Participation in Development: The Question, Challenges and Issues a Symposium Background Paper
Kenny, Michael (1997) Participation in Development: The Question, Challenges and Issues a Symposium Background Paper. In: Participation in Development: The Question, Challenges and Issues a Symposium Background Paper.
That full participation is essential for sustainable development, both domestic and overseas, is now widely accepted; but there is little agreement about what it is. Definitions and typologies of full participation run the gamut from community collaboration in pre-determined projects, all the way through to recognising that communities must determine and control their own development projects. All communities, even the least advanced, can encounter obstacles to development such as, among others, difficult physical environments, traditional gender roles, the culture of relationships (that is, hierarchies of power) and organisational inflexibility. Based on a number of interviews and a survey of the literature, this paper examines the meaning of full participation and identifies the principal obstacles to it. Nine key questions, central to determining the level of commitment to participatory development, have emerged from this paper: 1. Is there awareness of and commitment to the centrality of participation in development among grassroots and public organizations? 2. Is there an openness to participation in policy formation and decision making? 3. Is there a focused commitment of resources? 4. Is there capacity building training in the skills of grassroot participation? 5. Is it necessary to increase on-the-job and foundation training in participative skills among voluntary and paid development workers and to foster a high level of expertise in participative training? 6. Are there adequate development tools to enhance participation? 7. Will structures, programmes and project cycles facilitate and reward participation? 8. Are there adequate tools to measure real participation ? 9. Will structural change facilitate participation? This paper is intended to provide the framework within which experiences and views may contribute to the process of moving closer to fully participatory and sustainable development.
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