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President's Message

 Dear Visitor

Welcome to the PRIA website. Browsing the pages of our website will give you the chance to understand how PRIA works to change our world through building knowledge, raising voice and making democracy work for all. You are invited to learn about PRIA’s work and contribute towards addressing governance deficits wherever you are based.

PRIA’s underlying philosophy for taking forward all its work is: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. It is only when citizens are informed and empowered that they participate in the process of deepening democracy with tolerance towards its large numbers and diversity. PRIA facilitates this empowerment, particularly of marginalised communities and women, aiming to create a desirable world based on the values of equity, justice, freedom, peace and solidarity. Citizens' rights and responsibilities are nurtured through a balance between authority and accountability. Harmony between economic and social development is sought in an eco-friendly manner where local priorities are not sacrificed to global demands. Individual freedom and autonomy is sustained with collective solidarity.

Empowerment occurs through collectivisation and learning. Collectivisation of the excluded is about mobilising demand and organising for common interests and goals. Learning by the excluded helps them articulate their voice, use their own knowledge, appropriate external knowledge, and engage with other institutions and duty-bearers to claim their rights and create options, solutions and innovations which keeps them at the centre. PRIA also works with the supply-side of services, justice, governance and democracy by engaging with local, sub-national, national and international duty-bearers, institutions and actors for policy advocacy.

It was largely in the 21st century, at the dawn of the new millennium, that PRIA began focusing its programming on governance. In 1999, PRIA had produced a pan-Commonwealth report on ‘Citizens & Governance’ which contained the seeds of this programmatic thrust. While much of the emerging discourse was on ‘good governance’, PRIA emphasised ‘democratic governance’, which it demonstrated in its field programmes and interventions. PRIA articulated governance where people matter on t he occasion of its 20th anniversary in early 2002. Reforming governance institutions to deliver their mandates and services to citizens, and building capacities of elected representatives to work for the people has been a major focus with panchayats over these years. As structural constraints to women’s participation became obvious, how gender matters in participation, civil society and governance gained centrality in PRIA’s programmes. In 2005, PRIA established its distance learning division, PRIA International Academy, which focuses on education for participatory democracy by facilitating learning by citizens and institutions through a variety of online and offline methods. By the time PRIA turned 30 (in 2012), it became clear that making democracy work for all was critical to sustaining public support for democratic governance. PRIA began to demonstrate that if government programmes were going to result in access to basic services by the poor and marginalised, it required sustained engagements with the ‘supply’ side of services. Building capacities of public agencies responsible for delivering education, health, water, sanitation, security and planning became an integral part of all our programmes.

PRIA applies its change theory – of simultaneous DEMAND by citizens and SUPPLY of citizens’ needs by governance agencies  – to address governance deficits in all thematic and sectoral areas of work such as health, education, water and sanitation, urban governance, decentralised planning, etc.

PRIA successfully deploys its considerable expertise and huge networks of partners around the world to realise its vision – of a world based on values of equity, justice, freedom, peace and solidarity – through:

• Building and mobilising knowledge, (as a basis for)
• Learning and raising voice  (in order to)
• Making democracy work for all citizens


Rajesh Tandon


  • I am an example of the Kishori Panchayat Programme which gave young girls the desire to do something, a reason to embrace life

    Kishori Panchayat Member
  • PRIA works for educating voters and making them conscious of discharging their duties as responsible citizens

    Dr Sushil Trivedi, IAS (Retd.)
    Former State Election Commissioner
  • PRIA has been able to provide voice to the Dalits and has generated awareness among them to demand their rights

    Vidyanand Vikal, Chairperson
    Commission for Scheduled Castes
    Government of Bihar
  • We learnt multi-stakeholder dialogue as a tool for advocacy from PRIA…it is a wonderful tool for organising people

    Ashok Kadam
  • The partnership between University of Victoria, a Northern university, and PRIA, a Southern institution, enables us to make some real contributions to building capacities in the global South

    Prof. Budd Hall, Co-Chair
    UNESCO Chair for Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education
    University of Victoria, Canada
  • PRIA has helped to build a large movement for citizens to use Panchayati Raj Institutions at the local level, to use their leadership, their voice, to bring about democracy from below

    Dr John Gaventa, Director of Research
    Institute of Development Studies
    Sussex, UK
  • I have thoroughly enjoyed the privilege of being able to enroll myself in the course…this program has opened my eyes to possibilities for my life which were previously unconsidered

    Tripti Vinita Pal, Alumnus
    Appreciation course
  • Participatory Approaches for Social Inclusion course was undoubtedly beneficial for my research work, providing a deep understanding of theoretical aspects and the applied side of participation

    Pallavi Mishra
    PhD Research Scholar
    Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • I am a third party facilitator for three large institutions but I did not know half the things we have discussed in the Third Party Facilitator Training I attended organized by PRIA

    Joint Secretary of Lakshmi, an NGO
  • Thank you PRIA -- for helping me gain the confidence to speak up. Today, I do not hesitate to speak with the sarpanch.

    Renu Joshi
    ASHA worker
    Hinglaz gali Anganwadi Centre, Siwana Block, Barmer, Rajasthan
  • A delegation of elected members and officials from the Northern Province of Sri Lanka was exposed to PRIAâ??s exemplary work in developing citizen participation in governance and service deliver

    Prof. R. Sudarshan
    Dean, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy
    O.P. Jindal Global University

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