“Be the change you want to see”

Mahatma Gandhi

Research, development and policy work

Our core programmes are supported by research and development, and policy work into current and emerging issues regarding participator development. We are constantly striving to ensure that our work both informs, and is informed by, latest good practice.

Praxis has researched, developed and published a large number of methodologies and resource packs on participation. We have also published policy papers on various topics concerning participatory development.

Praxis also contributes to current and emerging policy debates around sustainable development, in particular, advocating for peoples Right to Participate. Our policy work also involves trying to create new political spaces and technologies for the excluded to have a meaningful voice in policy decisions.

Technical support services

In addition to our programmatic and policy work, Praxis UK provides technical support and training services in participatory approaches. Through our staff and network of consultants from the South, we offer a range of services to governments, NGOs, multi and bi-lateral institutions:

Further information. To find out details on previous work that Praxis has undertaken in any of the areas listed above, or for more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

Community mobilisation : What is community mobilisation? Community mobilisation is a capacity-building process through which individuals, groups or organisations plan, carry out and evaluate activities on a participatory and sustained basis to improve their health and other needs, either on their own initiative or stimulated by others.(Howard-Grabman and Snetro, 2003)

How is it useful?

Community mobilisation is particularly effective in addressing sensitive health issues which are socially related – such as HIV/AIDS, drug use, sanitation and reproductive health. By involving affected communities in the start up, assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of health interventions, projects can be more effective and sustainable with greater positive health outcomes.

How can Praxis help?

Praxis UK can help organisations build their capacity to design and deliver every stage of a community mobilisation process. Our specially designed toolkits can be adapted to the specific needs of the project to address a wide range of health issues.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Community immersions for policy makers : What are community immersions? An immersion is a guided face-to-face encounter with poor communities to help inform policy and decision makers of poor peoples reality. After a preparation period, individuals or groups of participants live with disadvantaged communities for fixed periods of time, engaging intimately and participating in their daily lives. Following the immersion, participants reflect on lessons learnt about the experience.

How are they useful?

Immersions are much deeper and more powerful experiences than field visits. They are particularly powerful ways for policy makers and programme managers to understand the daily reality of poor and excluded groups lives. They can help decision makers better understand how their policies and actions affect those at the grass roots level and can also help re-energise decision makers.

How can Praxis help?

We will seek to understand the specific needs of the participants, before identifying a relevant community that the participants can be ‘immersed’ in. We then facilitate a dialogue where both the guests and the hosts have an opportunity to question their individual realities and the gaps lying therein. We then help facilitate a period of reflection about what the guests have learnt from the experience and how it can be incorporate into their future work.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Community-Led Local Level Planning : What is community-led local level planning? This is a process by which a community leads local level planning for sustainable development.

How is it useful?

Community-led local level planning helps to shape a future that the community wants to see, rather than one imposed upon them. This helps to bring groups and individuals in the community together to work towards a common goal which they feel they own, leading to greater sustainability.

How can Praxis help?

Praxis can facilitate an organisation to help communities generate information needed for planning and action and to design their own adaptive, self-managing and self-governing local system. People’s democratic right to work in groups, and as teams-of-teams are used as guiding principles.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Corporate Social Responsibility and Development : What is Corporate Social Responsibility and Development? Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a commitment by businesses to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.

How is it useful?

While the aims of CSR are stated above, to convert these principles into reality is a difficult task requiring genuine commitment and development expertise. If not done correctly, CSR will be seen as simply a hard-edged business decision rather than a demonstration of a genuine concern to be responsible for its actions.

How can Praxis help?

Praxis UK can help address the programmatic needs of CSR professionals at the forefront of community development initiatives in order to make those initiatives more people-centric, context-specific and sustainable.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Development Audits : What are development audits? These are audits of individual projects, processes or organisations— from the grassroots level organisations to large international NGOs. It is different from a mere financial or social audit, and encompasses a much larger process of auditing programme processes, systems and structures.

How is it useful?

Accountability and transparency are two crucial pillars of good governance practices— be it in governmental, non-governmental or corporate development practices/ projects/ processes. A development audit gives a complete picture of the good governance systems in place and suggests those that may be lacking.

How can Praxis help?

Praxis has developed a comprehensive auditing package that looks at various aspects of development in different contexts to ensure equity and inclusion in all aspects of an organisation’s work.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Facilitation : What is facilitation? Facilitation is used in a variety of group settings, including business and other NGOs to work with group processes to ensure meetings run well and achieve a high degree of consensus.

How is it useful?

Effective facilitation can help draw out the best in individuals and groups to achieve collective outcomes. It is often useful to have an external, neutral facilitator to help participants explore issues from a fresh perspective or bring about consensus on seemingly intractable issues.

How Praxis can help?

