Promoting genuine community participation and empowerment: Participation is an essential component of successful and lasting development. The key to participatory development lies in enlarging the capacity of local people to realize their own development needs and actively manage and perform development activities for themselves. Building local people’s confidence, capabilities, skills and ability to tackle challenges is essential for development programmes to achieve the goals of reducing poverty and improving living standards.
Inclusion of the most vulnerable: Full participation in a society can be only achieved if all the people in a community are getting together including most vulnerable groups such as poor households, women, people with disabilities, and marginalized ethnic minority groups. Even the most vulnerable groups possess skills, knowledge, resources and capacities valuable to improve community well-being. These assets are often overlooked and underutilised and, in some cases, even undermined by external actors. It is therefore crucial that most vulnerable groups are actively involved in the identification and analysis of the situation they are facing, and participate directly in the planning, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of community development activities.
Child participation: In many cultures children are undervalued. Often they want to participate in the development of their community but are not allowed to by adults. This may be due to cultural and social perceptions of children as lacking skills and being unable to express their thoughts. I strongly believe that child participation can provide the roots for sustainable development if space is created for boys and girls to express their thoughts and views in a child-friendly and age appropriate manner.
"All great people have been children first"
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944)