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This book focuses on participation and empowerment in rural development in South Africa and Rwanda. It uses convincing case studies to compare the implementation of the principles of the policies. The comparison involved the state of affairs with regard to the problem studied before and after the important political changes in the two countries. The apartheid in South Africa and genocide in Rwanda remained key political events to offer strong background for the analysis. The book indicates that participation and empowerment are understood differently in different contexts. Often, these are understood as token involvement of the beneficiaries in processes in which top-down decision-making tends to dominate. The examples of successful projects involved the beneficiaries on all levels, from the beginning of the intervention onwards, in order to promote ownership and self-reliance. The book equips active key players in rural development with participatory approaches to ensure successful interventions in developing worlds. It targets the donor community, decision-makers, non-governmental organizations, and civil society organizations engaged in driving social change from the bottom up.