3. Silver Bullet Participation?
The interviewees saw participation as the central answer
to the problem of how to properly deal with the factor time. Therein the
central idea was that reliability was the basic precondition for stable
partnerships. The argument can be summarized in three points:
- First: There is general agreement that the timetables and
cycles of the partners have to be coordinated. However that is not as easy
as it may sound. A handbook of the UNDP states for example: “Participation
begins, when the donor does nothing.” The first rule is: “Don’t rush!”
Necessary preconditions to design timetables participative are transparency
and sensitivity – especially as regards the time restrictions of those
working in development cooperation. It has to be recognized that our own
time structure, also the demand for more speed – represents a restriction,
that reduces the room for maneuver of both sides.
- Second: Adolf Kloke-Lesch (BMZ) has found out that
time has to do with power. It is about the power to set binding timetables
for others. Or that one gives up part of his power, by accepting the time
dimension of the other. This can go as far as complete synchronization. Prof. Josef Sayer (Misereor) recounted his time in Peru: “We
were traveling without a car: deliberately, in order not to lapse back into
Western acceleration: to drive into one village, talk to some people, and
then drive to the next appointment. That would have been “efficient”. We
however were walking. That took time. But it adapted our time experience to
that of the people there”.
- Kloke-Lesch formulates synchronization as a goal, i.e. the
alignment of temporal concepts. Participation means not only taking part in
a process designed by a donor country, but a real acceptance on both sides
of a common process.
- Third: It is crucial to take social integration into
consideration. A result could be, according to Dr. Martin Bröckelmann-Simon (Misereor) a
socially intelligent and integrating time planning, as shown by the example
of the fable of the rabbit and the hedgehog, where the rabbit represents
blindness for his environment and the ignorant chasing of speed records.
The hedgehog on the other hand is an example of intelligent social
networking, that resists the time pressure from outside and through an
advantage in information and adaptation of the rules leads to success.