TheWorkshop 2020

Praxis Annual Commune on Participatory Practices

Let us connect the dots virtually this year (November 23 - 30)

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View organisations that have participated over the years ▼

Aga Khan Foundation
American Red Cross
Asian Development Bank (ADB
Amnesty International
Appropriate Technology Limited
ArcelorMittal India Ltd.
Association of Evaluators
Berhampur Municipal Corporation
British Red Cross
Brooke Hospital
Business and Communities Foundation
Centre For Legal Research and Resource Development
Child Voice
Christian Medical College, Vellore
Concern Worldwide
Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees (DACAAR)
Danish Red Cross
Digital Empowerment Foundation
Divya Disha
Emmanuel Health Association

Equal Community Foundation
Faizal and Shabana Foundation
French Red Cross
Government of Afghanistan
Government of Bangladesh
Groupe Developpement
Helen Keller International
Help a Child of India
Humara Bachpan Campaign
Hummingbird Foundation
Institute of Development Studies, UK
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Indo-Global Social Service Society
Indian Institute for Human Settlements
Institute of Rural Research and Development
International Justice Mission
International Resources for Fairer Trade
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Keystone Foundation
KIRAN Society
Mahila Housing SEWA Trust
Media Matters
Mount Valley Development Association
Mountain Children's Foundation
Ministry of Health and Population
National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights

Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Pardada Pardadi Educational Society
Partners in Change
Philippines Red Cross
Population Foundation of India
Pro Civil Society-Nepal
Reliance Foundation
Sahaj Foundation
Sehgal Foundation
Save The Children
Social and Resource Development
SMS Foundation
SRD Cell – Government of West Bengal
Swedish Organisation for Individual Relief (SOIR-IM)
The Ant
The Beautiful Stone Foundation
The Himalaya Trust
The Leprosy Mission
The Syrian Trust for Development
The World Bank
Times of India
Trust for Education and Social Transformation
University of Vermont, USA
WaterAid Nepal
Youth for Social Development
Zee News
365x6 Network



Top: Dharitri Patnaik, Saroj Dash, Sharmistha Sarkar, Amitava Mukherjee
Middle: Ajai Kuruvila, Josh Levene, Srijan Nandan, Shailesh Kumar Singh
Bottom: Mathew Cherian, Bijay Kumar, Somesh Kumar, Richard Ssewakiryanga


Top: Anindo Banerjee, Indu Prakash Singh, Robert Chambers, Sowmyaa Bharadwaj
Middle: Joseph M.J, Pradeep Narayanan, Sheelu Francis, Anusha Chandrasekharan
Bottom: Aruna Mohan Raj, John Gaventa, Sam Joseph, Tom Thomas


Top: Gouthami, Ajit Mani, Moulasha Kader, Nick Lunch
Middle: Kamal Kar, Barry Underwood, Upendranath, Viraf Mehta
Bottom: Rajeshwar Devarkonda, Jay Kumar Varma, Madhura Pandit, Anurag Sinha


Three most subscribed modules will be run

Development, progress and wellbeing have no meaning - neither are they sustainable - until they are shared by all. But what does it concretely mean and how can such a process be ensured? For us, in Praxis, participation in development means much more than a mechanical process realised through the application of a set of tools. It is a complex process that requires adequate facilitation skills, attitudes and readiness to unlearn previous knowledge, change oneself and the surrounding power structures. 

The aim of this module is to go beyond a mechanical understanding of participation - not just learn the basic skills and tools of participatory research, but take the next step and change the way development is perceived. The module will introduce participants to the fundamentals of participation and its role in the development sector, enumeration or participatory numbers and collective analyses of the facilitation skills and attitudes which are required to enable a participatory process. The module will also include the various tools and methodologies which currently fall within the large umbrella of PRA/PLA. The module will be experiential, and will also build upon knowledge and experiences during the times of COVID-19 pandemic, and participants will have plenty of opportunities to contextualise these tools to apply them to a wide range of fields.

Recommended profile of participants:
This module is intended for development professionals, activists, PRA/PLA beginners, researchers.

The workshop module on Community Led Action Research Initiatives shall aim at analysing a range of strategies, approaches and methods that could facilitate emergence of leadership of local communities or primary stakeholders in a sustainable process of development, through processes of participatory action research aimed at learning collectively about situations in a heuristic, continuous and multi-dimensional manner. The approach rests on a firm belief that primary stakeholders are the best anchors of transformation in their lives and empowering them to leverage their own strengths to act upon issues affecting their lives is the most pragmatic approach to sustainable development. 

