'Participation' may have become a buzzword of development practice but the pathways of current enthusiasm for participatory methods stretch back over decades. The most popularly recognized and widely used participatory approach, Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), had its genesis in the late 1980s. Since then, it has come to be used in countless communities, in dozens of countries and in a huge variety of contexts. Once a marginal practice battling for recognition, it has now become an instrument used by the most powerful of global development institutions. As PRA has spread and been taken up by actors and institutions across the spectrum of development practice, it has taken on a diversity of forms and meanings. This book brings together some of the greatest names in development practice including Robert Chambers, and Jules Pretty. It comprises the reflections of thirty-two practitioners from twenty different countries, from different generations of PRA practitioners and from different arenas of development work, cultural and political contexts and professional backgrounds. Their pathways to participation have taken different directions, influenced not only by their own professional and personal backgrounds, but also the forms of PRA which they were introduced to and helped to evolve. Embracing a range of entry points and experiences, these stories speak of moments of frustration and revelation, of dilemmas and discoveries; together, their accounts articulate the sheer variety of the forms of practice that have come to be called 'PRA'. Contributors: Andrea Cornwall; Garett Pratt; John Kennedy Alumasa; Eloy Anello; Qais Anwar; Karen Brock; Robert Chambers; Rene 'Pong' Clemente; Chandan Datta; Michael Drinkwater; Marc Fiedrich; Bara Gueye; Irene Guijt; Regis Gwaba; Katja Jassey; Barbara Kaim; Humera Malik; Mwajumah Saiddy Masaiganah; Jessica Nalwoga; Koos Neefjes; Bardolf Paul; Ditdit R Pelegrina; Kamal Phuyal; Michel Pimbert; Rajendra Prasad; Jules Pretty; Mallika Samaranayake; Tilly Sellers; Meera Shah; Marja Liisa Swantz; John Thompson and Andreas Wilkes
Table of Contents
Prelims (Contents, Preface, Acknowledgements, List of Acronyms and Abbreviations, Contributors’ Biographical Notes)
Andrea Cornwall, Garett Pratt
2. Hanging on the edge of a cliff: my loud thoughts as I walk along the winding path of participatory development in Kenya
John Kennedy Alumasa
3. My pathway to work on participation in local governance
4. Six experiences with PRA
5. Participation, policy, poverty: where now?
6. Reflections on PRA experience
7. From participatory appraisal to participation in governance in the Philippines
Rene D. Clemente
8. Winding paths, broken journeys: travels with PRA
9. Participation of the people
10. Reflections on participation and empowerment
11. Maps turning to minefields: local knowledge of PRA in a Ugandan village
12. Pathways to participation in French-speaking Africa: a learner’s itinerary
13. Intrigued and frustrated, enthusiastic and critical: reflections on PRA
14. Reflecting on PRA, participation and gender
Regis M. Gwaba
15. PRA from an end-user’s perspective
16. Personal reflections – on petrol queue time
17. Sharing my dilemmas: mixed messages on PRA and participation
18. Reflecting on the past: my journey to participation
Mwajuma Saiddy Masaiganah
19. To REFLECT or not to REFLECT?
20. PRA, poverty and livelihoods: reflections from inside the bowels of an international NGO
21. PRA values: how to become a true believer
22. Rediscovering a dream: reflections on PRA experience
Wilhelmina R. Pelegrina
23. Sharing happiness through PRA
24. Learning to live the politics of participation
25. PRA as learning and empowerment – for children too
26. Discovering new faces of PRA
27. What have we learned about participatory methods?
28. Tracing my participatory footsteps
Mallika R. Samaranayake
29. Making waves: a case for handing over PRA
30. The road from Lathodara: some reflections on PRA
Meera Kaul Shah
31. My road to Participatory Action Research
32. Learning from mistakes: reflections on improvisational participation
33. Rewriting the mass line: an outsider’s reflections on participatory approaches in southwest China
Contributors to Pathways to Participation reflect on one of the most successful movements within development studies and practice – participatory rural appraisal (PRA) – dwelling more on its shortcomings and limitations than on its accomplishments. The self-critical commentaries show how easy it is to do wrong things for right reasons, and how difficult it is to keep means from becoming ends in themselves, with process trumping substance and even values. Such thoughts are what PRA needs to remain on the cutting edge of development work.
Norman Uphoff, Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development
This is a readable and thoughtful book by 30 of the pioneers, from the industrialized and developing countries, in the evolution of Participatory Rural Appraisal. In many respects PRA represents a radical change in the way development is 'done' and in Pathways to Participation the leading practitioners describe how they became involved, what went right, what went wrong, their moments of excitement and frustration, and reflect on the lessons they have learned.
Gordon Conway, President, Rockefeller Foundation.