Selection of development agenda with the community by the generation of a shared understanding

Vijay Honkalaskar, Milind Sohoni, Upendra Bhandarkar


This article attempts to address the problem of generating a common understanding of the multidimensional aspects of a community across its diverse social groups required for setting a development agenda, by carrying out a Participatory Action Research exercise in the tribal village Gawandwadi—population 293. The proposed process ensures involvement and empowerment of the local people and reduces the influence of the existing social stratification in the community—mainly gender based stratification is discussed in the article. It emphasizes four key components: (a) understanding the contextual community level decision making process, (b) participatory study of the multifarious quantitative aspects of a community, (c) identification of the differential qualitative aspects—such as needs, desires, and feelings—borne by multiple groups—based on gender, class, and caste—across the community, and (d) arriving at a shared appreciation of rationales for these differences. The process reduces possible conflicts incurred due to the lack of ownership of the development goal within the community.

Keywords: gender and decision making; development agenda; community based participatory research; empowerment; needs assessment; India

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.