Community development processes have their own challenges and complexities and facilitating a community-led pursuit of change calls for substantial preparations on the part of facilitating agencies to enable natural leadership of primary stakeholders. Learning processes in the module shall include analytical discussions on a carefully selected pool of examples of community-led action research initiatives; theoretical modeling of relevant strategic choices and dos and don'ts; online interactions with a selection of community leaders of change and problem-solving assignments for greater conceptual clarity.

Recommended profile of participants:
This module is recommended for programme functionaries of development agencies who are involved in designing or implementing interventions under the stewardship of local communities and want to sharpen their perspective and capabilities for facilitating community led approaches. Prior experience and knowledge of participatory methods and principles is desirable.

Communication approaches have evolved rapidly in the past decades and new opportunities for engaging and involving communities have opened up. At the same time, factors such as changing demographics, climate changes, diseases, pandemics, epidemics, rapid urbanisations, etc have posed new challenges and requirement for innovation in the development and communication sectors, and more so, the need to involve communities in a bottom-top approach to understand their issues and communicate them to decision makers. 

Participatory communication is not just the exchange of information, perceptions and ideas; it is also the exploration and generation of new knowledge aimed at addressing situations and advocating with relevant stakeholders. PRA/PLA methods are very inclusive and sustainable, and participatory communication methods can be even further empowering as they provide communities to take action on their own concerns, by strengthening their understanding, engaging and motivating the wider community in order to communicate their message and perspectives to decision makers and the public.
Participatory Communication is more than just about collaboration. In this module, the participants will learn how it enables people to take action to solve their own problems, or to communicate their needs and ideas to community members, decision-makers or public at large. It provides a powerful way for people to explore their situation from different dimensions, reflect on their experiences together, plan way forward based on the knowledge that emerges and engage and mobilise marginalised people.
The module will focus on theoretical and practical aspects of participatory communication, including various tools such as Participatory Digital Story Telling, grassroots comics, drama and participatory videos.
Through the module, participants will be able to understand:
1. Key theories around communication, behaviour and social change
2. Politics of participatory communication
3. Identify and create effective participatory communication tools

Recommended profile of participants
This module is recommended for all development professions to grassroots civil society organisations, Communication for Development (C4D) practitioners, students and others with interest in or responsibility for design and implementation of programmes and communication initiatives.

In recent years, it has become more and more evident that meaningfully monitoring and evaluating a project is as critical as planning and implementing it. A significant shift has also occurred in terms of M&E objectives, moving from a sterile "result-oriented" evaluation exercise to an empowering opportunity to learn and do better. Now, the next challenge is to understand who the key players are in this process and ensure their inclusion. In other words, as Robert Chambers and other practitioners already questioned, "whose reality counts?" And further, "who count reality?” 

Participatory monitoring and evaluation (PME) is not an end in itself, but a way forward. It is a process of self assessment, collective knowledge generation and cooperative action in which all stakeholders, including communities, together identify issues and indicators, collect and analyse data and take action based on what comes out of this process. The objective of this module is to explore and discuss effective ways of enabling communities and primary stakeholders of any development process to have a decisive influence over the objectives, processes, policies and outcomes of transformations aspired by them. In the current context, too, understanding how various development programmes aimed at supporting marginalised communities during or post COVID will pace up, and finding the right path and balance between what has and what ought to be will be very crucial.
For this module, the discussions will be accompanied by the vast field of experience sharing that Praxis holds in the field of participatory M&E to help stakeholders not only get feedback on a process, but also play a decisive and inclusive role in achieving a larger outcome. The sessions will focus on the use of social equity auditing tools along with other participatory planning, monitoring and evaluation tools.

Recommended profile of participants:
This module is recommended for all professionals who aspire to acquire/improve their knowledge and skills in the field of PME. Special emphasis is put on the participatory approach, hence being familiar with PRA/PLA principles and techniques may be an advantage.

As the COVID-19 pandemic took over the world, it were the most vulnerable and marginalised communities who bore the brunt in the form of job losses, pay reductions, non-payment of wages, etc, and as the world slowly started reopening we witnessed cases of negligence by companies leading to many disasters and loss of lives of their workers as well as local communities surrounding their business operations. In this context, understanding how to view issues from a rights-based perspective and acknowledging responsibilities of businesses towards mainstreaming human rights in their operations is of utmost importance.

