oa Africa Insight - Participation and power Villagers in rural Lesotho are developing learning skills by helping themselves.

Volume 32, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



The notion of participation is central to many progressive and radical approaches to research and development. According to Stringer, ""Active participation is the key to feelings of ownership that motivate people to invest their time and energy to help shape the nature and quality of their community lives"".1 Participation is also central to REFLECT, an approach to adult literacy and development which fuses the theory of Paulo Freire and the practice of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). Learners are referred to as participants, and Participatory Rural Appraisal is a key tenet of the approach. PRA is seen as a means to enable participation, especially of the illiterate, poor and marginalised. PRA practitioners.. start from the lives of communities themselves, ... from the recognition that poor communities have a wealth of local technical and social knowledge .... What is needed are techniques to enable non-literate people to articulate their knowledge - as building on this knowledge and the reality of the poor must be the starting point of any effective development programme.2

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