Poverty alleviation programmes have become more or less the dominant characteristic of contemporary development strategies. The soaring poverty level rural societies are living under is causing the deaths of millions each year. For over two decades international as well as national organisations have been trying to address the overwhelming problem of poverty, unfortunately through top-down development strategies with no real sustainable effect. Democratizing the process of development has been the new philosophy in project development strategies. A participatory development strategy is the new form of development programmes where projects are based on local participation with the provision of external stakeholders paving the way for sustainable development. This change in the structure of development programmes to grass roots organization rather than top-down was the outcome of trying to find a new sustainable solution whilst giving the beneficiaries a pivotal role in their development process. Participatory development strategies can be defined as generating and applying new knowledge to increase welfare and eradicate poverty whilst giving the chance to beneficiaries to define their own future. Save the children have stated that if development is the expansion of people’s awareness and ability to predict and control their environment, then a high degree of local participation is a necessary precondition of its success.
Recent statistics show that poverty has increased dramatically over the past two decades, despite of the change in the structure or development programmes.
I this article we will discuss and analyse participatory development strategies, and to what extent has this change in structure affected the livelihood of the poor rural societies.
Participation is about agreed outcomes and accountability, about negotiating and developing a common understanding. It leads to empowerment to the people most affected, and implies...