11:30AM – 13:00 PM Nepali Time
Bhrikutimandap , Exhibition Road ,Kathmandu, Nepal
Manaslu, Bhrikuti Mandap.
People-Led Development: Perspectives And Practices

Symposium on


The concept of people-led development is not new. However, due to the pervasiveness of neo-liberal thought, the space for practice has shrunk in the last few decades. Despite this challenge, the practice has been kept alive in different parts of the world, including in Nepal as a critique of and counter to what has become mainstream development that is based on the ‘development as growth’ paradigm which has allowed unjust and unsustainable practices exacerbating the conditions of the most marginalized populations of the world. The approach of people-led development shifts the focus from ‘growth’ as the aim of development onto the ‘people’ recognizing the need to give priority attention to the marginalized, disadvantaged, and vulnerable people. It follows the idea that the people living in particular contextual realities are the legitimate ones to determine what is desirable and appropriate for their development while also recognizing that the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources are usually already available within those communities. This idea is important to ensure sustainability as well as the dignity and agency of the people.

While some of these core principles and values of people-led development may be common, the practice of this approach may be diverse with application of various strategies, innovations and experiences around the world. Hence, the proposed symposium aims to create a forum for discussion on the topic of people-led development with the following


  • Building conceptual clarity on the concept, values and principles of people-led development
  • Clarifying and establishing the argument for the urgency and need for people-led development in today’s world
  • Sharing specific cases of practice of people-led development, along with innovations, ideas, and insights
  • Creating a platform for building connections, networking, and possible coalitions for promoting people-led development in the region beyond the forum.


The proposed symposium is to have a half-day event in Kathmandu, Nepal. The event will be organized on one of the first three days of the WSF2024. The tentative design for the event is as follows:

08:30 – 09:00


09:00 – 09:10       

Welcome and opening remarks by organizers

09:10 – 09:35     

Keynote speech on people-led development

09:35 – 11:30     


Ajoy Kumar- India

Topic: Achieving SDG through People- led Development

Jennyfer Villacorte- Philippines

Topic: From Struggle to Triumph: A story of the struggle of fishing communities

Ammar Bahadur Air- Nepal

Topic: Facilitation for Empowerment and Social Transformation (FEST)

Each presentation will be of 15 minutes followed by 10 minutes for Q & A 

11:30 – 12:15    

World Cafe excerise: Discussion and synthesis of distintive features of People-led Development in practice and core principles

12:15 – 12:30  

Summary and closing

12:30 – 13:00    


Follow-up plan with interested activists and practitionerss

Keynote Speaker:

Peter Westoby, PhD is an Australian Social and community facilitator, author, practitioner, consultant, and analyst. Currently, he is working as a Director/Consultant at Community Praxis Co-op, Co-Director of Three Rivers Initiative, and a part-time Practitioner at Hummingbird House. He holds honorary positions at Deakin University and the University of the Free State. With over 30 years of experience in youth, community, and organization development, Peter has published 15 books and 55+ articles on community and social development.

Meet our Presenters:

Ajoy Kumar- an Agronomist, from India, is associated with the network of local NGOs involved with the adaptation of ‘Agroecology’ among poor farmers towards the realization of SDGs. He has extensive experience working with the most marginalized population of the country. He will be presenting on “Achieving SDG through People-Led Development”. The focus of his presentation will be different elements of people-led development including pre-requisites, strategy/activities, and drivers for facilitating the change.

Jennyfer Villacorte- Philippines works with Center for Empowerment and Resource Development (CERD), Philippines. At CERD, she is positioned as a Community Organizer Supervisor. Her works include working in close collaboration and managing of Nagkaisang Samahan ng Mangingisda sa Marihatag” (NAGSAMA)- a fisherfolk federation and implementing Women-Managed Area Her presentation is titled “From Struggle to Triumph: A story of the struggle of fishing communities” where she will focus on success of fisherfolk federation initiative driven by local leadership, collective action and continuous efforts showcasing practical example of community-led development. 

Ammar Bahadur Air, from Nepal, has been a People-led Development practitioner since 1997. His expertise is in governance, organizational and community development, and experience-based reflective community learning practice through a people-led approach. His presentation will focus on “Facilitation for Empowerment and Social Transformation (FEST)” approach to organize and empower the poor and marginalized people of different areas of Nepal.


Amina Singh, PhD - an educator and researcher from Nepal, with an interest in educational research, critical pedagogy, community development, adult learning, and social transformation. Additionally, she is an adjunct faculty at Kathmandu University teaching and supervising research at Graduate level. She has been actively involved in the assessment and evaluation of community development projects for the past decade. She serves on the board of Teach for Nepal and also serves on the University of Nepal Development Board as an executive member leading the Academic Planning team. 

Each presentation is expected to be of around 15 minutes followed by 10 minutes of Q/A sessions. Please email people4dev@gmail.com.

  • Venue
    Manaslu, Bhrikuti Mandap.
  • Cultural activity
  • Duration
    90 Minutes
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  • Social Movements, Civic Space and Future of World Social Forum