Participatory approaches

Decentralisation of budgeting process

This literature review examines evidence about the impact of public financial management (PFM) interventions in the field of decentralisation of budgeting. It asks: What is the effectiveness of devolved budgeting models in relation to the efficiency of PFM systems, service delivery, budget allocation, citizen involvement, accountability and anti-corruption?  What factors ...» more

Balancing inclusiveness, rigour and feasibility: Insights from participatory impact evaluations in Ghana and Vietnam

Adinda Van Hemelrijck and Irene Guijt

How can we ensure that impact evaluation of complex programmes is rigorous and inclusive, and triggers reflection and learning about contributions, while also remaining feasible? This paper reflects on piloting a Participatory Impact Assessment and Learning Approach (PIALA) to assess the impacts of two pilot government livelihood programmes. It explores trade-offs in rigour, ...» more

Participatory methods for community consultation

This annotated bibliography identifies literature about specific participatory methods and tools for community consultation. Key findings Some donors have used particular participatory methodologies to inform country level strategy – such as Participatory Poverty Assessments by the World Bank and a donor staff immersion approach by the Swiss Agency for Development and ...» more

Measuring results


How can the impact of governance and social development programmes be assessed with a view to improving their efficiency and effectiveness? What particular challenges are involved in monitoring and evaluating development interventions, and how can these be addressed? How can the ‘value for money’ of a particular intervention be determined? Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) ...» more

Use of participatory methods in VAWG evaluations

In spite of the growing body of evidence that violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a serious human rights and development issue, there remains a paucity of evaluations of the impact of interventions in this area (particularly the impact on girls). The majority of evaluations of programmes to prevent or tackle VAWG take the form of qualitative, input or process-level ...» more

Participatory M&E and Beneficiary Feedback

A number of key lessons emerge from the literature on participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) and beneficiary feedback: PM&E and beneficiary feedback approaches can improve effectiveness and sustainability and reduce the costs of monitoring, but these approaches also carry risks. These include generating unrepresentative results and increasing tensions ...» more

Delivering Services in Multicultural Societies

Alexandre Marc

How can service delivery policies be designed and implemented so as to recognise and support cultural diversity? This book finds that long-term investment and strategies are needed. Basic principles include the importance of bottom-up and participatory approaches, deep institutional change, and ongoing policy adaptation. Poorly planned and under-resourced interventions can ...» more

Community Participation in Disaster Rehabilitation and Recovery

Much of the literature on participation in emergencies focuses on the role of community engagement in disaster preparedness. However, the literature that does address participatory approaches in disaster-affected contexts highlights the advantages, which include better analysis, effective programming and implementation, and increased accountability. In addition, such ...» more

Who Counts? The Quiet Revolution of Participation and Numbers

Robert Chambers

How do participatory approaches generate numbers? A range of participatory methods have been developed, many visual and tangible, by which local people themselves produce numbers. This Institute for Development Studies (IDS) paper provides an overview of the field, building a case for more widespread use of participatory numbers in development practice and research. It argues ...» more

Listening for Change: Participatory Evaluations of DDR and Arms Reduction in Mali, Cambodia and Albania

Robert Muggah

Development planners regularly use participatory approaches in the design, implementation and evaluation of their projects. Disarmament specialists, however, have tended to underestimate the potential importance of participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) to disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) and arms reduction. This report from the United Nation ...» more

From Exchanging Weapons for Development to Security Sector Reform in Albania: Gaps and Grey Areas in Weapon Collection Programmes Assessed by Local People

Geofrey Mugumya

How can local communities be better integrated into weapon collection programmes? This report from the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) presents findings from a study of weapon collection programmes in Albania. The findings indicate that there is a clear need for participatory approaches in weapon collection and weapons for development (WfD) ...» more

Strengthening Participatory Approaches to Local Governance: Learning the Lessons from Abroad

J Gaventa

What mechanisms exist to enable citizens’ participation in local government? What strategies could strengthen participatory governance? This paper from the National Civic Review surveys approaches to citizen engagement worldwide and examines the institutional, legal and political elements necessary to promote participatory governance. Greater citizen engagement can address ...» more

Donor Participatory Governance Evaluation: Initial Trends, Implications, Opportunities, Constraints

I Kapoor

What are current trends in participatory approaches to governance evaluation (GE)? How do political, institutional and methodological issues impact? Which questions have donors failed to address? This article, from the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, Canada, appears in the Journal of International Development and is an updated version of the 1999 article, ...» more