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From: Participatory learning and action – Footsteps 29

How to ensure everyone has the opportunity to contribute to local decisions

Each of us is special to God.

Many people feel they are failures. They may have failed to progress with their education; they may struggle to maintain their families; they may lack confidence because they lack outside knowledge. When others ask for their opinions, they may feel they have nothing to share. This lack of confidence in people is something which goes against biblical teaching.

Read Matthew 10:29-30 and Psalm 139:13- 16. Here we see just how much value God gives to each one of us. None of us are worthless in God’s sight. To him we are all special and valued.

Read Luke 15:1-2. Jesus was willing to mix with all kinds of people – no matter what others thought of them. This shows God’s willingness to accept all people and our equal status before God. Jesus only condemned people if they claimed to be better than their neighbours (Luke 18:9-14).

In our work with people and communities we need to work with the poor and oppressed – not for them. We need to value each person and help them to feel more positively about themselves. We need to develop skills in listening and understanding. PLA exercises provide a useful tool to help people share their knowledge – but they will only work well when people believe that their experience and knowledge will be valued by those introducing the exercises.

by Isabel Carter

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Cover of Footsteps 112: Communicable diseases

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