Globally, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) act as an instrument for preventing and assessing human rights risks posed by business enterprises. In the Indian context, the National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC), especially Principle 5, also stresses the duty of businesses to respect and promote human rights by regulating operations that puts human rights at-risk. There is a pressing need for human rights due diligence by companies not only in their core operations, but upto the very last tier of their value and supply chains.

The absence of transparent and accountable relationships between the state, businesses, civil society oragnisations and the public at large is a major cause of the many violations companies are able to get away with. Till the time there are functioning due-diligence processes in place, and till local communities that are most affected by business operations are not involved in these due-diligence processes, the picture is likely to remain grim. This module will guide the participants to evolve and implement a due-diligence framework, informed by voices of the marginalised communities, and develop key non-negotiable principles while engaging with businesses while partnering, taking funds, etc.

The module aims to build the framework through primary and secondary sources to help participants understand:
• How to analyse publicly available information about businesses, such as Business Responsibility Reports, Annual Reports, and Sustainability Reports
• How to frame, evolve and implement non-negotiables to define engagement
• How to reach out for primary information from affected communities in a systematic way to represent their voices

Recommended profile of participants:
This module is meant for everyone ranging from Development Professional to Academician, Social Researchers to Management Associations. 

The workshop module on Advocacy and Public Accountability shall aim at exploring strategies, approaches and methods that empower communities, citizens and their associations to raise issues of public interest before key blocks of power within the state, society and communities, including policy makers, public authorities and other key actors, and hold them to account for their actions and decisions. Listening to diverse voices of people in a continuous way and accounting for the rationality of public policies, executive decisions and actions are crucial prerequisites of democratic governance, more so in situations of hardship and vulnerability caused by pandemics such as CoViD-19, and mechanisms are needed on the demand side as well as supply side for serving as facilitative conduits of responsive governance and public accountability.

Discussions in the module shall prepare participants to design, implement and institutionalise initiatives for advocacy and public accountability, and sharpen their perspective and understanding regarding relative strengths of varying approaches to advocacy and public accountability. It will include analytical discussions on a carefully selected pool of examples of public accountability and advocacy initiatives; theoretical modeling of relevant strategic choices and dos and don'ts; online interactions with a selection of advocacy practitioners and problem-solving assignments for greater conceptual clarity. The Module shall also familiarise participants with suitable participatory methods and approaches for generating data for evidence based advocacy.

Recommended profile of participants:
This module is recommended for policymakers, programme planners and managers from development agencies - governmental, non-governmental and corporate, besides educators and social activists who are involved in designing or implementing advocacy and accountability initiatives under the stewardship of groups of primary stakeholders and want to sharpen their perspective and capabilities for facilitating such approaches. Prior experience and knowledge of participatory methods and principles is desirable.


This is a fully self-financed course and the funds generated are used to cover the expenses related to the course. It has been possible for us to run this workshop for the past 22 years without depending on any grants only because of this model of self financing. Thank you for your solidarity.

Resident Indians

  • ₹ 9,000

  • Covers course expenses, materials, logistical expenses, etc.

  • This entitles you to be enrolled into the growing alumni network (over 1700 from across 47 countries).

  • Praxis is also committed to continued support even after the course and we encourage you to stay in touch after the workshop.

Foreign Participants

  • Euro 250

  • A higher rate is charged from foreign participants in line with international course fees.

  • The additional funds mobilised this way is utilised to cross subsidise the course as well as provide scholarships to those who really need it.

Discounted Fees

  • One free seat for every 10 paid seats from an organisation or 50% less for 6th person.

  • Madhura Pandit Scholarship of 100% waiver for deserving candidates

  • Create a one minute promo video and the winner gets one free seat (transferable) 

Praxis offers a regular scholarship called Madhura Pandit Scholarship. Eligibility criteria for people applying for Madhura Pandit Scholarship: Indian national, Belonging to Dalit/Muslim/Tribal /Denotified and Nomadic community, Working at grass-roots level in rural/urban areas in a social development related sector. If you think your case particularly deserves one, please write to us at with the following:
1. A copy of your updated CV with references
2. A reference letter from your organisation
3. A brief write-up (maximum 2 pages) on how this workshop would concretely benefit your work and a corresponding work plan.

(cc) Praxis-Institute for Participatory Practices 2020