Poverty alleviation and sustained social change cannot be achieved without the participation of people. People’s participation, especially that of the underprivileged sections continues to be elusive, temporary or ad hoc in many development efforts. Participatory Development implies a process of enabling and empowerment of local population rather than providing doses of goods and services. This process builds on a shift in the perspective of the development professional itself. It connects to values that promote dignity, self help and enabling of local skills. It needs new assumptions, approaches and strategies.
Widespread promotion of the process requires a huge cadre of well-trained development professionals and workers with clarity of vision, methods, skills and attitudes that lead to enabling and empowerment of people. Conventional educational programmes on social work focus more on knowledge and less on skills and attitudes required for multi-dimensional intervention needed for facilitating participation. Besides, many programs are often inaccessible to local, educated rural youths who possess the passion and capacity to become development facilitators, but who lack the requisite skills and training.
This course intends to fill this gap by offering an inter-disciplinary, field-based and values-driven educational program to educate young and middle aged aspirants in the Northern India region in participatory rural development.