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Rukia Pazi

School of Public Administration and Management, Mzumbe University, Tanzania


There has been a growing and persisting demand towards auspicating more integrated approaches that will catapult participation of multiple actors in social and economic activities. Such impulsion accelerated the adoption of various participatory approaches which endeavor at attaining cohesion in decision making and equity in enjoying social and economic services. The use of participatory approach is also seen in policy making where the focus has changed to bottom-up approach to provide more opportunities to multiple actors from the lower level to be involved in policy making. Since the adaption of participatory approaches its triumphs have been reported to be poor. It is due to the fact that, participatory approaches involve various actors who acquire power from different sources which makes it difficult to prevent power asymmetries. Given that situation, the important to ask: can participatory approaches work in a situation of high power inequalities? The paper aims at unveiling the impact of power on participatory approaches drawing examples from Tanzania Participatory planning approach commonly known as Opportunity and Obstacles to Development (O &OD). The paper employs secondary data from various documents. It ends by concluding that variations of power are critical issue compromising the effective implementation of participatory approaches in the community.

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