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Where to start?

September 22, 2011

I’ll be honest… I have no idea. I’m gonna keep this blog underground to start with and see how I feel about having one. But if you do come across it do say hi!

A little while ago Duncan Green over at FP2P hosted a guest post by Robert Chambers on Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), talking about what to do with all the shit in the world basically.

I’ve been fortunate to attend a few of Chambers’workshops while studying at Sussex university, including one on CLTS. He’s definitely somewhat of a guru in the participatory development field. During these workshops and some subsequent participatory development experiences, I’ve always had this nagging feeling that there was a lack of honesty and transparence in participatory exercices. Although pretending to step aside and let the group run the workshops Chambers would always gently but in a definite way direct the discussions or actions that were taken.

Power systems within, between, towards and from communities need to be acknowledged. Using participatory techniques one can lay them out in the open. But I’ve always have this nagging feeling that these tools are often still used to facipulate rather than facilitate. In the case of CLTS I wonder if coercion can ever be used in a positive way. We are still trying to tell people what to do.

That’s it for my first tiny post. I’m still not very happy with my writing but I feel like I just need to

jump into it and learn as I go.
ps. the title of the blog is a reference to a favorite book of mine. I think there need to be more studies on aid practices.

pps. I’m going to try to start with at least updating this weekly and see how it goes.


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