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.
Participation Cluster research specializes in the development of participatory research methods with particular emphasis on 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.
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. More details
Building Sustainable Inclusion: From Intersecting Inequalities to Accountable Relationships
This project focuses on the need to consider and address intersecting inequalities – the spatial, economic and identity-based drivers of poverty and inequality - if the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to be successful. More details
Participation Resource Centre
The Participation Resource Centre holds the combined collections of IDS and the International Institute for Environment and Development. More details
Poverty, Politics, and Participatory Methodologies in SDC
This Collaboration with the Quality Assurance (QA) Programme of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is now in its second phase, running until December 2017. The aim of the program is to improve the quality and effectiveness of SDC processes and operations focused on poverty. More details
Building Resilience and Inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa through Social Learning around Climate Risks
Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly vulnerable to droughts, floods and other climate-related stressors and shocks. This research aims to contribute to greater understanding of the underlying drivers of risk, while also identifying pathways to improve the impact that climatic information may have on building resilience through bridging the 'usability gap'. More details
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Stark realities lying behind the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill04 Dec 2012
By Stephen Wood
BLOG: Fascism - the ugly face of unruly politics23 Nov 2012
BLOG: Time to Listen13 Nov 2012
BLOG: Learning Partners: Participate and the High Level Panel02 Nov 2012
By Thea Shahrokh
BLOG: On having Voice and Being Heard: Participation in the Post-2015 Policy Process31 Oct 2012
By Elizabeth Mills
‘Global development’: the new buzzword?04 Oct 2012
By Kas Sempere, Alexandra Wanjiku Kelbert
BLOG: Prices that bounce11 Sep 2012
By Naomi Hossain