Formed in 1996, the Participatory Development (PD) Forum/Forum sur le développement participatif (DP) is an international network of development practitioners, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academics/action researchers, private sector representatives, and policy makers interested in advancing reflection and practice in the area of participatory development (PD). PD Forum offers international conferences and an interactive website in an effort to deepen the development community's understanding of participation, strengthen North-South and South-South dialogue, and provoke work to make participation more meaningful and more effective in promoting social justice.
Communication Strategies: 

PD Forum draws on networking and advocacy - using in-person exchanges and information and communication technologies (ICTs) - to:

  • share field experiences of participatory methods among practitioners, policymakers, and academics working in this area
  • encourage the adoption of alternative approaches to mainstream development
  • develop understanding of and capacity in PD
  • exchange information about PD initiatives (e.g., conferences, publications, training in participatory methodologies)
  • enhance the participation of members through virtual networking

International conferences, such as the August 2005 "Participating to Create a Different World: Shaping Our Own Future" event, are designed to bring together participants from many countries to explore the latest approaches to PD, share skills and experiences of participatory practices, and discuss participatory topics ranging from grassroots movements to natural resource management. In September 2008, organisers held the First Annual Graduate Student Conference "Participation for Social Change: Critical Dialogues on Local and Global Possibilities". The goal was to engage students and youth in fostering proactive global citizenship by linking local actions globally for social change by showcasing high-quality graduate student research on participation issues through presentation and publication and by facilitating networking among local practitioners and students from different faculties.

In addition to face-to-face exchanges, PD Forum draws on ICTs, such as its interactive website (in English and French), to foster online discussion and networking (through various forums and a listserv) and to invite participation and share information through its thematic quarterly e-newsletter, reports, and Virtual Resource Centre (VRC), which includes articles, papers, book reviews, and resources for development practitioners, action researchers, project officers, programme managers, policy makers, and all who are interested in PD.

Development Issues: 


Key Points: 

PD Forum's philosophy of participation advocates for people's capacity and right to define and control their own development, in order to achieve social justice and equality. Core principles driving PD Forum's work also include building long-term interest in PD across cultures and between generations, particularly with younger development practitioners. The network works to promote transparency through the sharing of ideas and experiences, and embraces PD as a philosophy and a transformative process rather than as a set of methods or tools. Individual and collective ownership of activities is encouraged.


PD Forum website on September 22 2006 and December 2 2009.