Praxis can provide both provide training in facilitation skills, as well as supply trained facilitators to assist with the professional facilitation of workshops, conferences and meetings.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Institutionalisation of participatory approaches : What is the institutionalisation of participatory approaches? Many organisations make use of participatory approaches in their project work, whilst not being participatory within their own organisation. Institutionalising participatory attitudes, behaviours, policies, procedures and systems can help address this issue and improve the functioning of organisations.

How is this useful?

An organisation with more participatory policies and procedures is not just more democratic and accountable; it is also more efficient and effective in its work.

How can Praxis help?

Praxis UK can assist your organisation to become more participatory, whilst also increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of your organisation.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Participatory assessments : What are Participatory assessments? Participatory assessmets— variously referred to as PA, PRA, PCA etc. – are processes in which people analyse, share and enhance their lives and conditions, so to improve them. Participatory assessments often lead to the development of participatory plans, action, monitoring and evaluation.

How are they useful?

Participatory appraisals actively seek ‘the unheard voice’ and enable excluded groups to gain a better understanding of their lives and conditions, and communicate these, in their own words, to other stakeholders. By involving excluded groups in their own analysis, projects can be designed in ways which are much more relevant to the expressed needs of communities— thereby increasing the effectiveness and sustainability of interventions.

How can Praxis help?

Praxis UK has a great deal of experience of facilitating participatory assessments in both rural and urban settings. We provide both training in participatory assessments, and can help you design and conduct them.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Participatory approaches to HIV and AIDS : What it means: Community participation is vital in helping to address HIV and AIDS. A range of participatory approaches have been developed to address HIV prevention, care, support and treatment at the community level. The meaningful involvement of people living with HIV at every level of decision making – from local to global – is also an issue which needs continual attention.

Why it is important: HIV/AIDS is one of the three biggest killer diseases in the world today and over 40 million people are infected with HIV. Participatory approaches enable communities to take an active and influential hand in shaping effective HIV responses, especially with marginalised groups such as PLHIV, men who have sex with men and sex workers.

How can Praxis help?

Praxis can facilitate processes of participatory assessment, planning, evaluation and implementation for organisations with programmes that revolve around HIV prevention, care, support, treatment and impact mitigation. Praxis also helps develop participatory tools to address HIV and AIDS and develop more participatory policy making procedures.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Participatory budgeting : What is participatory budgeting? PB a method of involving citizens in rural, peri-urban and urban areas in decisions about how they want to allocate their specific local budget. Citizens are engaged in participatory manner to decide spending priorities and monitor allocations to help ensure more equitable public spending.

How it is useful?

Praxis believes that participatory budgeting is an important step towards ensuring peoples direct inclusion and involvement in democratic processes. It enhances participation in local democracy whilst improving community cohesion and ensuring the delivery of cost-effective local services.

How can Praxis help?

Praxis can facilitate a process for agencies that want communities or civil society involved in budgeting, to ensure that it is not merely a consultation exercise but an embodiment of direct, deliberative democracy.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Participatory capacity assessments : What are participatory capacity assessments? Participatory capacity assessments assess the technical and institutional capacity of community based organisations, NGOs, or networks to perform a particular task. Organisations are facilitated to assess themesleves against various criteria, so to identify their organisational strengths and weaknesses, and develop capacity building plans to address them. When this is done in a participatory manner, it enables participating organisations to take ownership of their own capacity and promotes action to strengthen it.

How are they useful?

The process can help civil society organisations to build their technical and institutional capacity to better achieve their objectives. It helps the project/organisation/networks to gain a holistic understanding of its internal capacity and structure, its external relations and reach, visibility and credibility and how to improve it. From the assessments, capacity building plans can be developed. The tools used also provide baseline capacity scores for organisations to measure the impact of capacity building activities.

How can Praxis help?

Praxis can provide a organisations and networks with training and facilitation in tools and methodologies to assess, monitor and evaluate their current organisational capacity. Praxis can also hep organisations develop technical support plans to develop their capacity.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation : What is Participatory monitoring and evaluation? Participatory monitoring and evaluation (PMandE) is a methodology which includes the voices of all stakeholders in project reviews and evaluations – including the intended beneficiaries. It helps all stakeholders set joint process and impact indicators for success. From this stakeholders jointly monitor and evaluate whether the project has met the objectives which it had set out to achieve and whether the outputs and outcomes have positively affected those that they were meant for.

How is it useful?

Over the years, MandE objectives have moved from a sterile ‘result-oriented’ evaluation exercise to an empowering opportunity for both development organisations and beneficiaries to learn and do better. PMandE also allows beneficiaries to define their own criteria for success. Participatory MandE is a powerful methodology gaining wide use amongst international development agencies and research institutions around the world.

How can Praxis help?

