Participation

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.

Disability work in Northern India with PRAXIS

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.

Key contact

Photo of Danny Burns, IDS Participation, Power and Social Change Team leader

T: +44 (0)1273 915612

E: d.burns@ids.ac.uk

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Team Members

IDS staff or research student

E: a.vanhemelrijck@ids.ac.uk

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IDS staff or research student

T: +44 (0)1273 872932

E: a.cornwall@associate.ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Danny Burns, IDS Participation, Power and Social Change Team leader

T: +44 (0)1273 915612

E: d.burns@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Elise Wach, Evaluation and Learning Advisor with the Impact and Learning Team

T: +44 (0)1273 915678

E: e.wach@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Erika Lopez-Franco, IDS Participation team Research Officer

E: e.lopezfranco2@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Jackie Shaw, Research Fellow in the Participation research cluster

E: j.shaw@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Jamie Myers, IDS Research Officer

T: +44 (0)1273 915874

E: j.myers2@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Jane Stevens, Communications Officer, Participation and Social Change Team

T: +44 (0)1273 915879

E: j.stevens@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Jo Howard, Research Fellow in the IDS Participation cluster

E: j.howard@ids.ac.uk

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IDS staff or research student

E: j.aked@ids.ac.uk

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Marina Apgar photo

T: +44 (0)1273 915778

E: m.apgar@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Naomi Vernon

T: +44 (0)1273 915684

E: n.vernon@ids.ac.uk

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T: +44 (0)1273 915668

E: p.bongartz@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Richard Douglass, Administrative Support, Participation Power and Social Change

T: +44 (0)1273 915785

E: r.douglass@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Robert Chambers

T: +44 (0)1273 915723

E: r.chambers@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Stacey Townsend, Administrator, Globalisation team

T: +44 (0)1273 915827

E: s.townsend@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Tessa Lewin

T: +44 (0)1273 915736

E: t.lewin@ids.ac.uk

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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

Valuing Volunteering

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

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‘Global development’: the new buzzword?

04 Oct 2012
By Kas Sempere, Alexandra Wanjiku Kelbert

BLOG: Prices that bounce

11 Sep 2012
By Naomi Hossain

Can the North hear?

27 Jul 2012
By Tessa Lewin

Spring Uprisings Calling Spring Academics

23 Feb 2012
By Kas Sempere
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