This booklet describes the genesis, progress and evaluation of five women's participation projects that took place in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Zambia and Uganda between 1996 and 1999. These projects were organised by the Active Learning Centre (a Scottish-based development organisation that works for peoples' rights through education and training) and local NGOs. The overall aim of the booklet is to identify lessons learned and good practice in developing women's participation. The first section argues that the wider dimensions of poverty encapsulated in the concept of social exclusion are useful to understanding women's poverty and the underlying social relations that contribute to women's deprivation. A contrast is drawn between a gender and rights approach to tackling women's poverty, highlighting their respective useful aspects. The use of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as the key document for the training of trainers and local community education activities is described. The second section presents an overview of women's legal rights within the project countries and highlights some of the main areas of discrimination. It includes examples of reforms seeking to provide greater equality for women. The next section focuses on the development and execution of the women's participation projects, describing their models of operation and organisation, and providing examples of group work activities. It concludes with a series of seven case studies illustrating different aspects of the work of the projects and some of the lessons learned. The fourth section provides examples of the systems used for monitoring and evaluating each stage of the project. The final section reflects on lessons learned, identifying good practices in women's participation projects.