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Cluster

Participation, Inclusion and Social Change

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.

Research by our Participation, Inclusion and Social cluster 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. Our Participatory Methods website hosts a range of resources to generate ideas and action for inclusive development and social change.
  • 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.

Visit our Participatory Methods website

Key contacts

Image of Joanna Howard
Joanna Howard

Research Fellow and Cluster Leader

j.howard@ids.ac.uk

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People

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Brigitte Rohwerder

Research Officer

Image of Danny Burns
Danny Burns

Professorial Research Fellow

Image of Dilmurad Yusupov
Dilmurad Yusupov

DPhil Student

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Erika López Franco

Research Officer

Image of Jackie Shaw
Jackie Shaw

Research Fellow

Image of Jae Hyun Park
Jae Hyun Park

Doctoral Researcher

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Jamie Myers

Research and Learning Manager

Image of Joanna Howard
Joanna Howard

Research Fellow and Cluster Leader

Projects

Project

Inclusive Futures

Inclusive Futures is a Consortium programme of 16 global partners, led by Sightsavers, focussing on advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities. The project brings together a diverse range of NGOs and research centres with expertise in different areas. Together we're pooling our...

Recent work

Publication

Handwashing Compendium for Low Resource Settings: A Living Document

Frequent and proper handwashing with soap is vital to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In response, we have developed this Handwashing Compendium for Low Resource Settings. Bringing existing information from different organisations into one place, the compendium provides guidance, local examples...

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Mimi Coultas & 2 others

14 October 2020

News

Timely, relevant and actionable sanitation programming essential for SDG 6

With just 10 years to achieve the 2030 target of safely managed sanitation for all, we need to learn rapidly to make real progress. Over the past few years, the Sanitation Learning Hub, in collaboration with, the Government of India, Praxis, WSSCC and WaterAid India, have been developing...

21 September 2020

Report

Rapid Action Learning for Sanitation and Hygiene Programming

Frontiers of Sanitation: Innovations and Insights 15

This issue of Frontiers of Sanitation describes four Rapid Action Learning approaches that have been developed and tested in India by IDS and partners to support the Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin, and encourages others to use them, to innovate other approaches, and to share their...

Image of Jamie Myers
Jamie Myers & 2 others

21 September 2020