Praxis can help facilitate and train communities and organisations in the design and implementation of PMandE processes.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Participatory Natural Resources Regeneration : What is Participatory Natural Resources Regeneration? Participatory natural resources regeneration is a process that focuses on making balanced collective decisions about a natural resource in order to ensure the sustainable livelihoods of all communities that depend on it; especially of those most marginalised and vulnerable.

How is it useful?

The process relies on the understanding of the relationship between natural resources and the eco-systems they support. In an age of environmental degradation and climate change, such understandings at the local level are critical if sustainable development and climate adaptation is to be achieved.

How can Praxis help?

Praxis can help organisations facilitate a multi-dimensional approach integrating participatory approaches, strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships and institutional collaborations, building local knowledge and technology through participatory methods, and influencing the policy-making process.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Participatory Poverty Assessments : What are Participatory Poverty Assessments? A participatory poverty assessment (PPA) is a process for including poor people’s views in the analysis of poverty, and in the design of strategies and policies to reduce it. They are usually undertaken at national or provincial level, to help inform national poverty reduction strategies. PPAs emphasize the multidimensionality of poverty and the complexity and dynamics of local coping and adapting strategies – this complements the information from other poverty related surveys.

How are they useful?

PPAs can strengthen national and local poverty assessment processes through:

  • broadening stakeholder involvement and thereby increasing general support and legitimacy for anti-poverty strategies
  • enriching the analysis and understanding of poverty by including the perspectives of the poor
  • providing a diverse range of valuable information on a cost-effective, rapid and timely basis, creating new relationships between policy-makers, service providers and people in poor communities

Testimony : Maldive PPA

“A PPA starts from the point of view of poor and very poor people, giving voice to their concerns and in this way counter-balancing the top-down approach of most policy thinking. PPA provides a good basis for innovative thinking about reducing poverty. PPAs give individuals an opportunity to break away from measures of poverty that they do not understand or identify with. “Living on less than $1 a day”, is not how a fisherman in the Maldives describes a poor person, but when he has the flexibility to define the parameter for a poor and extremely poor person as “living in a cement hut” or “living in a mud hut” or “disabled widow with no access to a boat”, he understands the scale of poverty and feels like he is part of the process.”

–Member of Praxis Maldive PPA team

How can Praxis help?

Rich experience in small, medium and large-scale participatory poverty assessments across various contexts, puts Praxis in a unique helping position for governments and organisations that would like to carry out a PPA.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Action research : What is action research? Action, or participatory action research stresses research ‘with’ rather than ‘on’ people. It is based on the idea that, all people are able to conduct inquiries into their own lives and conditions, make use of new information, and make reasonable decisions from this to base future action on, so to improve those same lives and conditions.

How is it useful?

Action research is a ‘learn by doing approach’. It can help empower people and communities affected by an issue, to explore it to a greater depth than they may previously been able to, and mobilise towards acting on that issue.

How can Praxis help?

Praxis has facilitated action research on an array of themes across various sectors like including HIV, education, rural and urban development, post emergency reconstruction and fair trade, to name a few. Since a major strength of Praxis is its ability to facilitate dialogue amongst a wide range of stakeholders, as a rule it conducts multiple stakeholder dialogues in all its initiatives so as to understand varied perspectives pertaining to an issue.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Participatory video : What is participatory video? To hand over control to a community or group and involve them in shaping and creating their own film. Participatory video has a wide range of uses.

How is it useful?

Participatory video illustrates the fact that making a video is easy, accessible, and is a great way of bringing people together to explore issues, voice concerns or simply to be creative and tell stories. It enhances research and development activities and leads to a greater ownership of projects and their outcomes. In today’s multi-media environment, participatory video is a powerful way for excluded groups to have their voices heard.

How can Praxis help?

With WeDIO - We Do It Ourselves, Praxis’ in-house participatory unit, we can help organisations plan, organise and carry out successful participatory video activities.

Further information: to find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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Training of Trainers : What it means: being an expert in a subject does not necessarily mean one is a good trainer in it. Additionally, the skills required by trainers of adults differ from those required by teachers of children. These require specific knowledge and skills which need to be learned from someone trained to train trainers. Training of adults requires skills in drawing out the knowledge, skills and experience adults already posses and applying these to a model of adult learning.

How is it useful?

The Freirean model of training adults which Praxis teaches is a response to the traditional formal models of education where the “teacher” stands at the front and “imparts” information to the “students” that are passive recipient. Instead, participants of training of trainers courses learn how to establish existing knowledge, build on it and keep it relevant. In a variety of fields, this form of training has proved more effective than more traditional forms of adult education.

How can Praxis help?

Praxis offers courses in training of trainers. The principles of participatory training can be applied to a wide range of subjects.

Further Information: To find out more about how Praxis UK can improve the quality and sustainability of your work, please contact info@praxis-uk.org

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