The Role of Reflexivity in Participatory Action Research to Empower Culturally Diverse Communities in Pakistan

Hassan Raza


This article presents a real-world application of participatory action research (PAR) for effectively working with culturally diverse communities in Pakistan, based on a two-month project conducted with seven community-based organizations (CBOs) in one of the districts of the Punjab province in Pakistan. My process of transforming from a top-down approach to a PAR approach was grounded in critical self-reflection, observation, and reciprocal interaction. This transformation process increased my ability to understand community context and appreciate local knowledge, which in turn fostered collaboration, engagement, and collective learning. Although applying the PAR approach was not without challenges, complexities, and tension, it did result in local development. Hence, this paper explores the possibilities of PAR as an alternative approach to be considered by development agencies in their work with community partners.

Keywords: reflexivity, participatory action research, culturally diverse communities, community empowerment

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