Praxis Diary – Day 2 – an audience with Professor Robert Chambers ;-)


Now anyone who knows Robert knows how much he hates people using terms of praise about him (I introduced him at a Brighton ICT4D event as “esteemed” and got told off for it… ahem) – hence the title, just a bit of gentle teasing, oops… J

So day 2 of the 20th Praxis international commune on participatory methods in Delhi kicked off with a day of Robert training and facilitating – covering a LOT of stuff around power, uppers, lower, whose voices and related topics.

The agenda was pretty intriguing:

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The group – very diverse – people from community led organisations, international and national NGOs, consultants, private sector and even one person from government (a first apparently!) – from India, elsewhere in Asia, Africa and 2 of us from Europe.

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Despite being in a venue on a military encampment (don’t ask me why), we had some very different types of sessions and got to move around a little

Some of what we covered was updated material I’ve come across before in Robert’s books which was good to revisit and reflect on

Some was new to me, in particular the idea of different aspects of power based not on the traditional types (political, economic etc.), but on a subtler approach about what the aspect of power means in a participatory context (power over, power to, power to empower…)

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And some was led by the group, including a particularly interesting discussion about how we can begin to change our own organisations (or in my case, how to seek windows of opportunity and levers of change to have a positive effect on other organisations)

That’s it for now, a lot to digest… And a video on human rights to watch this evening…

Oh and if you fancy some light reading – here’s the books recommended – there’s at least 2 I’ll definitely be buying!

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Exhausted now!  More tomorrow… or maybe Saturday… or Monday… or…

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