Praxis has emerged as an independent 'one-stop centre' for undertaking participatory action research, training and advocacy work pertaining to various facets of development projects. Our work vindicates the growing mandate across the geographical boundaries that for development to be sustainable and equitable, there is an urgent need to ensure good governance practices and process.
Keeping this belief at the forefront, Praxis is currently involved with a number of projects dealing with various thematic areas:
Immersive capacity building on child participation in urban planning
The participation of children in decision-making processes makes them partners in the city’s governance system. Praxis has facilitated an immersive capacity building for planners and urban development functionaries as a step to ensure child participation does not become merely another step in the planning and decision-making process but a practice informing all levels of the process. For details, write to email@example.com
In light of the global trend of increasing urbanisation, cities need to emerge as spaces that cater to and nurture the varied needs and aspirations of the diverse categories and groups of people living in them – men, women, children, disabled and high and low income groups among others. However, in reality, primary and secondary data reveal that cities lend themselves as spaces of exclusion especially for the urban poor and particularly women and children.
Children living in cities are exposed to different spaces in their childhood - home, playground, streets, bye-lanes, schools, ICDS centres, parks, bus and railway stations, markets, residential homes and many more. The quality and environment of spaces play a crucial role as it determines the level of participation in and interaction with the space. Unique needs of children such as railings for staircases, easy to reach taps and switches, compound walls around the school, toilets that are not in secluded areas and grass in playground become some of the participation and use determinants.
Processes of developing City Development Plans (CDPs) and Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) – documents expected to be evolved for most urban planning and renewal schemes - and their monitoring are important spaces where community participation needs to be institutionalised, especially the participation of children. This is particularly important as urban planning continues to assume that what is good for adult males is good for children, women, elderly and the disabled and that they have similar needs and aspirations. Given this, urban planning and development should adopt the use of participatory processes to include the voices of children in the design and planning of structures in a meaningful way.
Our experience with Berhampur Municipality Corporation as well as our interactions with children from other locations and the National Consultation on Inclusion of Child-Friendly Components in Urban Renewal Schemes and Policies and Developing Child-Impact Indicators organised in Delhi in June 2014 indicates that child participation in planning processes is not only useful but also feasible. Also, children are able to articulate their concerns and voice their aspirations for themselves and the wider community and contribute to urban planning and governance in an informed manner. Children are not only likely to make decisions and help with planning but are likely to be more creative than adults and provide unique design and planning solutions.
The investment towards the process of involving children can be feasible especially because of the manifold returns in terms of richness of data and most importantly inclusiveness. For such inclusive urban planning and development, time, skills and commitment are essential. What is required is a set of skills that are not difficult to learn and can be easily integrated to help facilitate interactions with children to elicit nuanced inputs from them.
The Immersive Capacity Building
In this context, Praxis facilitated the first in the series of a three-day process aimed at collective learning to develop skills on such methods and processes that would help engage with children with respect and in ensuring that the process is not tokenistic. This was visualised as residential workshop that will bring together development workers, policy makers and urban planning and development related officials to share and grow in the field of participatory development. It would provide a theoretical understanding of participatory approaches/ tools as well as the opportunity to apply them in the field. This would be a forum to also share expertise on and challenges faced in child participation.
We are consolidating all learnings to evolve an interactive manual on Participatory creation of urban safe spaces for children, which will also be shared with the participants. The manual is an evolving/working document that will also incorporate learnings from the interactions during the immersive capacity building workshop.
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To view the report of the first Immersive Capacity Building organised by Praxis in Chennai in December 2014, click here.
Voice for Change: Creating an inclusive development agenda in the Post-2015 context
There is a growing interest among global civil society and state actors on how to decide what should replace the Millennium Development Goals after 2015. The United Nations announced a 27-member High-level Panel to advise on the post-2015 global development framework. At the same time, organisations across the world have been reaching out to poor and marginalised people to make their voices heard before the policies determining their fate are framed.
To contribute to this process, Praxis initiated the Voice for Change Initiative.
Through participatory videos, digital story-telling and action research, Praxis has integrated voices of excluded and marginalised communities on their aspirations for an equitable world in the post-2015 development framework. The initiative, called the Voice For Change, aims at creating spaces for direct interactions between marginalised groups and policy-makers and those who effect change, as well as similar communities across the world. You can read in detail about the Voice For Change initiative here.
Participatory Video Processes with Marginalised communities
Praxis has facilitated participatory video processes with members of several marginalised communities across the country to feed into the post-2015 development debates. The films can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/user/PraxisIndia. Read more about the Voice for Change initiative of Praxis
The Millennium Development Goals have a deadline that ends in 2015. Voices across the globe have been coming together to influence a post-2015 development framework that is more inclusive in its outlook and empowering in its possibilities.
Keeping this in mind, Praxis has organised a series of participatory video processes with sexual minorities and city makers in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and city-makers in Delhi. The participants not only debated on what they had gained in the eight goals that expire in 2015, but also came up with some views they felt must be incorporated in the post-2015 framework. Together, the process focused on how life should change for marginalised communities by 2025.
Alongside, the participants learned to handle a camera, learned the art and craft of film making and donned multiple roles as camera person, sound person, floor manager, director and editor to plan and shoot a film that conveyed their goals and dreams in the post-2015 framework.
The six-day process included brainstorming about issues central to marginalised communities, the way exclusion plays out in daily life through stereo-typing and direct as well as indirect forms of discrimination, analysis of the causes for the same and possible solutions to make the world more inclusive. The discussions were carried out using the medium of participatory video to help bring participants together. This was followed by a story-boarding process, which was then executed by the participants to make a film that they own completely – in terms of content, context and product.
The films can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/user/PraxisIndia.
Resources & Publications
Voice For Change
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