skilful and opportunistic responses by both donors and social organisations to turn this conjuncture to their favour, in the sense of strengthening their leverage on the Government in relation to human rights, poverty, conflict and democratic governance.
How can ordinary citizens - and the organizations and movements with which they engage - make changes in national policies which affect their lives, and the lives of others around them? Under what conditions does citizen action contribute to more responsive states, pro-poor policies and greater social justice? What is needed to overcome setbacks, and to consolidate smaller victories into 'successful' change? These are the questions taken up by this book which brings together eight studies of successful cases of citizen activism in South Africa, Morocco, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Turkey, India and the Philippines.