Helping communities to help themselves - Evaluating the potential of participation in a Participatory Rural Appraisal in Kenya
Abstract: In this paper we discuss and analyse participatory methods in development programs. The concept of participation has changed during the last decades in the development discourse towards an empowering approach. In participatory programs participation is considered as a means to empower communities. We find the potential for these programs depend on whether they can ensure an empowering participation. In our analysis of a participatory Rural Appraisal in Kenya we have stated the obstacles of participation at the community level found in excluding and discriminating power structures, and in a lack of capabilities among the community members. To foster the conditions favouring participation, good governance and the provisions of social services, measurements are required from additional actors within the civil society. The possibilities of the participatory programs rely on joint efforts of the organisations implementing program and the civil society to address the prevailing limitations of participation.
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