Robert Chambers, is a preeminent promoter of participatory approaches to development.
In his seminal work “Rural Development: Putting the Last First” he set out his view that if these approaches are to be truly participatory and sustainable, then development practitioners must be ‘self‐aware’ and alert to the inherent knowledge and capacities of those living in poverty or suffering some form of injustice. He set this view out way back in 1983.
Almost 30 years later, in his keynote to the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) conference in Canberra on 28 November 2012, titled “Participation for Development: Why is this a good time to be alive?”, Chambers is optimistic about opportunities for Development Practitioners to make Change for the Better. Chambers states 4 realities and potentials reasons for this optimism, and goes onto suggest that ‘reversals’, ‘reflexivity’ and ‘realism’ are particularly relevant in order to understand those reasons.
The link to his keynote address can be found at:
In your essay:
demonstrate your understanding of Chambers’ reasons for optimism, critically examine what this means for the Development Practitioner being particularly mindful of the attention this course gives to the Development Practitioner as Participant and Learner in Development, and then,
NOTE: Chambers quotes Ghandi with “we must become the change we wish to see in the world”.
Critically explore the challenges and opportunities you see for the Development Practitioner, to be the change that they want to be, in light of Chambers’ claims.
To complete this essay you will need to draw on the material and discussions we’ve had through the semester, including the various debates about participation in development, the role of the practitioner, and context. You will inevitably need to read more widely, this is where the shared Critical Annotated Bibliographies as well as your library and internet search skills become crucial.