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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

Image of Brigitte Rohwerder
Brigitte Rohwerder

Research Officer

Image of Danny Burns
Danny Burns

Professorial Research Fellow

Image of Dilmurad Yusupov
Dilmurad Yusupov

Postgraduate Researcher

Image of Erika López Franco
Erika López Franco

Research Officer

Image of Jackie Shaw
Jackie Shaw

Research Fellow

Image of Jae Hyun Park
Jae Hyun Park

Doctoral Researcher

Image of Jamie Myers
Jamie Myers

Research and Learning Manager

Image of Joanna Howard
Joanna Howard

Research Fellow and Cluster Leader

Projects

Project

Participatory Action Research with Disabled Adolescents in Nepal (PARDAN)

Intersecting vulnerabilities of disability, low socio-economic status, marginalisation and age indicate that children and young people with disabilities are likely to be uniquely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Yet, there has been limited research from low-and middle-income countries...

Project

Ending human trafficking in Nepal

IDS, Karen Snyder and our partners, aim to improve the knowledge base on TIP, identify what works in reducing human trafficking, and improving service delivery to trafficking survivors and people at risk of being trafficked.

Recent work

Brief

Taking a Disability-Inclusive Approach to Pandemic Responses

IDS Policy Briefing;175

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected communities globally, yet the impact has not been equal. People with disabilities were already often living with severe disadvantage and marginalisation and, as predicted by many disability-focused agencies, Covid-19 has exacerbated these inequalities.

Image of Mary Wickenden
Mary Wickenden & 3 others

25 March 2021

Brief

Improving Rural Sanitation in Challenging Contexts

SLH Learning Brief;8

Of the two billion people worldwide lacking access to at least basic sanitation, seven out of ten live in rural areas. Progress has been made on increasing rural sanitation and access levels are rising, but barriers remain in reaching the ‘last mile’ or some 10 to 20 per cent of the...

Oliver Jones
Will Tillett

10 March 2021

Report

Rural Sanitation Programming in Challenging Contexts: A Desk Based Review

SLH Learning Paper;11

This report summarises the findings of a desk review on ‘Rural Sanitation in Challenging Contexts’. The study sought to identify the current approaches, experiences and existing guidance in the sector in reaching those at risk of being ‘left behind’ from rural sanitation...

Oliver Jones
Will Tillett

9 March 2021