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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


  • PRIA facilitators listen, engage and explain at the level where participants understand and learn through many practical exercises. The best workshop on gender that our employees have attended

    Tsering Youdon
    Program Officer, Swedish Organisation for Individual Relief
    SOIR-IM, Dehradun, Uttarakhand
  • Elected members & officials from Northern Province, Sri Lanka visited PRIA to learn about their exemplary work in developing citizen participation in governance and service delivery. JGU thanks PRIA.

    Prof. R. Sudarshan
    Dean, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy
    O.P. Jindal Global University
  • Undeniably good work done by PRIA. My visits to the communities they work with let me hear grassroots voices and stories...deeply rewarding for my personal growth, work and future research

    Loreen Regnander
    Intern, 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • We learnt multi-stakeholder dialogue as a tool for advocacy from PRIA…it is a wonderful tool for organising people

    Ashok Kadam
  • 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

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