Participation: people power by putting the first last? Robert Chambers

How can we thoroughly involve local communities in ‘development’? Participation is the answer according to the “undisciplined” academic and ever energetic practitioner Robert Chambers, based at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex.

Following widespread criticism of conventional top-down technocratic interventions, the concept of participation has emerged since the 1990s as an essential element of a people-centred ‘development’ paradigm which aims to put the poorest first.

This is the first in what will hopefully become a series of “digests” of some academic ‘development’ thinkers, exploring their main ideas and provoking a discussion about how they may and may not be useful. Continue reading


Why ‘Youth Development Voice’? Background to this blog project

This blog is a space for young people who work in and around development to write about and reflect upon our views, experiences and the lessons we are learning from working in this sector.

We are young people who feel compelled to contribute to reducing global inequality in some professional capacity. We have specialised in international development whilst at university where we were confronted with insightful, intelligent and astute critiques of international development. We therefore recognise that ‘development’ comes with complex historical, cultural and moral baggage tied into ex-colonial relations and the power dynamics that this creates between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries. Continue reading