Hughes, A., Eyben, R., Wheeler, J., Scott-Villiers, P.
This is a report of a workshop held at the Institute of Development Studies between 17-20 November 2003. Rather than seeking to capture everything presented by resource persons and discussed by participants, it highlights some of the key issues that emerged from the workshop. It especially focuses on the concerns raised by participants with respect to the application of theory to practice by international development agencies. These relate to how we variously interpret rights and citizenship and the implications of the meaning we give these concepts for our practice. Implementing rights-based approaches through the lens of power is still a relatively new idea and requires some serious analytical work. It also requires appreciating power as experience as well as theory, including the emotions felt in situations of powerlessness. Development organisations are themselves powerful political actors who without sufficient reflection may undermine the very rights that they are working to help poor people realise. Because each organisation varies in its mandate and comparative advantage there is no standard cook book for responding to these challenges. Participants shared their experiences so as to identify the different short term and longer term strategies that may be appropriate, depending on the context of their work.