Chapter Four presents evidence of participation from empirical work in Bangladesh. This chapter discusses in great detail how the idea of participation has been used as a glossy cover to justify a foreign framework. In doing so, this chapter first looks at the claim that there was ‘enough’ participation in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) of Bangladesh. This is then followed up by the arguments made by critics who refute such a claim. It asks why participation from ‘all relevant stakeholders’ was needed and how it was exercised as a means for legitimisation. Afterwards, in the formulation of Bangladesh’s PRSP, this chapter explores whose participation did matter, whose participation was meant to be ensured and who pulled whose strings. This chapter also explains who was actually in control from behind the scene. It continues to ask whether the government(s) really wanted to ensure that voices and experiences from the poor were reflected in the national PRS or whether it was the donors who wanted there to be ‘some form of participation’ in the PRSP, and who determined which forms of participation would suffice (to accept or reject a PRSP).
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