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Mainstreaming the Right to Food into sub-national plans and strategies

Improving the process of district development planning? True and meaningful participation

Participation is a process characterized by recognition of multiple voices that must be invited to the negotiation table, making space for disagreement, experimentation and learning in order to create or enhance policy networks or communities. In relation to participation in decentralized planning, the PRSP 2008-12 includes the following as a strategic direction: “Opening up the national democratic process by facilitating inclusion and participation of citizens in national governance”.

Participation has different levels, ranging from passive compliance to collective action, as presented in this simple typology taken from FAO’s Livelihood Support Programme:


What it means

1. Compliance

This project is coming to your area.

2. Consultation

We have a plan and do you agree with it?

3. Cooperation

We have a plan; do you want to be part of it?

4. Co-learning

We have a problem and figure out together how to solve it.

5. Collective action

You have a plan; can we help

When conditions exist that enable individuals to participate and get involved, FAO suggest a gradient of eight dimensions of citizen involvement, starting with the least engaged and ending with the most significant.

  • Claims making
  • Knowledge acquisition
  • Spanning and bridging
  • Convening and deliberating
  • Community capacity building
  • Analysis and synthesis
  • Transparency and feedback