Empowerment and Participation - Bridge the Gap Between Understanding and Practice

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The starting point of this discussion paper is that these dynamics of empowerment and participation are by now fairly well understood in development theory, practice and policy. Many intelligent frameworks and concepts are available for revealing the links between agency and structure in different contexts, sectors and spaces; there are innovative strategies for implementation and sound methodologies for measuring outcomes. There are excellent examples of practice and many good lessons have been learned. Yet there remains a serious gap in realising empowered, participatory approaches to reducing poverty on a wider scale. The power relations that drive inequality and exclusion do not yield easily, and efforts to challenge them can be quickly ‘hollowed out’, co-opted or rendered tokenistic.


Jethro Pettit

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