Participatory Research in Asia

Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) is ‘an international centre for learning and promotion of participation and democratic governance.’[1] Since its establishment in 1982, PRIA’s focus has been on knowledge co-creation and participatory research, as well as citizen-centric development and capacity building at the grassroots level.

PRIA’s contribution to alternative knowledge production is informed by its commitment to a critical-liberal vision of a deep, inclusive and participatory democracy that incorporates gender justice and balancing the social and economic. Its work centres on four key areas: (1) Violence Against Women; (2) Urban Poverty and Governance; (3) Decentralized Governance, Planning and Deliver of Basic Services, and; (4) Changing Roles, New Challenges and Capacities of Civil Society.

By placing knowledge at the centre of its project and seeing the amplification of marginalized voices as an indispensable condition for deep, participatory democracy, PRIA has been a world leader in developing practices that unify knowledge production with empowerment and social change. In this light, its knowledge-producing practices focus on participatory methodologies and knowledge co-creation and it has developed a series of initiatives in participatory development, education, community based research, gender empowerment, organizational development, self-governance and inclusion, which are available to practitioners worldwide.[2]

While its strategy for change focuses on mobilizing and empowering at the grassroots, it also seeks to create intermediary, dialogical spaces that connect the grassroots and civil society with institutional power. By assembling and enabling such conversations, the aim is that this can lead to new initiatives, program redesigns and greater accountability on the part of the state and private sector. Although PRIA’s offices and activities have maintained a strong focus on the Indian subcontinent, its initiatives span to include many sites throughout Asia and through its online presence its constituency is comprised of a host of advocates of democratic governance, grassroots activists, CSOs and policy-makers in India, Asia and globally.


PRIA Website


[1], accessed on 3 February 2015

[2] The portal is located at, accessed on 2 February 2015