Participation is a right held by all people to engage in society and in the decisions that impact their lives. Participation is thus a political endeavour that challenges oppression and discrimination, in particular of the poorest and most marginalised people. Participatory processes enable people to see more clearly, and learn from the complexity that they are living and working amid. Through participation people can identify opportunities and strategies for action, and build solidarity to effect change.
Those whose interests are served by exclusion will seek to co-opt or pacify participation. This is not grounds for rejecting it, but for fighting harder for it, and understanding the fields of power within which meaningful participation for transformative social change lies.
Our work focuses on issues of systematic social exclusion facing women, people living in extreme poverty, people with disabilities, slaves and bonded labourers and others. This requires a systemic understanding of change, and an activist approach to research. We describe such an approach as participatory practice.
Through our work, we aim to:
- Conduct and support participatory practice that is facilitative and developmental, challenging the dominance of 'external expert' knowledge in mainstream research approaches.
- Use, develop and share knowledge on participatory methods, which are a key part of participatory practice. These include systemic action research, peer research, participatory mapping, collective analysis, participatory numbers, and visual and digital approaches.
- Employ a holistic learning based approach that is 'responsive', 'reflective and 'adaptive', recognising that reality is constantly changing, and that participatory practice means continuous engagement.
Participate: Participatory Monitoring and Accountability
The Participatory Monitoring and Accountability (PMA) programme marks a new phase of the Participate initiative. It aims to foster and support PMA learning processes that enable citizen participation for accountability to be embedded in development policy and practice. More details
Market Based Solutions for the Extreme Poor
Studies have shown that it is often wealthier people in a community who benefit from market approaches to combatting poverty – men more than women, non-disabled more than disabled. So how and to what extent can market-based solutions improve the lives of extremely poor people? More details
Modern Slavery in India and Nepal
We are working on three projects in India and Nepal using participatory methods to better understand the complex dynamics of slavery and bonded labour and to generate and test community-led solutions. More details
Strengthening and Broadening Community-Led Total Sanitation at Scale
The Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Hub works in collaboration with practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and others in the development, sanitation and related communities, and in governments, international agencies, civil society, research institutes and other organisations. The aim is support CLTS to go to scale sustainably and with quality, broadening its scope, accelerating its spread and adding to its momentum as a movement. More details
Final External Review of the Cross-Cutting Disability Research Programme
This independent external review aimed to determine the extent to which the three year Cross-Cutting Disability Research Programme (CCDRP) in Nepal, India, Zambia, Uganda, and Kenya, has met its expected impact, outcome and outputs. More details
Community Based Peace Processes in Myanmar
Since 2013 Danny Burns has been working with Stephen Gray and Josephine Roos on systemic approaches to peace in Northern Myanmar. The work is rooted in community perspectives on the issues that face local people in Kachin and Northern Shan State. More details
Participate: Knowledge from the margins for post-2015
Ensuring that the most vulnerable and marginalised communities have the opportunity to shape post-2015 policymaking More details
The project aims to expand our knowledge of the specific attributes of volunteering as a development mechanism and the unique ways in which volunteering impacts on poverty. More details
Critical Realities: holding a mirror to participatory visual research15 Jun 2016
By Jackie Shaw, Thea Shahrokh
Storytelling to tackle HIV stigma and increase accountability in Egypt14 Apr 2016
By Mohammed Farouk
Reframing gender equality and sustainable change: what role for men?22 Mar 2016
By Thea Shahrokh
When people with disabilities drive research15 Mar 2016
By Erika Lopez Franco
The Partial Usage of Toilets18 Feb 2016
By Jamie Myers
FTIs and Undernutrition: burning questions for the Forum in Bonn04 Nov 2015
By Robert Chambers
Navigating Complexity in International Development15 Oct 2015
By Danny Burns
Volunteering and Development Research: time for a rethink02 Sep 2015
By Matt Baillie Smith
Community Development - is there anything new to say?18 Aug 2015
By Jo Howard